This isn’t your regular “Is My 5 Year Old Ready For Kindergarten” post. We’ve been down that road with our oldest and there are great resources out there. For my husband and I, we heard A LOT of opinions about when our daughter should or shouldn’t start. She has an August birthday and technically could have started in 2016. The opinions were pretty overwhelming but when it was all said and done, we took the advice of her pre-school teacher who gave us incredible guidance. She’ll be starting Kindergarten this month – 2 weeks before her 6th birthday.
I read, researched and over-analyzed till the wee hours of the night all the skills my daughter needed to be proficient in leading up to her Kindergarten screening. I paid acute attention to her speech, her motor skills, her ability to process information, her emotional stability. Does she write her name properly? Can she recognize all lower and upper case letters? Does she try to sound out words? Does she recognize patterns? Does she understand simple hygiene care? Can she do long division? Wait, what? Ok. That’s obviously not a requirement…yet. But like I said before, this isn’t that kind of post. I’m not here to talk about my daughter’s readiness. I have no doubt in my momma heart that she is beyond ready now! I’m actually here to talk about MY readiness and the skeletons that have sneaked their way out of my closet as I’ve analyzed the impending milestone of my daughter starting school.
As a child I would dream about motherhood. I would look ahead to my future and think about what my little offspring would look like, act like and how I would raise them. Not once did I daydream about all the ridiculous narcissistic thoughts that would consume my laundry list of my personal kindergarten readiness. As we have been preparing for school to start, I’ve had a big reality check. I can’t stop projecting my own insecurities and anxieties on to her. When the sun goes down and everyone in my house is asleep, my brain is going thru a Rolodex of questions.
What if the other girls make fun of her?
Can I trust what she might say to her teacher when I’m not around?
Will I be blamed for her inadequacies?
What if she gets left out?
She’s kind of bossy and speaks her mind, like me, what if she gets ostracized for that?
What if she gets hurt and I can’t be there?
What is something horrible happens at the school?
When she reacts with drama and emotion, I’ll get blamed for my emotional instability won’t I?
And it goes on…and on…and on…
Ridiculous right? Even typing it out, it’s laughable. But yet for someone like me, someone who battles with anxiety disorder, it’s very much a reality. It has taken the better part of my adult life to come to grips with my anxiety. Not only that it exists, but that impending milestones seem to add kindling to the fire.
You get a headache, you take some ibuprofen, right? I have a panic attack at the grocery store and leave my full cart in the middle of the aisle, my doctor helps me see that I struggle with more than just “situational anxiety”. Enter medication. Your headache is gone, and I no longer leave perfectly good avocados in the middle of aisle 7. Amen and amen.
My daughter deserves better than a mother projecting all of her insecurities on to her. She is totally awesome and is going to rock kindergarten because she has the kind of confidence I only dream about! But on days that don’t rock so hard, she deserves a mother who will encourage her as an individual, not an extension of herself. Life will carry her through her own paths of insecurities and anxieties. Am I right?
She doesn’t need to carry mine around.
So much baggage for such a tiny person! So even though outside the four walls of our home the monsters of fear and insecurities are waiting for her, she needs my arms to welcome her with reassurance in her abilities, relief from her fears, inspiration in her creativity, and hope in the possibilities for her future. So as I press forward to keep her from being crippled by my anxiety, I brew a big pot of coffee every morning, drink it down with my Zoloft, and pray for the strength to be fearless as she walks thru those school doors.
Kindergarten, here I come!
All joking aside: anxiety disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. I once was, but as I’ve sought help, I’ve learned there is so much freedom to be found. If you need help, we are here for you. We are mothers, hear us roar!