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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Drop off drama

On most days, I drop my son off at his pre-school/daycare. It's a ritual I treasure most of the time and on good days filled with hugs, kisses and waves, my day is off to a great start.

Nearly every week there is at least one instance (usually more) of what I call "drop off drama". Yesterday my son insisted that he bring his sand dollar to school with him (he calls it a starfish fossil).

"Home toys" aren't allowed at his school. Neither is candy. I know by careful observation, mom confessions and my own personal experience that there are times when you must pick your battles. Case in point, my husband travels internationally and on one occasion in an effort to get to the office by 8:00 AM for our weekly department head meeting, I gave my son a lollipop as a bribe to get him in the car. So sue me. As for yesterday, the starfish fossil was coming to school.

I packed the car with my son's backpack, my bag and purse, as my husband strapped our son into his car seat. We arrived at school and after coaxing him inside (it was a glorious morning), we walked to his classroom where I unloaded his backpack, set a place for him at the table with fresh fruit, cereal and water, folded his extra clothes in his cubby and put his sheet and blanket for nap time in the bin. He sat down without a fuss to eat, gave me a kiss and a hug, and waved goodbye. I smiled, told him I loved him and headed for the door. "One more kiss and a hug, mama", he said. I couldn't argue with that!

As I headed for the door, I heard "Where is my starfish fossil?" I honestly had no idea, but checked his backpack just in case. "You didn't bring it with you, sweetie", I said. "Yes I did, go home and get it!", he shouted. Tears ensued.

After several minutes of extra hugs, some bargaining (we'd play on his playground after school), and a few deep breaths, I was able to leave. I checked the rear view while backing out of the parking lot and noticed a small sand dollar on the seat next to my son's car seat. He did bring the fossil with him! I drove to work feeling a twinge of mommy guilt.

When I arrived home last night, my son and husband were in the driveway waiting for me. I got out of the car and told my little guy that I had a surprise for him in the back seat. We opened the door and he yelled "my starfish fossil!". All smiles (both of us), we headed out back to play.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really struggle with the decision not to allow a small, quiet toy that would fit in a cubby in a preschool daycare. Having ownership in "things" and showing friends your "treasures", in my opinion, is a developmental thing. So is understanding the responsibility of keeping track of your treasures, and having the discipline to put them away when asked.

While I understand that it sometimes gets out of hand - people bringing in large toys, kids misplacing them, I think allowing kids to bring one special toy is a way to help teach them responsibility and discipline. Asking for them to be left at home is really just creating a difficult morning for young kids.

I, however, am thrilled for you that the starfish fossil was found in the car. There have been many mornings where a coveted toy disappeared on us, mainly because of the drama that ensues when we have to enforce the "no that can't come in with you rule" which is often followed by my son either hiding the toy in one of his pockets, or in the car, and not remembering later where it went.

April 22, 2010 at 9:24 AM 

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