Maz on Kids Starting School

Welcome to Straight Talk with Maz! I am a happily married full time working mom of two gorgeous little humans. I don’t pull any punches in talking about the many challenges and misconceptions that come with raising my kids. I love being a mom, I love raising a family, it is the most inspiring and rewarding experience, but some things just suck. My kids starting school qualifies as one of those things that suck, but not for the reasons you might think.

On Kids Starting School – When You’re The One In Tears… And Not Your Kids

Two weeks ago I had to take my 1-year old baby boy to playschool for the very first time. I was fortunate enough to be able to wait until I was ready with my first born – but this time around, I had no choice. I pushed that first day of school to the very back of my mind, I did not want to deal with the fact that my daughter is growing up so damn fast and my baby boy would be in the hands of complete strangers all day long… I also could not bare the thought of that first morning – it gave me heart cramps!

That first day did not go at all  as planned, but something happened that actually really hurt me. As I handed my little boy over to his new teacher, I prepared myself for the heart wrenching cries that were sure to follow… only they never came. He practically leaped into her arms and my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Tears started flowing, only they were mine and not his.

By now you probably think I am crazy, but I cannot tell you how bad I felt. I felt like a bad mom. He did not want me to stay, he was not crying for me, he did not need me. I spent all day at work thinking about my ability to be a good mom, whether my kids truly loved me or not, whether I did something wrong along the way. It might sound silly, but you cannot possibly understand how it feels until you are the one leaving the classroom in tears with your son showing no sign of being upset, surrounded by kids crying for their moms.

I joked about it with my friends and even wrote a blog post about my kids starting school, but few people could understand why I was so upset. Besides the fact that I was the one crying, and not my kids – I was also crying because my kids were one year older – no matter how prepared you are or how many years you have been dropping them off at school, the fact that they are getting older is a difficult reality.

Being a working mom I feel like I am missing out on so much, although I am also gaining a lot. There is no handbook for handling these unexpected situations – you just jump in with both feet and hope you won’t drown. You hold your breath until it is over, even though you know this will never be over. Being a parent is like looking both ways before crossing a street and then getting hit by a plane.

The first three days were about the same, but on the next Monday I handed him over to one of the teachers’ assistants and he looked up at me with these big eyes and a trembling bottom lip. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud with joy (as sadistic as that sounds)!

It turns out that my little boy just feels comfortable with his teacher, and that is something that I should really feel relieved about. They told me that no-one else is allowed to pick him up, that she has to sneak out of the room without him seeing otherwise he starts to cry. They told me that the moment the first parent picks up their child he starts crying for mamma, and when he wakes up from his nap, he cries because I am not there. Obviously this left me even more heartbroken, this whole mom-guilt thing really is a bitch.

You just can’t win. All you can do is know that you are doing the best you can, that you are crying because YOU ARE a good mother, that those little people love you more than anything in the world, and that you really should not be giving yourself such a hard time. All these little things in the journey of parenthood can be tough, but never let the hard times make you feel like you have failed.

* You can find out more about Maz and where you can find her here.

Maz Halliday

Maz is a Fashion Designer from Cape Town, South Africa. She is a full-time working mom to two of the most gorgeous kids and maintains her sanity by blogging at Caffeine and Fairydust (and rocking from side-to-side in her bath tub at night with a glass of bubbly - no one ever said you can't be fabulous while having a nervous breakdown). She aims to broaden people's perspectives and open minds.

  1. I needed to read this! It has been so difficult making the decision to send my little girl t school. Your article made me smile, I feel so much better! Thank you.

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