Real Life Mama: Off the off-to-school wagon

You guys are never going to believe this. Look, I finally got Maylie going on this back-to-school morning routine and she was starting to feel some normalcy. Therefore, her anxiety was coming down and we were all starting our days with smiles (and not tears).

Then, as if Maylie tagged her in, Reagan decided that mornings and school were not her thing. In fact, she decided that she does NOT want to leave Mommy – that she misses me entirely too much while she is gone at school all day.

Mind you, since this child was born (other than my maternity leave), I have always worked a full-time job. Never in her life have I stayed home all day with her. Even all summer long she was at the sitter all day and, yet, NOW she misses me too much to go to school?

And the craziest part of it all was that she was perfectly fine the first two weeks, but all of a sudden (once Maylie could handle the new routine), Reagan was like, “no, I don’t think I like this.”

Oh, I am not talking about a few tears, then on the bus and off to school. Oh no, I am talking about so many tears, clung unto me, won’t get on the bus, had to drive her to school and then the assistant principal had to peel her off of me to get her in the doors. She was crying, I was crying – ugh — it was literally one of the worst feelings in the world. Especially coupled up with the first two weeks of trying to get Maylie in a routine – and feeling like we were finally turning the corner!

Heading into work that morning was hard. Look, it feels so good that my babies love me and want to be with me! I love the closeness and bond we share. But it crippled me knowing that my sweet seven year-old had to walk into that building missing me, crying and starting her day off like that. All day, I was worried about her.

I know, some people think, “Just rip off the bandage quick, don’t give her an option to not get on the bus, and get it over with.” But, like, I can’t do that to my babies. Heck, maybe I cannot do that to myself because I know that all day long, I will be guiltily thinking that I am ruining them.

One morning this week, she was all worked up, the bus driver looked at me nicely but knowing she needed to move on as Reagan held onto me tight complaining that her throat and belly hurt. I nodded to the bus driver to, again another day, go ahead. Reagan did feel a little warm and well, I wasn’t going to send her if she was sick. I could work from home that day and tend to her.

You guys, this girl played me like a fiddle – which I kind of assumed, but wanted to be sure anyway – and quite honestly, I don’t think I had it in me anymore to push it. Maybe I just started us over at square one, I honestly do not know. But it is so exhausting as a working mother trying to get through just the mornings like this for (between the two girls) weeks. I probably needed it just as much as she did.

For most of the day she bounced off the walls, talked my ear off while I reminded her that I had to work, and then cuddled up next to me and fell asleep on my chest during one of my conference calls – apparently it bored her. Ha.

Truly, I don’t know if I failed her that day or not; giving in because I couldn’t handle another day of her being peeled off of me in the drop-off line. Or just maybe I showed her that sometimes it is okay to stop and take a break from it all and just take time for yourself and your emotional needs. Either way, she needed the break, and I quite honestly needed the cuddles.

That night, we talked – went over all the reminders she could use during the day of how much I love her, what fun events we have coming up together and talked about all the things we do together. I reassured her that I would be around the next evening to do them all again.

The next morning there were still a few tears and tons of reminders, but my baby girl built up enough courage to get on that bus again – finally. After school, I called her, and she went on and on and on about her wonderful day.

So, fingers crossed, we may actually be in the homestretch of the back-to-school adjustment period for both girls. I know I am certainly looking forward to some smooth mornings and smiling baby girls.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.