I Didn’t Realize I Was Going Back to Kindergarten


“You’ve got two more minutes!” I yell to my daughter as I start loading her backpack and my work bag in the car. I don’t know why I yell the time out since time doesn’t mean much to a five-year-old, but it makes me feel better. 

Walking to the car, I go through a mental checklist: Water bottle? Check. Lunch box? Check. Charged Chromebook? Check. Take-home folder? Check. 

When my daughter started kindergarten, I didn’t realize I was also going back to kindergarten. 

Indianapolis Moms have written many posts about children going to kindergarten—how hard it is when your youngest starts, reflecting on the end of it, and every emotion and stage in between. So many feelings surfaced four weeks ago when I had to say goodbye and watch her walk into school on her own. After five years at the same daycare and all the teachers knowing her, I was nervous about sending her to a big school with lots of students. 

What shocked me was what happened after kindergarten started. 

We are almost four full weeks in, and I feel like I am back in kindergarten. I have to be somewhere by a specific time with lunch, a snack, a charged Chromebook, and a full water bottle. With daycare, as long as I had her there by 8:00, she wouldn’t miss breakfast, and activities hadn’t started. With school, we have to leave the house by 7:15 each morning, and the bell rings at 7:40. Daycare provided all snacks and meals. School will provide a meal for the price of $1.60, but my child won’t eat it, so packing lunch is a must. And, yes, I am also asked to pack her an afternoon snack since she eats lunch at 10:00 AM. Add in all the emails from the school corporation, the school itself, and her teacher (all of which I appreciate), and it can be hard to keep up.

I fully acknowledge that this is a “first-world” problem. I have a child who is healthy, a school system who supports her, and the time to drop her off every morning before my work starts. The first four weeks of kindergarten have been a big change for our whole family. I am sure that as we settle into our routine and feel more comfortable, I’ll place more of the responsibility on my daughter to ensure she’s ready. For now, though, it’s easier for me–or my husband–to do most of it, which means it feels like I am back in kindergarten, too.