Friday, April 18, 2008

then, a few hours later

So. I'm having visions of Charlie dropping the kids off at school in the morning, and getting in to a head on collision on the way. Provided they walk away from that incident unscathed, a deranged parent breaks in to the school and goes crazy with a gun.

All bets are off. There is NO way I'm letting them go. That would be completely irresponsible.

When I told Charlie that I really didn't think I could part with them for three hours a day, five days a week - because of the significant fear factor, and also because I'm doing some phenomenal stuff with them at home and I love these kids even when they drive me bat sh*t crazy - he told me that I was nut and I couldn't "always" protect them.

And I said, OH YES I CAN, so long as there is AIR in my lungs.

Then I talked with my mother. And she further tried to reassure me that sending them to Montessori would be an absolutely amazing experience for them - and for me. And she knows because she has worked in a Montessori classroom.

And the kids loved it.

And when class was out, they all ran to each other and embraced.

And Elizabeth didn't even want to get in the car to go home because she enjoyed school so much.

And this afternoon - after they came home and were hitting each other with sand toys and knocking over each other's lunches all over the back lawn - when I went in to check on them at nap time, Elizabeth and Carolyn had crawled in to bed together and were sound asleep with their arms wrapped tightly around one another.

I have two weeks to decide.

Two weeks to decide if returning to work is what I really want to do. Two weeks to decide if sending my children to Montessori is what I really want to do.

Two weeks to consume seven boxes of Trader Joe's peanut butter cups because I am inhaling a box every couple days with all of this indecision.


  1. Send them - they will LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

  2. Jen - you must try the TJ's frozen cookie dough - they make the best chocolate chunk cookies.

    About school - I think it will be good for everyone if they go. Hard decision about going back to work but I know you will make it work.

  3. Honestly Jen? Not that you need my advice?

    but I vote go for it!

    The kids will do AMAZING there I'm sure, yes it's a lot of coin but if you can swing it, kudos to you. Your career sounds very interesting and you've done a hell of a mommy-job for a good long time now.

    I'm literally counting the days until my two are both in full-time school (1 year 4 months!) so I can work outside the home again.

  4. I am a HUGE fan of high quality preschool. It's a short, short time each day. 3 hours? Will FLY BY once you adjust to it (after say, 1 day).

    Let them go, it will be soooo good for them.

  5. If the money isn't an issue, then

    You can ease the transition (mostly for yourself) by preparing them for school. Talk about it every day, and tell them how much fun they will have with the other kids, and tell them of all the new games they will play, and story time, etc. Explain to them that they will go for just a short time every day, and that mommy will pick them up afterwards. Tell them that the teachers know they are going to come, and they are very excited to meet them. (If it's easier for them, it will be easier for you.)

    Hopefully you will realize that it will build them a very, very bright future. Their little brains are like dry sponges. They are absorbing more NOW than they will when they are 10.
    And look at the BIG picture: 3 hours is not that long. You are going to be a mom for the rest of your life! That will never end.

    In the end, you have to do what feels right. After all, you are their mother, and you know what is best for them.

  6. I'm currently addicted to Trader Joe's Gluten-Free granola. (It really is good, and has just as much fat and sugar as your peanut butter cups, yay!)

    I can only say that Laura prefers going to school to being with me any day of the week. I try not to take it personally. I'm sure your kids will love it too if that's what you decide.

  7. Okay, I am going against the grain here. They are only 3 and will be going to school for the next 16 years if they go to college. Let them be kids and enjoy their childhood. When they are 5 (in only 2 more years) send them to kindergarten and they will do great. This coming from a mother who has her 3 year old in a 2 day a week preschool. But, it's only for 5 hours twice a week. My husband won't let him go in the summer because "kids aren't supposed to go to school in the summer." Anyway, I say, find a school that isn't 5 days a week but is enough so you can regain your sanity. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper. I pay $110 per month for my one child. Imagine the PB cups you could buy with the savings. Hoping not have not offended..... but, that is what I would do...... I know you'll make the best decision for your family. Take Care!

  8. Letting go seems so hard. My son will be heading to preschool/daycare combo in September. I'm already wracked with nerves. But I know it will be good for him. I know he'll love it. And if I keep repeating it, I know I'll learn to love it...

  9. Just wanting to let you know these feelings you have NEVER go away. I cried like a baby when mine finished high school, I sobbed at the mere mention of them leaving to go to uni. I cried when they went away to uni, and I still shed tears two years later on the drive home from visiting with them. Let them go, you're gonna cry and feel sad, you have your good days and bad but it's all for the greater cause. You're bringing them up to be great people and they need to be able to spread their wings so one day they can soar.

  10. I'm with Audrey...I believe that children deserve to be home playing with mom for at least the first five years of their lives if you are able to do it. It is such a precious time!

  11. I have no idea what's best for your family. I do know that life is made up of experiences both good and bad they shape who we are and who we become.
    What about Henry?

  12. I would send them. It's only 3 hours a day. That's only 15 hours a week. They are up 84 hours a week. Is 69 hours a week not enough time to still fit in everything you do now??? Do you NEED 84 hours of bonding time? Does anyone need 84 hours a week? :)

    I will say it again. I would never pay that kind of money. I think it's craziness for preschool. BUT if "I" could make diamonds out of coal and have dental insurance AND send my kids to a great preschool, I wouldn't think twice about it.

    Plus, are they making you pay up front for the year or something? If not, then just TRY it. If it doesn't work out, yank them out. What do you have to lose? Except you know, a bunch of money. But we aren't talking about the money.

    Let them go, Jen. They are going to LOVE it! You know and I know how much they need the break from each other. They will be happier to be back together after a small reprieve each day. I'm splitting mine up in kindergarten for sure!

  13. whatever you do. . . you are NOT excused from triplet play date day! Sorry - you'll just have to pull them out 1x/week! :-) (I did that with Tate so we could go to his playgroup on Mondays . . was my way of getting over the whole 5x/week thing!)

    Yours in tripletness . . .

  14. Is that Henry in the Cookie Jar? He looks so big and beautiful.
    I know you will make the right decision for you and the family.
    I think the school decision is like feeding the baby--it is not what but how you feed. You will make the right decision and if your troubled about it--like Uncle Bill says--flip a coin.
    I think it would be wonderful for them, but you are the Mom and in the end you have the final say.
    Good luck and do not loose any sleep over it.
    You hated to leave me to go to Kindegarten and made a fist as if to punch me---remember? I do.

  15. Not sure if I've de-lurked on your blog yet but you are a great writer and have a lovely family. I think I've slightly lost track... if they go to school, you and your husband will both work part-time, and if they don't go to school, he'll work full-time and you'll stay home? Anyway, what I was going to say was that if
    you decided one way and it didn't work out, it would
    be easier to change your mind if you were going from the first choice (school + 2 jobs) to the 2nd (no school, 1 job) than the other way around.
    I'm probably making no sense. But if you decide
    now against the school, and to quit your job,
    in 6 months you might not get a spot in the school and they might not give you your job back. But if you decide to try the school, and in 6 months you think, 'you know, this job just isn't worth the hassle
    AND the school is too $$ for what they're getting', then you could always quit your job and drop school.
    BTW I have 3 kids, almost 11, 6, and 3, and they've
    all done Montessori preschool, and my middle
    one is even in Montessori elementary. The older 2 were very well prepared for kindergarten (the youngest obviously is still in preschool).

    Good luck deciding :-). I'd personally go nuts if I were home full-time with 4 kids... it's been lovely having my youngest in preschool this year... but
    the choice is really about personal preference than
    about one being better for the kids.
    -Anita R.

  16. I am with Audrey and Sherri--going against the grain....they are only little once and you'll probably not as likely say, "I wish I would have worked more", but we will always want more time with them. It goes SO fast. It is our best gift to our children...our time. God entrusted His children to us and I believe we need to give them the strong foundation to face the future of many years in school. Pray about it and ask God to show you what to'll be blessed. It's SO hard to make these decisions...I have struggled, too, but trust your gut. You are a GREAT mom!!!

  17. I also have a 3 1/2 yr old and have looked into about 8 preschools some top ranking and others run of the mill. There is no way I would put my 4 yr old in 5 days a weeks. I found an awesome christian preschool and he'll go 3 days a week for 2 hrs and 45 minutes a day and if he loves it they have a lunch program he can attend once in awhile and stay an extra hour. He's also an Oct baby and will attend this school next year as well and then kindergarten the following yr at a private school I've already picked out. Since he will be going 3 days a week even next year I'll supplement work at home that he's interested in. He is very bright but also very creative. I know several people who home school and will not be doing that because I believe that home schooled kids do not have the same norms as the rest of the world. For now, my opinion, even if you have to move from your comfort zone and find another school that fits your needs - find one where they can go to 2 or 3 days a weeks - not 5. It's too much for their age. Their brains develop most by being home with mom but they do need a little more around age 4 esp since kids are so smart these days. Every generation kids gain an IQ point. Keep it simple and they will thrive even if you stray from the school you think you're married too. Funny thing is the school I"m choosing is one of least expensive and I've looked at some that cost a huge amount. Money wasn't the issue but the school fit. The teachers, director and program are amazing. Keep looking. Henry needs you to not be preoccupied with work.

  18. What about a different configuration? Can the office allow you to work from home, but you come in for a couple of hours a day to interface with people who need to see you/work with you, whatever while kids are at Montessori? Charlie could drop them off at Montessori while you go into work super early? He can still work full time, and you can pick them up from school...? You are so creative and intelligent, and your work has been so flexible, I'm pretty sure they would work something out with you. And you can see that the kids love montessori school.
    My little guy loves nursery school. I stay home with him, but I am really glad I gave him that time to socialize and enjoy other kids 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours a day.
    Good luck with your decision. I'm pretty sure you will amaze us with the clarity of thought you achieve on PB cups.
    I recommend chocolate chips directly from the bag. Mmmmmm.

  19. HI Jen, your favorite not a parent chiming in again.

    I've been thinking about this post since I first read it wondering what I'd do in your place. I know your first job is to keep them happy, healthy and safe. However part of that is teaching them who to function in the real world, not just the playdate world where you, Charlie or the other parents are there to supervise. I'm thinking that learning this while thery're still little and a bit more flexible ( yes I know that 3 year olds aren't really flexible but you get my meaning) might be easier for them.

    If you don't have to pre-pay why not give it a try? What have you got to lose? If they don't like it just pull them out.

    Give them a chance to see the world through other eyes. You can always home school them later.

  20. One of many cuzzins!4/21/08, 12:03 AM


    So here's my two-cents...

    You are primarily wrestling with returning to work in 2 weeks. Should you leave your kids to focus on your job again?...That is really what you are asking, right?

    The kids going to Montessori is making the decision more complex. This school that you have found will be feasible with the double income, but a big stretch on the one paycheck you live off of now. You love what THEY will gain at Montessori, but hate what YOU will lose by leaving them to go back to work. You are faced with a tug of war. One of those decisions that will change the life/lives of your family. Ugh...I have a headache.

    I struggled with the same decision many years ago. But, I did not have a six figure income awaiting my return. We were giving up a very moderate working class salary. As you know, I chose to stay home with my babies...and remained home with them for 10 years. Jen, it was the best 10 years of my life. Some months it was tough, struggling financially and not doing/having everything we wanted, but even so, it was a very happy time. I have no regrets and firmly believe that my kids have turned out to be terrific human beings because of my presence when they were young.

    They did not go to Montessori....I wanted that for them, too. Now that I am back to work, we are able to have them in private schools...where they excel. I am so proud of them and pleased with the young adults they have become.

    When mine were babies...I just couldn't leave them. We decided, THREE DAYS before I was scheduled to return to work, that I didn't HAVE to work. We could make it on my husband's income. So, why leave them? It just didn't make sense to us. Things probably would be very different for us today if we didn't make that choice. We'd have a much bigger house, better cars, the window treatments I want, etc, etc, etc....lots of good things. But instead I have the satisfaction (and humble pride) of knowing I raised my children.

    Obviously, you are well respected in your field. Your resume is impressive now and will be in years to come. Many, many, women remain on hiatus for child rearing. You may lose your place in the company now, but there will be other opportunities for you.

    Whatever you decide will have lasting effects on your children...those effects can be positive whether you are home with them or not. If the decision remains, and on May 1st you head back into the office, their world will not come to a crashing end. They will have less of your time, but your financial status will improve, and thus allow for that expensive pre-school opportunity.

    There is alot to weigh. Only you and Charlie can decide what is best for your family. You will make it work to their advantage. I know. Pray about it. You will make the right decision.

    Have a fun week with Beth, Michael & your Dad.

  21. I'm with Sherri and Audrey but it really is the decision between you and your husband and lots of praying. I just think they they have 12 plus years of school and even though the break is good for your sanity since you had 3 babies the same age for so long (and continue to always have 3 the same age-LOL),.... that hanging in there for just a couple more years will be worth it. Yes your career will always be there and money coming in will too. If you have to work to pay for the school then you will always be run down. You will never get past the payments and passed being tired from work and STILL being all that a sahm does. I also think that your little one will miss out on their siblings to teach him what life is all about. :) I know I'm not in your shoes but that's what I would do. My only career before kids was to try to have them (ttc) and so I just know that they are only little once and will think about part time work when they do go to school (and have to).