Enrolling a toddler in an educational program is a big decision, and it’s one that I used to feel very differently about. When my 5-year-old was born, I’d already been practicing the stay-at-home mom gig for 10 weeks after leaving my job. Several of my loved ones recommended that I enroll her in an educational-based program a few hours a week when she was two or three and I refused. I was a stay-at-home mom, I wasn’t leaving my child at school even though I’d been given the opportunity to embark upon a career I’d only dreamed of having and I was working from home with a crazy toddler at that point.
I never enrolled her in school until it was time for VPK. Six months after my oldest started VPK, I enrolled my 2-year-old in class two mornings a week. Six months later, I have a kindergartener and a toddler who spends three days a week in class for a few hours. Not everyone agrees with my decision and some have voiced that. I’ve also noticed that a few moms I know would love to do the same thing, but they feel guilty. That’s inspired me to share my reasons for doing this with my toddler even though I’m at home all day.
I Have More Time For My Kids
When my kids were home and I was working and trying to play with them, I ended up doing more working than playing. Why? Because two kids are a lot of work and I didn’t have much time to actually work. Naptimes get shorter as they get older, one’s too loud for the other, they fight. They argue, they want to eat and bathe and play and reach things that are too high. I simply didn’t have time for the fun stuff in between work and the necessities required for caring for kids.
When I started taking them both to school, I was able to actually get all my work done in the span of a few hours (amazing what you can do without interruption) and focus only on my kids for the afternoons. I no longer take my computer outside with me. I get to play with them, have fun with them, build towers and play barbies and even coach our oldest daughter’s cheerleading squad. And it is GREAT!
I Have More Patience
The first day I took my youngest to school and realized that I had three uninterrupted hours to do what needed doing, it was like waking up on Christmas morning to world peace, perfectly behaved children and just a few extra billion dollars in my stocking. I had the best day. I went to the grocery store. I didn’t have to bare my teeth and whisper threatening words through clenched teeth with one of those fake smiles on my face. I didn’t forget things. I got to get a cookie from the bakery and eat it all by myself. I also got to come home and actually work without interruption. I didn’t have to worry about the quiet. No one was home to shove the cat into a backpack to carry him around or sneak into the master bathroom for a makeover. On the toilet. With all my expensive makeup.
When I picked my girls up at lunch, I was so patient and happy that we had a great day. They weren’t on my last nerve anymore because I was stressed about getting work done and still finding time for them. I had all that under control. I hadn’t spent the morning cleaning up after a couple of messy kids or breaking up fights. My husband remarked on this immediately upon coming home; he said I seemed so relaxed and happy. I was. I am.
I Appreciate My Kids
Now I have time to miss my kids, and I do miss them. I feel a little sad and I miss them terribly when I drop them off in the mornings, but when I pick them up I feel so much appreciation for their smiling faces. They love school. They are learners and they are friendly and they have a blast. In fact, my little one wants to know how come her big sister gets to go to kindergarten every day, all day, but she only gets to go sometimes.
I also appreciate myself a bit more. I now have time to occasionally do something for myself, such as scheduling a prenatal massage to ease my aching back or get a pedicure with a girlfriend or have lunch dates with my husband. The fact that I get to volunteer in my kindergartener’s classroom when my youngest is at school makes me happy. I also get to volunteer at my youngest’s school when she has holiday parties. I love it. I love seeing them interact with their friends and teachers. It makes me happy. When I’m happy, they’re happy. When they’re happy, everyone is happy.