I didn’t cry on the first day of school. Does that make me a bad mom?

By Valerie Bauman, Guest Writer

Yesterday I took my 4 year old twins to their first day of Kindergarten. I watched as my veteran 4th grader marched over to her class to talk to friends. Next came a totally different send off experience.
I watched as my son let go of his twin sister’s hand as we walked up to the kindergarten area. Then he moved behind her, still walking in pace with us. Pretty soon he was hanging off my back pockets, hiding from the teacher who was standing at the gate to welcome students. This sweet teacher began talking to him and when I attempted to pick him up, he scaled me as if I were a tree, grabbing onto my arms and neck. I peeled him off, handed him (screaming) to the teacher and quickly whisked my two year old out of sight.

Many people have asked me if I cried when sending my “babies” off to school. Many others have asked if I am relieved I have three in school now and infer that life will be better next year when my youngest starts school as well.

No and No. I did not shed a tear. I did not jump for joy. Does this mean I am not a good, caring, loving mother? I pondered this all day and all night.

Our school starts later than many other schools. My Facebook was flooded with my friends’ kids “first day of school” pictures for weeks before our first day, sending my emotions running. Over the summer, I spent many days and nights in tears lamenting the fact that all my babies are growing up. I would never get these days back. I imagined myself 60 years old with an empty nest and grandkids living near or far.

Was I a fun enough mom?
Did I savor every moment?
Did I have enough patience?
Did I teach them enough?

While I did not cry or jump for joy, I was not void of emotion either.

I was proud.

Proud my 9 year old had friends and could navigate the first day of school with some excitement (along with some intimidation and fear). I am proud my twins made it through the day and were excited that they got to go to school again tomorrow.

I’m proud they are growing up.

As I left the school parking lot, a friend from our neighborhood came running over. Her comments warmed my heart. “Oh, you are so lucky you still get to have one at home with you!”

I want to enjoy every stage. My heart is happy I get to spend one on one time with my youngest and, if I am really honest, I am happy she still needs naps!

It’s okay to cry, normal to cry—I just did it all before the first day of school. Here’s to children growing up, gaining independence, and enjoying every stage of this journey of motherhood.