Charlotte has been at school long enough now that we’ve settled into a nice routine. She’s going to bed easier (most of the time), lunches are packed faster (good thing she only eats 4 foods!), and clothes are usually not an issue. She’s happy and thriving and I guess that’s really all you can ask for when your baby is in school full time. But as the days go on, I can’t help but notice how hard it is for me as a mother. Not because of the new routine, but because for 8 hours a day I’m not with her and I don’t know what she’s doing. Now, I’ve worked since she’s 4 months old, so I have always spent more time away from her during the day than I do with her, but this feels different. Before school, I knew she was at home and could always check in to see how she is, what she’s eating, if she napped, etc., etc. But now? I can’t just call the teacher and ask about her. I mean, I probably could, but I doubt that would go over well if I were that mom. I sit at work and I wonder who she’s playing with, if she’s being nice, if people are being nice to her. I wonder what she’s thinking there all day. Now that she’s in school, it’s a different kind of hard.
Mothering is always hard, no matter what season you’re in. First it’s the sleepless nights and the nursing and the overwhelming exhaustion of it all. Then it’s the transition from baby to toddler and all the drama that comes with it. Now? Now it’s giving her to school and to someone else for 40 hours a week. I think I will always worry about her hours there. Well, worry doesn’t seem to be the correct word. It isn’t like I’m worried for her safety or well being. I know she is cared for and safe, but still, there is this nagging little voice in my head that will randomly pop up and say, “what do we think Charlotte is doing right now?” And then the voice gets louder and louder until I’ve played a scene out in my head where she is all alone in the corner. Which is RIDICULOUS, but I guess I’ve always been a drama queen. Perhaps this will lessen with time and experience, but I don’t think mothers ever really stop thinking about what their kids are doing at school during the day. It’s just a new aspect of motherhood I haven’t really encountered yet. Trusting that you’ve done well enough in their early years to send them out into the world to be good kids and later good people. I hope I’ve done enough.
She does come home and talk about school sometimes. But one day last week I started to ask her about her day, and her response was, “I’d like you to stop asking me questions.” And that was that. I’m so glad the attitude is emerging at 4 years old. WHAT A BLESSING.