And just like that….it is back to school time.
Schedules are about to change; bedtimes will get earlier and lunch notes will start to be written again. I am sure you are seeing all of the cliché memes about the relief moms are having that the school year is beginning again, as they feel the need for structure and routine and simply to get the kids out of the house to have a moment to themselves.
But what about the new moms who are sending their kids to daycare, preschool, or kindergarten for the first time?
Let’s acknowledge how emotional this transition can be.
Here is what is funny about seeing your babies leave you for the first time. It’s absolutely normal to feel all the feels.
You may feel sad because they will be away from you but excited to get back to work.
You might feel angry you can’t be a stay-at-home mom but very grateful that your well-paying job allows you to pay your bills or go on vacation.
There are no rules as to how this is going to play out. What’s important is to not push any of these emotions away. As a mom, you have more than likely dealt with your fair share of a mixed bag of emotions. Remember that change will increase these feelings and make the brain focus on them.
When this happens, acknowledge the thought and feeling, validate it, and keep pressing on. Always know that you can feel these uncomfortable emotions and continue about your day like you normally would without engaging in them too much.
A simple way to do this is to think, “Yes, I am sad that my baby will not be with me all day AND I am going to work on cleaning out this storage room like I planned.”
Or something like, “I feel guilty that I can’t stay home with the kiddos AND I am going to successfully lead this team meeting.”
Eventually, the behavior catches up to the language that you are challenging it with and your brain will begin to realize these feelings are normal and reasonable, but they do NOT have to consume you.
So, moms…..take a hot minute if you need to on that first day of dropping them off. Call a friend and cry on their shoulder, or grab Starbucks because you haven’t slept all week worrying about it.
But I promise, as the days go on and you see how much they are thriving with their daycare providers and you start hanging up the millions of art projects that come home from their classrooms, it will get easier.
Humans are meant to be social creatures, especially kiddos. Going to school will encourage new friendships, help with developmental milestones and make the hugs as they run in the door that much better.
Good luck moms, you got this.
***If you are feeling like the transition to back to school time is overwhelming and that what you feeling is unmanageable, please reach out. Red flags would be things like not being able to stop crying when they are not home, having difficulty after a week or so detaching (on your end) when you drop them off, difficulty functioning throughout the day, and poor sleep and/or excessive worry.
If how you are feeling is worsening instead of improving as the first few weeks of school pass, please seek support from your medical provider or therapist.
About the Author:
Jackie Graff is a Certified Perinatal Mental Health therapist and co-owner of Be Present Therapy & Wellness. Jackie provides therapy to women who are struggling during pregnancy, postpartum, and infertility and loss.
In addition to providing support for new moms, Jackie holds certifications in both domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention and has extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) to help treat anxiety and OCD.
For more information about Jackie and the team at Be Present Therapy & Wellness, visit bepresenttw.com