If I got a nickel for every time someone asked if my kid was in preschool, I’d be a wealthy lady. I cannot begin to count the amount of times I am asked this, followed by the weirdest, and sometimes rudest, look when I tell them, “No, my kid is not in preschool.” There is also the occasional person who then begins to tell me all the reasons my kid should/needs to be in preschool and that I am doing her a huge disservice.
Well, here’s my truth.
Preschool costs about 1 billion dollars. I exaggerate, but it’s a lot, especially in Los Angeles. And my family doesn’t have one billion dollars. Yes, I could go back to work and the majority of my paycheck could go toward preschool. But what do I do with my second kid? I definitely don’t have two billion dollars for preschool. Also, even if I did have two billion dollars to spend, I was supposed to start applying for preschools when I was six weeks pregnant (I do not exaggerate). What about free preschools you ask? Well, we’re apparently too “rich” to qualify for those. And what about transitional kindergarten, you ask? Well, based on when her birthday falls, she doesn’t qualify for that either.
I understand all of the benefits of preschool. I really do. And I would love to be able to put my kid in preschool. Honestly, I was 100% sure my kids would go to preschool. That was until I realized the above.
Contrary to popular belief, stay-at-home moms do not sit around all day watching Ellen and eating ice cream. (I tape those and do that after the kids go to bed.)
My kid is smart. She knows all her numbers, shapes, spelling, planets, dinosaurs, how to use scissors, etc. My kid is social (shy, but social). We have multiple playdates/groups every week so she can socialize with kids around her age. We go on field trips to all sorts of museums — art, space, train, natural history, for example — where she is learning. She did soccer and is now in gymnastics and dance learning additional social skills as well as learning to follow the instructions of a teacher or coach.
Those who know my kid, know my kid is shy. And there are those who say, “Well, maybe if she was in preschool, she wouldn’t be.” Yeah, maybe. But also, maybe not. I went to preschool and was they shiest kid ever. Even with my mom working on the same campus and my dad a part-time teacher’s aide, I hid in the coat racks. I was also a crier and a leg-hugger until second grade (maybe longer). So even with preschool, my daughter still might be shy. I was.
Lastly, preschool is not a requirement (neither is kindergarten in the state of California). My kid will only be this age once. Once. And I plan on soaking her up, doing my absolute best to prepare her for school. I’m done apologizing and rationalizing myself to family, friends, and strangers (Why do strangers try to give me parenting tips?). My kid is awesome, and I am doing a damn awesome job with her.
For those with kids in preschool, I think that it’s absolutely amazing that you are able to do that for them. Preschool is pretty awesome. It’s just not for us.