“Get moving!”: 7 painful stages of preschool mornings

Posted in Preschool.

Arriving back from the preschool drop off can make you feel like you’ve done a day’s work already. I know I felt it, even though I hadn’t actually started my paid job.

I remember looking around and it would only be 8.43am. Where is that coffee?

Here are 7 painful stages parents go through every preschool morning. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Stage 1: The ‘what day is it?’ emotional bomb drop

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

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

While my eldest would yelp, “Yippee!” when I told him it was a preschool day, my youngest would 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 could. 

Stage 2: “But preschool is fun!”

The next ten minutes would be 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’d sense he was feeling a little happier about it all, I would look at the clock. Oh sh!t we’d better get moving.

Stage 3: Do ALL the things 

The next stage was traditionally 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 whiz 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, tying my hair up because there just isn’t the time to style it these days, all in between mouthfuls of muesli. 

Two boys sitting on stools at kitchen bench with mother cooking - feature

Stage 4: Don’t forget ANYTHING

When stage three was finally achieved and I could see the light at the end of the preschool morning tunnel, I would always do a final check, because chances are I had forgotten something that they needed at preschool – like Lovie, my little guy’s security blanket. We do not want to forget Lovie (again)!

Stage 5: Car seat battles 

Checking off my ‘don’t forget this and that list’ and feeling rather smug that I haven’t left anything behind for once, it was time to face the car seat battle. This went 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 6: Drop off tears

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

After putting away bags, drink bottles, signing them in and kissing my eldest who was always pumped to go and play with his little friends outside, I’d carry my little guy – clinging to me like a koala – to his room. As his lovely teachers greeted us with a warm “Good morning!”, I would feel his body hug mine a little tighter.

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

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

Sad asian boy leaning on arm - feature

Stage 7: Time for work! After coffee. Need. Coffee.

With the preschool drop off done and finally getting settled in front of my computer with a coffee in hand, I would now put my work hat on … but only after I ringing the kindy to check my youngest had settled. He had. He always did as soon as I left, I’m told. Preschool is actually good for him, and me, I would tell myself. 

Ah, preschool mornings, we hate you. But the afternoon pick-ups are pretty special.


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