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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.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kindergarten means big changes for working moms

This particular back-to-school was a milestone for our family. Our son, now a preschool graduate, started Kindergarten this year. This transition from daycare to Kindergarten brought up all sorts of feelings. Excitement and worry topping the list.

On the first day of school, my son boarded his bus with such enthusiasm that he didn't even look back to wave. I smiled because I knew my child was ready. He had nearly a week of 'practice' Kindergarten at his new school and loads of practice at his preschool, too. He'd met new friends and was excited about his expanded schedule. What surprised me on this first day of school - along with the fact that I didn't shed a tear - was that after the bus drove away, I found myself facing a void. Now what?

A few minutes later, I met four moms whose children had shared a similar new morning routine. As we sipped our coffee at Starbucks and shared the freshness of the first day, it hit me: I wouldn't be seeing these moms every day anymore. These women weren't just the moms of my son's preschool friends, these gals are my closest friends. We'd seen each other nearly every day for past five years at drop offs and pick ups. Sure we'd all be saving nearly a thousand dollars a month (yay!) now that daycare was done, but this aspect of my son's transition to Kindergarten I didn't see coming. I'd been so caught up in his 'what ifs', that I didn't realize until that moment that my friendships would be changing right along with his. MY FRIENDSHIPS. We'd still see each other at birthday parties, swim lessons and occasional play dates, but would we still share those day-to-day mom moments and meltdowns? Not likely.

On the eve of my son's school's new parent orientation, I find myself wondering...will I make any new friends tomorrow evening?

The bond between daycare kids and their friends is a strong one. They're noticeably close, even though they now go to different schools or attend different classes. I suspect that although our daily routine is changing, the daycare-moms-turned-Kindergarten-moms will stay pretty tight, too.

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