Stress, Stress and more Needless Stress

Nearly three years ago, in Los Angeles, I joined a Mom’s group to hack through the thick weeds of isolation that often grow out of first-time Motherhood.

I remember sitting there in a circle with eight or nine other shell-shocked women as we stared at our newborns laying on a brightly colored parachute, listened to the instructor sing “Wheels On The Bus” and drifted off, daydreaming of sleep that spanned longer than two hours, a peace with the bittersweet end of our old lives, and a clear understanding of the roles in our new ones.

Once our infants hit the ripe old age of  ten or eleven weeks, the syllabus contained the topic of preschool selection.

“Oh, for the love of God!” I thought.

“Can I at least wait for my ovaries to settle back into their previous positions before sending my kid to school?” (Which they did, by the way…about a year sooner than anticipated)

From that day forward, I stressed about preschools, almost daily.  Once we moved across the country, I learned that many of our surrounding schools had waiting lists dozens of names long.

Dizzying stress.

We found the perfect place.  Deposits were in and forms were filled out before it occurred to us that Zachary had not yet been left anywhere.


As a last-minute effort to acclimate him to such experiences, we tried the church nursery.

Screaming and wailing ensued, along with a possible escape attempt.

Ulcer-provoking stress.

I warned the teacher.  I warned the parents. I warned myself.

But, as I always say…

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

OK.  I didn’t say that.  Mark Twain did, but we really are so similar, Mark and I.

This A.M. – A brief synopsis –

“Zachary, we’re leaving now.”

“Bye!” he answered, his back already turned and scooting off to show his teacher his “All About Me” poster.

We walked down the hall away from his classroom, at a loss for how to fill the endless span of two whole hours with only one child, as I pondered these burning questions…

1.)When on earth did my baby become this little boy?

And perhaps more importantly,

2.) What other nonsense do I heap onto our everyday lives that will just work itself out?

That roly poly fellow in the red shirt…that’s my baby

Apparently, we like red


This afternoon he told us,

“I was a little but scared and I missed Mommy, Daddy and Isabelle, but I kept my tears in my eyes and my cries in mouth”
I must assure you that we told him repeatedly that it was ok to be scared, nervous and sad, and it was even ok to cry. So, please believe me when I say his choice to man up and stifle his emotions stems from deep within his own DNA and from nothing taught by either of us.

have a click!


28 responses to “Stress, Stress and more Needless Stress

  1. Oh Emily! Love love love this post and now I am going to google preschools. Stress!

  2. soooo… from this isolated l.a. mom to a friend a few years ahead…. 🙂
    where did you find good mom groups that weren’t too full of “moms”? (if you know what i mean)

    • Yahoo groups was how I found some awesome friends in L.A. similarly bowled over by parenting.

      Your hospital or midwife might also know of support groups (I loved a breastfeeding support group, much to my surprise).

    • The group I joined was at “A Mother’s Haven” in Encino. Some of those women are still dear friends of mine. I feel strongly about joining a group as a new Mom. It helped me insurmountably. But email me for more info 😉 (this message feels to me like it’s coming from someone I know, but forgive me. I don’t know who it is!)

  3. Yay! I’m so glad he had a good first day!!! Last year, Nate had a screaming fit every morning his first week of preschool that reduced me to tears each time. This year, on his first day of Pre-K, after my third request for a hug and kiss he said, “Mommy I already gave you one. Can you go now??!”

  4. Oh I remember that roly poly! Em, I love this one. I’m am consumed with all this stuff right now! We’re on the cusp of either starting Jude in a class in November or waiting til January…we should talk! You are an amazing mommy…thank you for sharing, my friend! I miss you. xoxoxo, M

  5. Congratulations to Zach! And to you 🙂 Big day! And you will quickly figure out how to fill the time and forget how you possibly managed with the two home all day with no school relief!

  6. yeah! the questions is what did you do with your cries and tears? I cry every year my kids go off to school and they are 8 and up!

    • Oh, for sure! I did cry! And I honestly was not anticipating it. He just walked in with such a confidence and “school boy” strut that I came undone. But, of course had to keep it together. I didn’t want to seem like “that mom” 😉

  7. Thick weeds? Yes. Shell shock? Yes. Preschool anxiety? Yes.
    My eldest did not transition well, bit that’s him. My youngest did.


    • I am certainly not ready to sign off on Zachary’s transition. It was only day one. And day two (tomorrow) will not tell as it’s a co-op and my husband is staying there with him. (Not me. I feel that I am too high strung at the moment and things like the teacher telling me that “he stood back and observed some group activities” stress me out. My husband will put much less pressure on this. Like you said…”It’s preschool. Not magic”

      • I said that? Damn, I’m a genius.

        We chose a co-op, too. Our sweetling was so different with us participating. Hope the next few weeks settle easily. I think the first few days are the hardest for them because everything is new. After that, they know what to expect, even when everything (and most of the grownup population) changes.

  8. There is much too much to stress about as a parent. I am glad you found a preschool that everyone is comfortable with. You will find that the 2 hours passes quickly. Enjoy that alone time with Isabelle. That is probably the one thing I feel most guilty about as a parent – not giving enough individual time to each child. Hope all his days at school are happy ones!

    • thanks, Rita. Yes, it is amazing how calm and relaxed the mornings are with just Isabelle. It isn’t until now that i realized how much undivided attention I am NOT giving her on a daily basis. But, I keep telling myself that I was number four of five and look at me! (uh oh…)

      • I had an uncle who had 5 kids and would schedule special days for each of them every month. I always thought it was a great idea – but I never could get that worked out for us when they were all young. My husband’s schedule was always opposite mine. Great for avoiding daycare needs but definitely hard on family time, or alone time for that matter. I should contact your mom to find out her special tips for raising amazing children – she and your dad definitely knew how to do it right!

      • I have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect balance. And, you can ask my Mom, but I think you are doing more than fine without it 😉

      • I have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect balance. And, you can ask my Mom, but I think you are doing more than fine without it 😉

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