Don’t Fight The Carpool

young boy on his way in to school

After a slightly rocky and emotional first week, preschool has been going great. My son proudly brings home art work each day, is always excited to tell me about what classroom job he had (line leader, calendar, etc.) and I’m loving the free mornings it has opened up.

Before school officially started, I attended a “welcome parents” meeting where we were given the handbook for preschool, an overview of the school and a run down of the daily routine there.

One specific issue that was brought up was carpool. (Carpool is what they call it when you drive up in front of the school and wait in line with other cars, a teacher comes and let’s your child out of the car and walks him over to the sidewalk in front of the school building so they can walk in by themselves.)

The director mentioned that for the first week or so, they were fine with parents walking in their children but really encouraged us to let kids try the drop-off carpool lane as well. We’d be surprised how much they’d enjoy it, how proud they would be to walk in to the building alone, carrying their own bags and then back down to the car for afternoon pick up.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the time but definitely knew I was walking my son in that first week so I decided not to worry too much about it.

Sure enough, during the second week of school, his teacher asked if I would be willing to let Lou try the carpool lane. I didn’t feel too sure about it but I smiled and said I would try it the next day.

Honestly, what I felt was a couple of things:

1. Oh really, I can’t walk my son in? You are not the boss of me! I’ll do what I want!!! (Apparently, I’m still 15 years old with raging hormones, society to rebel against and a huge chip on my shoulder. Ouch.)

2. Um, I don’t know if you realize this but my son is only three years old. He can’t possibly walk all the way from the sidewalk to the building, down a hallway with other children and in to a classroom by himself. He needs me.

What the hell is wrong with me.

So, the next day, I let my son know we were going to do carpool. He also seemed a little hesitant so I put on a happy face, acted like it was no big deal and just a really fun thing we were going to try and he seemed more at ease.

And, he did great. No problems at all.

Three weeks in and we’ve settled in to a nice routine. We do carpool every day now and he is loving preschool. He only goes three days a week but has already asked if he can go every day.

Believe me, I’m happy about this but I think I was unprepared. As much as I want him to go and have fun and grow and learn, I have to really face that he is growing up – and fast.

He truly is becoming more independent and doesn’t need me all the time. These next few years, he will begin little by little, creating his own life with his own friends and his own goals. This will continue and become stronger for the next 14 years. Really, does it ever stop? His journey is beginning and my role is changing. While I am still needed close by, I also know this is the beginning of where I need to loosen my grip, encourage his exploring and growth and hold dear in my memories the days when he still walks and hold my hand.

When I come home after dropping Lou off at school, my husband is usually making coffee and getting ready to start his work day.

“How’d it go this morning?” He always asks.

This time I gave him an honest answer. “He did great. It’s me who seems to have a problem.”

My husband just smiled.

Growing up is hard. Sometimes, it’s really hard for moms too.

10 thoughts on “Don’t Fight The Carpool

  1. Go, you! And on the “what the hell is wrong with me” front – nothing! you are a mom. We need to feel needed. In Montessori, the parents get the same talk – and they are super strict with it. You are really not allowed to walk your kid down esp. the first week or two – and this can be so hard for moms to swallow. I had the same feelings you did, so you are not alone. It is so hard for us moms to “help them let go” and this one milestone – walking ALONE to preschool – it is among the hardest of things we have to do. Anyway big pat on the back! (-:

    • Thanks so much Ado! I was so worried about my son adjusting to all the changes with preschool that I really underestimated how hard some of this stuff would be for me :) I am suppose to be the grown up and aren’t moms suppose to be able to handle anything? Haha! I better get used to it, his growth and independence is just beginning. It’s always good to hear I’m not alone though. Thanks so much for reading Ado!

  2. I don’t know how I missed this post! I feel like we are such kindred spirits. I had submitted my “preschool changes” post to my editor two weeks ago and you were experiencing the very same feelings. Somehow it makes me feel so much better. I absolutely loved your writing here, it was the most honest, conversational and poignant post about motherhood that I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for sharing Anna!

    • Thank you so much Carinn! I love your writing so I really appreciate your kind comments on this one! I bet most moms feel the same way we do, especially in the early years of preschool or kindergarten, I think sometimes it just doesn’t get openly discussed. I almost felt embarrassed but also thought it was funny that I was the one with the issue. Moms are allowed growing pains too, right? I hope anyway – haha! Thank you again Carinn.

  3. I love this story! I had a different but similar issue: the special needs school bus (ages 3 to 5)! I knew my son was ready…. OK, I was ready, too (he was 4 1/2 when he started the special day class) but I’ve talked to so many moms who are so not ready to place their three-year-old on the school bus! But then, the child does great! Go figure. You summed it up beautifully! Sometimes it’s mom who’s not ready!

    • I can totally relate to the school bus! I think it’s hardest on the moms. I want my son to be independent and be able to learn and do more for himself but at the same time, have this overwhelming desire to protect him and for some reason, trouble letting go and watching these changes happen. But just as you said, usually the child does great and has no problems at all! :) Thanks so much for reading Lisa!

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