Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Time we Take Back our Kids.

I am about to vent. Please be prepared...

When did we, as a society, become so egocentric that we have lost sight of what is best for our children?

I am currently fighting a losing battle...the same (lost) battle that my own mom fought approximately 30 years ago. This battle? Kindergarten schedules.

30 years ago, it was an attempt to keep Kindergarten at 1/2 days. Clearly, that battle was for naught. And now? Now it is a battle to allow our 5 and 6 year olds the 4 day week they need...they DESERVE.

I am told that the move to 5 days is "because it's what everyone wants". Well, not ME. Not me by a LONG shot.

You guys, why are we even still having kids? Seriously...I know that's an extreme statement, but why? We have become slaves to our lifestyles. Slaves to the granite countertops, fancy cars, and luxury vacations when we should be "slaves" to our children. We should be living for our CHILDREN not for the "stuff".

I will (I do) do without that fancy stuff, because it means I get more time with my kids. Time that I will never, EVER get back. Ever. Our kids are in our homes for a mere 18 years...and yes, to you, sweet young mother of a colicky newborn, 18 years sounds like forever away, but it's not.

It'll be here before you know it. Trust comes in the blink of an eye. (And, now I'm crying.)

But our society is taking our kids away from us at a younger and younger age. Kindergarten was intended to be a "bridge" between home and school, a transitional year for children to get used to being away from home. What started as a low-key structured environment has turned into more and more and more...pushing our kids younger and younger...and for what?


And then we wonder why people are so messed up. How about we start raising our own kids instead of farming them out to daycares and enrolling them in school as soon as we possibly can? Maybe if we start actually being PARENTS again and spending more time with our kids than their teachers do, maybe they'll see their worth. See how wonderful and amazing and incredible they are.

They are our future...why don't we appreciate them more? Why don't we make them our priority?

At 5 and 6 kids are still learning by play. Learning from their surroundings. Learning from being read to and sung to and played with. Learning from their moms and dads and siblings.

I realize I am but one lone voice...that I am not going to single handedly take back our children...but I wish, I just wish more people would realize how important THEY are in their kids' lives and make their children their priority, rather than their fancy homes and high profile jobs.

Jobs can wait.

Kids can't. 

You get one chance with your kids. You don't get a do over. You don't get to realize that you made a bad choice and go back to try something different. You get ONE chance.

And we're leaving that up to daycare providers and teachers. Thankfully, there are some pretty awesome people out there who are wiling to raise our kids for us, because it's becoming obvious, that we don't want to do it.

I'm not a perfect mom, I don't do it all right, but I do know, I am positive in this and not afraid to shout it from the rooftops, that my kids come first. THEY are my priority. Let's take back our kids...they deserve it.

We owe it to them.


  1. Here in SC, not only is Kindergarten full day and 5 days a week, but they are also trying to make public school funded 4K the same. I agree, its awful

  2. My daughter was the only one in her kindergarten class not to have been to preschool or Mother's Day out. I get 5 years. That's really it. Not 18. 5 years where we are the center of the world. I am taking full advantage of that. And quite frankly, this e people who say they aren't "able" to teach a 3 year old colors and letters are lying. You don't have to do anything. You just talk to them and point stuff out. You don't need Pinterest of coloring sheets. Just live life and tell them about it along the way. My daughters is the best reader in her class. Probably because she had the freedom at home to do the things she loved (being read to) for hours on end rather than being shuffled into activities because they were on a schedule.

  3. Amen! I totally understand where you are coming from. I wish I could have kept the kids home longer but like I've said Thing 1 needed to be in school at 3 (he was getting PT, OT, and Speech therapy). Thankfully he only had to go half a day but it was still hard. Thing 2 went 5 days a week all day, i wish she didnt but at the time it was really good for her to go.

  4. Yes. This is awesome. I didn't even know there were options other than 5 day Kindergarten. That's all that's offered here in Arkansas. But preschool is now the push here. Which I am resisting. Partly just because of the cost its awful how much they charge. But partly b/c I just don't see the point. So we're sticking to his mothers day out which is 2 days a week at 4 hrs each day. And that's just for my sanity than anything :-)

  5. I love your blog, am a regular reader, but I couldn't be more on the opposite end of the argument on this one.

    For many people, there isn't a choice but to send their children to daycare. It doesn't mean they don't love their children or that they don't want to raise their children or that they are farming them out. They are single parents, low-income parents, and many others. I'm a teacher, myself, and I have four children and they've all had to go to daycare and have gone to full-day, 5-day kindergarten and are happy, well-adjusted, well-loved, confident, successful children. Do you suggest that those of us who have dedicated our lives to children love our children less, or are less invested in their well-being as adults because we need to leave them in the care of others while we are at our jobs? We aren't slaves to the granite, the Mercedes, or the anything. We simply love children and are doing the best we can for your children, as well as for our own. There are also a lot of doctors, police women, fire women and others that I am VERY grateful are working parents. I'd have to say that this is the case for, not just teachers, but for many, many parents who have children in daycare or full-day kindergarten. Stay-at-home parents don't own the market on loving their children.

    Much of what kindergarten is here, where I live in northern NJ, is learning through play. Yes, they are learning to write their names or memorize their addresses, however, the majority of it is that bridge between home and the world of primary academia. I'm sorry if your school district doesn't approach kindergarten the same way, and I'd certainly encourage you to go to the board of education and make your voice heard. However, I'd caution you from approaching it from the viewpoint that only those who don't care about their children or who aren't invested in spending time with their children are interested in full-day kindergarten. You may have some good points, but you are definitely going to lose your listeners in the delivery.

    1. You're right my personal anger and stress I did generalize. There are people who need to work full time to simply provide for their families, I was, in fact, one of them when I was a young single mom working full time to support my oldest child. What I meant to imply was that those people who are clearly living life for their "lifestyles" and placing their children by the wayside.
      And I am incredibly grateful for the amazing teachers we have in our lives. Thank you for your's thoughtful, respectful, comments like yours that get me thinking and open my mind. I appreciate that.

    2. This may seem like a limb, but not all working parents care about their children's education either. My mother worked in an Junior High in Iowa for decades. Many of the parents were irritated if the school contacted them at work because the school was supposed to manage the children while the parents worked. They treated it like child care and pushed for year round schooling to avoid summer childcare issues.

      I don't think Mama M was saying that a certain type of parent was the problem, the problem is the school district telling the parents how education is going to play out. I understand that the public education system cannot possibly cater to every individual need. However, the school district is not sovereign nor omniscient. A parent should have the freedom to speak up for their child and maybe even be allowed to adapt their child's schedule. But then again, I am a homeschool mother. I currently have the freedom to educate my children in the manner I desire.

    3. Looking for the "like" button on this comment.
      As a public school teacher, we feel the pressure from our government to do more and do better with less and less resources. Preschool is what kindergarten used to be. Amy's comment is so well written. I appreciate her voice speaking for all of us. I am one of those who is a better parent because I work outside of the home. My children are better kids for the experiences they gained at the Christian daycare/preschool we sent them to. They have already built lifelong friendships w/ kids their own age. That can't be replaced. We cherish our family time since there is less of it.

    4. I have gone back and forth about whether to comment. I think I am getting what Mama M is trying to say - there are parents out there that put their kids in daycare/school all day, all week so that they can tend to their high paying, lucrative jobs and keep up with the Joneses with all of their expensive toys. I agree, it seems to be a bit much. But what about us hard working people that bought our house in the crazy housing market back in 2004 and have no way of getting out from under our house because its not even worth what we paid for it 8 years ago. We had 2 kids in this house, we both HAVE to work just to maintain a very sensible, no frills life with our two kids. We were able to keep them out of daycare until they were 3 because my husband and I work split shifts - so they were home with him during the day - and when we did send them at first it was one day a week and I really believe that they needed it - they needed to be around other kids, socialize, learn to share, etc, etc. It breaks my heart every day when I have to drop my 5 year old off at daycare/Pre-K three days a week - I would give ANYTHING to be able to be home with my children. But, for some of us, it just isnt an option. I care deeply about my child's education and will be as involved in school. I am fortunate to work for a company with a pretty decent work/home balance. But, I really feel like parents that stay at home or choose to homeschool - tend to generalize those that choose to or simply have to work - as if going to work today is a reflection on how much I do or don't love and care about my children. As parents, particularly as mothers - I think we need to be more supportive of the EXTREMELY difficult decisions some parents have to make every day. I fully support my girlfriends that are home with their kids and the reasons why they do it, and up until this point I was certain that they understood why I do what I do - now I am not so sure that is always the case. I think when the mutual goal is to love, teach and care for our kids - that should be enough.

  6. Amen to this post!! My girls are 16 (almost 17) and 12 and I can attest to the fact that they grow up too fast. Yes, they do. It's sad and there is nothing we can do to change it. I allowed my girls to attend public school for the first few years to get the basics understood that honestly I didn't think I would have the patience to teach them. I have since withdrawn both and they are now homeschooled. This is the best decision I have ever made. It allows us sooooo much time together to really bond. They are both leaps and bounds ahead of their friends who attend public school and the time and memories we've built together can never be surpassed. There is too much pressure on children. In addition to 8 hrs of school they were given on average two hours of homework. I work a 10 hr work day. four days a week and I am exhaused when my four days are up. I can only imagine how a child must feel after five days. I also was not happy with their being taught to pass tests, not necessarily to learn. This was not acceptable to me.
    I guess that was my vent. I'm right there with you!

  7. Can I just say... AMEN to that! While I do know that some families have no choice but to send their kids to daycare/preschool in order to survive, I live in a city where careers & lifestyle are often more highly valued than valued than families... and THAT IS OUR PROBLEM, PEOPLE!

  8. you are so wise. I understand when people need to work. I babysit for a lady until she could put her daughter in preschool. I found out later it was daycare and the reason she wanted her at that day care was because she could be there for 10 hours a day or longer if needed. Seriously this little girl gets dropped off at 7 in the morning and they pick her up at the last minute. not because she has to but it is easier to run errands after work without her. So she get's home about 6 or later and then is in bed by 8. yet they still complain that they need time without her. it breaks my heart.

  9. In NC, Kindergarten is voluntary. However, as far as I know, it has always been 5 days.....even when my dad attended (you know....50000 years ago!)!!! You can choose to keep your child at home until time for 1st grade.

    Unfortunately, they actually cover so much stuff in Kindergarten now that they make it almost impossible to "opt out" of going. :(

    I sent my daughter, but I was at the school all the time. I was the class mom. I was on the PTO. I picked her up ASAP after school. ;)

  10. In Florida, at least for the last 30 years, Kindergarten has been all day 5 days per week. Preschool was an option but not required. The push now is to make voluntary Pre-K for 4 year olds mandatory. While I am definitely aware that I really only have 5 years with my kids, I have needed the breaks that preschool has provided, and find that I'm a better parent and educator in my own right, when given a push from an organized curriculum.

    Really, we just need to do what is best for OUR SITUATION. For me? That's at least a couple mornings a week with the kids in MMO or preschool. For Mama M, that might be half day kindergarten. For other commenters, maybe it's no preschool/kindergarten or something that leads to homeschool. Only we, as the parents of our own particular children, know what will help them to succeed.

  11. Very well said. I agree. I thought that perhaps I was one of the few who thought like this. I'm glad I'm not. I'm a mother to 3 children. I am very blessed to be able to stay at home with them and also home school them. My husband and I have (and are) making many sacrifices so that we can be in their lives. We are not just a part of their lives but we are actually investing in their lives with our time. We are not just a chauffeur that they see on the way to work and back home. It's not easy but it is worth every second of every day. I am soaking up every moment I can, while I can.

  12. I do believe that parents should be more involved with their children's education, just because one size does not fit all for education. I do homeschool for this reason, but I am not a 'rabid homeschooler' ;-) Trust me, it's not for everyone :-)

    Even as a HS family, moms have to be reminded why we are doing what we do. I suddenly have a 12yr old when just yesterday he was a fussing newborn, right??? The time does fly, don't waste your moments, don't underestimate the power of being the mother. We may all remember a teacher here and there, but our mothers impacted our lives to the core.

    1. Because I feel that education is so important, and because I am a public school teacher myself, I hate some of the things that go on in the schools. I have looked for years (5 currently) for someone who could homeschool my daughter for me. I want her to be able to work on her pace. The policy of the public school is to get the students who are below grade-level up to grade-level. All the others should stay there.

      My daughter is above grade-level in everything. She gets in trouble at school for fidgetting and talking because she is bored. I do envy HS mothers (and fathers!)! I wish I could do that for my child! :)

  13. I agree! Baby L. is a colicky baby. I know I'll blink, and my husband will be giving her away at her wedding. Each cuddle, each smile...heck, each tear....I'm embracing it all.

  14. Well said, thank you for posting this. You are not alone in how you feel!

    ~Abby, Proud StayAtHome Mom.

  15. I needed to read this, for multiple reasons. I beat myself up for not sending my then 3 year old to preschool because "everyone else was doing it." I'm so glad now that i didn't. She can go next year. She has 18 years of school, plus some, so I'm glad I kept her home a little bit longer.

    I am also glad I read it because sometimes I forget that I don't get a do over. I need to truly sit down and play with her and focus on just her. All this technology and fancy stuff DOES get in the way.

    Well said and thank you for being gusty enough to post it!

  16. Amen. Preach it, Mama M. As much as I struggle with the feeling that I should be contributing to our family financially, I'm also so very thankful I'm able to stay home with my boys. Just looking at K and how much he has grown and Baby A (who has already gained 3 lbs!) who is getting bigger by the second (I swear) makes me want to cry. They're going to grow up and leave me and it's going to happen so fast. I've been trying to tell my husband this lately, too. We don't need to make a ton of money. We need to be happy and be around to create lasting memories for our kids. That was the main reason he parted ways with the Army. He wants to be around more, too.

  17. I don't need to add my two cents, just wanted to say that you are spot on. I wonder what would happen if everyone who felt this way spoke out like you have, and if people who do not agree would ask themselves why they don't?

  18. I love this post. I have to say, I dream about being a SAHM, but right now it's not in the cards, and not because we are living a lavish lifestyle, it's just not the right time. I also want to say that I was a daycare baby and I have never, ever......ever felt like my mom wasn't giving me enough attention or that I felt deprived. It can be just fine if that is the only option. But God bless you for writing this and standing up for your kids and what you believe!

  19. Mama, you are so right-18 years passes quicker than you can possibly imagine, and you are left with....memories.
    They can be good....
    Or they can be a painful reminder of the times you were just too busy to spend time with your kids.
    I wish I could say I was perfect when my kids were small, and how I desperately wish I could do some things over.
    But I do still have some time left, with two at home yet.
    And tonight, I played card games with my 14 year old son-time very well spent.

  20. While I am lucky to have been able to stay at home with my kids I had many friends who were not financially able to. And then there are some who are so invested in their careers that they tried to balance the two, feeling the guilt of thinking they should be home while trying to keep their careers afloat as well. None of these friends have Mercedes or granite countertops, as your generalizations indicate. I don't consider them bad moms for doing what they felt was right. What's wrong with our society isn't whether we send our kids to full or half day kindergarten. Rather, I think the real problem is there are women who judge others based on decisions they make for their families. I have read your blog before and have enjoyed some cute stories but I agree with some other women here: you will lose readers coming across as holier-than-thou. The reality is that there are women with careers, women who use daycare, women who give birth with medication (gasp!) and women who bottle feed (gasp!!!) I get the impression, from your past posts, that you feel the choices you make are the 'right' choices. Just remember, they are right for YOU. Many, many other women make different choices- they are still great moms with great kids. I feel lucky to have been able to stay home with our kids. Not better. Not more invested. Not more committed. Just lucky.


I love comments! And, I welcome your thoughts that aren't in agreement with long as they are respectful!


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