Long before my kids were born, whenever people heard I was a nanny, often they would say “Oh, you’ll be all set when you have your own kids. You’ll know what to expect.” I always suspected that this wasn’t entirely true. After all, I’d never sat in an ER with a sick infant at 2:00am, I didn’t stress about paying for college, and not one of my job descriptions ever included breastfeeding. So while I may have entered parenthood with a certain smug confidence in some of my abilities, I think we can all agree that there are a few parenting surprises that you can’t prepare for.
Exhibit A: The First Day of Preschool
I’ve spent years prying tearful toddlers out of the arms of anxious parents, shooing them out the door and assuring them everything would be fine. And you know what? It always was fine. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of children who cried for more than 10 minutes. But now I’m a mom, and suddenly these rules don’t apply to me. I took my boy to his first day of preschool, looked at his teacher, giving the same calm, reassuring expression I’ve given so many times as he clung to my leg begging me not to leave, and was overcome with the urge to clutch him to my chest and bolt for the nearest homeschooling supply store.
But we stuck it out. My son loves preschool, and it only took me two weeks to stop welling up as I got back into the car without him. It turns out that maybe the same rules do apply to me after all. So I guess I’m saying-- to all the parents who trusted me with their kids as they reluctantly left the house--Thank you. I get it now.