I hate preschool. There, I’ve said it. I should clarify. I don’t hate all preschool, just my son’s class. My daughter’s preschool is great. I drop her off. I pick her up. She does fun, educational things in between. I love it.
My son ’s preschool is a different story. He goes to preschool once a week. I take him and stay with him for two hours. They have all kinds of toys and experiences there, and he has a grand ol’ time, but the class is pure hell for me.
When we get there, all the kids just play around for a while, then we sing a little song to each child. They seem to like the recognition – some of them. Others don’t notice. After that, they split up the moms – half go to “parent education” and half babysit all the kids while they play some more. It sounds like it would be a great opportunity to meet some other moms, but it isn’t. They pretty much hang out in their little cliques and don’t talk to anyone else. I chat briefly with some of the non-cliquish moms, but we move around with our kids and never really get to have a whole conversation.
I prefer discussion group to babysitting, but I only have discussion every other week. Although it’s better, discussion’s not really great either. The other day, they talked about potty training our kids. My son is not even two, and he’s one of the older ones in the class. I am not considering potty training for at least another year. There was, of course, one mom who said her oldest potty trained at eighteen months, putting ideas in these moms’ heads. More power to her. Mine was more like four.
After discussion group, the kids have snack, which, in my opinion, is the cutest part of class. I love to watch toddlers eat. They all sit at a long table and they eat parent-provided snacks. When it was my turn to do snacks with another mom, it was a little more work. We had to clean the tables using a three-step process, with three separate cleaning solutions. I appreciate that they want everything so clean, but it’s kind of tough to spray bleach water all over the table when the eager beavers (like my son) are already sitting there. I did enjoy providing snack, though. It gave me something to do and another mom to talk to for a little while.
After snack, we do some songs with the kids and go home. By the time I get out of there mid-morning, I’m so exhausted that I feel like it’s dinnertime. My son used to fall asleep in the car on the way home, but he doesn’t anymore. It’s just as well. We have pick his sister up ninety minutes later, so he never got much of a nap.
The other thing I hate about taking him to preschool is that I can’t work at all that day. I write for a living. I love my job, and I hate to have to take off on a weekday. The rest of the week, he goes to babysitting. Work is a break from the kids, too, and I have a hard time functioning without it. When he first started preschool, he and his sister would take a nap at the same time, so I’d get a nap of my own or some quiet time, but his sister doesn’t nap anymore, so I don’t get a break all day.
So I made the decision to take my son out of his preschool. Yes, he loves it, but I really hate it. I don’t see that the benefits of preschool outweigh the benefits of a happy mommy. On preschool days, I’m irritable and snippy and I give a lot of time outs. He can’t possibly benefit from that. I’m hoping he can start drop-off preschool early, like his sister did, but it depends on his development. From what we can tell, my son is smart, but he’s a late talker, so he may not be ready by two-and-a-half, as she was. We’ll see.
If he doesn’t go to preschool, we’ll just keep him in babysitting. Though the variety of toys there is limited, there are other kids there and we have a great babysitter who really loves him. Will his education suffer? Maybe. I feel guilty about that, but I tell myself that any new toy for a two-year-old is a totally new learning experience. So we’ll make sure he plays with a variety of toys. He loves books too, so we’ll read to him a lot. And I’ll take him on a lot of field trips. And since he won’t have to deal with guaranteed Cranky Mommy once a week, I’m sure he’ll be just fine.
Would you make the same decision?