I slip into the preschool classroom and watch my daughter putting away her rest mat with the other kids. She’s giggling and laughing, then sees me and bursts into tears. I’m a bit taken aback.
“Honey, what is it? What’s wrong?”
She sobs, “I didn’t get a cupcake yet.”
Today was the Hawaiian luau, and we’ve talked all week about it. We brought mini cupcakes this morning before I dropped her off.
The teacher walks over with a sad smile. “Oh Mama, the party isn’t until later this afternoon. I thought we told you.”
I stand awkwardly, wondering if perhaps they did. Now I’ve paid and signed her out for the day. I feel a twinge of anger as the teacher shakes her head and says, “We never have parties earlier than 3:30.”
I didn’t know that. I didn’t know any of this because, even though I ask a ton of questions and went to the orientation, my daughter is very much a part-time preschooler. She’s in the hourly class instead of the full or half day. Which is usually fine, until these things happen and I’m out of the loop. She missed the first two weeks of water play this summer because I had no idea the school even did water play, or that she needed to bring extra clothes with her on those days. Her beloved blanket stayed at home for nap time until I realized other children brought their lovies in — something I was previously told wasn’t allowed.
Overall, I love her school and the staff. They have a lot of kids in a lot of different classes, the fact they know our names and her likes and dislikes in the few hours she’s there a week warms my heart. What’s hard is that most of the kids are in class 4-5 days a week. She goes 2-3 days for a few hours a day. I simply don’t need more care for her.
I remember as a daycare supervisor (before I was a mom) being incredibly annoyed with moms who only used our facility part time. They were always missing events, wondering what was going on with our schedule, and the kids had the hardest time adjusting to a new schedule for that day. I couldn’t fathom why on earth they brought them for just a few hours each week when most of them could have afforded full-time care.
I was 20-something at the time and I took it as a slight to my personal care of their kids.
So now I’m the mom out of the loop. I’m the one who shows up scrambling, having the “Oh we’re all having a painting day and my kid wore new clothes?” moment. Let me tell you — it’s humbling to be the one on the other side.
What I’m learning from this is to be kinder to others and myself. To give us both some grace in life: the moms I think are “doing it wrong” and then my own insecurities when I face circumstances I don’t immediately fit into. I’m reminded that I can’t be the only mom who forgets dates or dresses their child in clothes that won’t work for the day.
Right? There have to be more of us part-time forgetful parents out there still.