“Get moving”: 7 painful stages of preschool mornings

Posted in Preschool.

I’ve just come back from the kindy drop off and I feel like I’ve done a day’s work already, even though I haven’t actually started my paid job. Oh, and it’s only 8.43am. Give me coffee!

You see, I’ve just experienced the seven stages of preschool mornings and now I need an extra shot in my flat white. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Stage one: The ‘what day is it mummy?’ emotional bomb drop

When my little guys come into my bed for a snuggle of a morning, they always ask what day it is. They don’t know days of the week so much as they know ‘mummy and daddy days (AKA the weekend), ‘mummy days’ (non-preschool weekdays) and ‘preschool days’ (AKA my work days).

When they ask this question on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, I brace myself. 

While my eldest will yelp, ‘yippee!’ when I tell him it’s ‘preschool day’, my youngest will protest, “I don’t WANT to go, noooo. I want mummy day,” in a way that only a three-year-old who has no say over what day it is can. 

Stage two: “But preschool is fun”!

The next ten minutes are spent in bed with me cuddling my little guy and reminding him why he actually loves preschool – because you know, he gets to paint, play in the sandpit, eat yummy food and dance with his little buddies, etc. etc.

Then when I sense he’s feeling a little happier about it all I look at the clock. “Oh sh!t we better get moving,” I think as I lead my little loves to the kitchen bench.

Stage three: Eat, dress, brush teeth, do a wee – STAT – while I do a zillion other things

The next stage is a combination of me pleading with my little loves to stay on task and do things like eat their Cheerios, get dressed, or allow me to help them do so (after rummaging through the clean washing basket for clothes, of course). Then, do a wiz in the toilet (sigh, why such a battle?), brush their teeth and put on their shoes.

All the while, I’m getting dressed myself, packing kindy bags (where ARE their hats?), filling up drink bottles, applying sunscreen to their little faces, arms and legs, tieing my hair up because there just isn’t the time to style it these days, all in between mouthfuls of muesli. 

Stage four: Don’t forget lovie, or anything else

When stage three is finally achieved and I see the light at the end of the preschool morning tunnel, I do a final check, because chances are I have forgotten something – like lovie, my little guy’s security blanket – that he needs at preschool.

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Stage five: Car seat battles 

Checking off my, ‘don’t forget this and that list’ and feeling rather smug that I haven’t for once, I face the car seat battle. This goes something like this:

Me. “Boys please get in the car and sit in your seats.”

Me: “Boys, it’s time to go. Stop playing with the dump truck and get in the car – please.”

Them: “Can we take this truck to preschool?”

Me: “No. Get. In. The. Car. NOW”

Them: “Let’s hide!”

Me: “No. Don’t be naughty. Stop playing and get in your car seats. One. Two. Three. BOYS!!” (Ah, great. So now the neighbours think I’m a crazy bitch mum.)

Stage six: Drop off tears, and I hate this

When we finally arrive at the little gate with a sign that reads ‘hold my hand’, I feel like high fiving myself for getting there. We did it, we arrived at kindy and are not running too late.

After putting away bags, drink bottles, signing them in and kissing my eldest who is pumped to go and play with his little friends outside, I carry my little guy, who is clinging to me like a koala to his room. As his lovely teachers greet us a warm good morning, I feel his body hug mine a little tighter.

Then it’s time to say goodbye and before I have even finished telling him that I love him and will see him after he’s had a fun day at kindy, the tears well up in his eyes. This is it, I think, as I feel myself break a little inside. I hate this bit, and so does he.

In an attempt to make drop-offs swift and to allow his teachers to soothe him so he learns that they can too, I walk out wondering if I am doing the right thing because leaving my child with separation anxiety goes against all of my mothering instincts.   


Stage seven: Now put on your work hat – after coffee. Need. Coffee.

With the preschool drop off done and I’m settled in front of my computer with a coffee in hand, I can now put my work hat on, but only after I have rung kindy to check my youngest has settled. He has. He always does as soon as I leave I’m told. Preschool is actually good for him, and me I tell myself. 

Ah, preschool mornings, I hate you. But the afternoon pickups are pretty special.


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