Happy Friday! Today’s installment of Real Moms is all about childcare and finding the right preschool. To be honest, this couldn’t have been a better month to talk about this subject. We just went through the entire preschool admissions process – boy it was rough. But I’m going to start at the beginning.
We talked about childcare for working moms last year – read the full post here. Thankfully, we love our nanny. She’s been with us since Jackson was 3.5 months old. The first year she was three days a week, which was the perfect transition for getting back into work with a little. I wanted those special days of just “us”. Last year we added her on to four and a half days a week. Let’s be honest, when you work for yourself you end up working less traditional hours, so having our nanny move to the new schedule freed up some time for me. Our quality family time together is in the mornings, then at 4pm each day I’m all his with no distractions and weekends we spend as a family.
This past fall we began the inevitable preschool search. All summer I grew more and more nervous for what was to come. The playground moms were talking up a storm about which schools were the best, most elite, which schools were part time or full time and after each trip to the park, I left me with my head spinning around. I’d go home and tell Eric what I had learned. I was already stressed and we hadn’t seen a single school. I could see the grey hairs starting to come in!
September came and the day to sign up for tours hit – mark your calendars, set alarms, and make a priority list is what I was told. So, that’s what I did. Unfortunately, I was on a styling job and couldn’t sign up myself. Luckily Eric took over the lead. I got text about each one, some were already full (seriously!), some we couldn’t tour until January, some froze, I was seeing the texts and all I could think was “the madness has only just begun.” Luckily, we got a tour at every school and our Saturday mornings were now being spent touring potential preschools with 20-40 other families that we were essentially “competing” against. I’d look around the rooms and think – what does one family have that the other doesn’t. The admissions directors don’t meet our kids, so they base everything off our child’s birth date, gender and questions the parents answer.
When January came, we had toured all of our top schools, had our favorite’s and turned in every application. Now all we could do was wait . . .
March 8th hit and the admissions letters started coming into my inbox. Each one said, wait pooled, wait pooled, wait pooled. By noon, we had found out we were wait pooled at each school. I was doing a photo shoot and all I wanted to do was breakdown and cry. How could this happen? What did we do wrong? What could we have said that would’ve helped us? Who wouldn’t want our son at their school? The questions kept circling over and over in my head. This all seemed harder than getting into college.
Luckily, I’m surrounded by incredibly supportive family and friends that reassured me that everything would work out.
This past Monday as Jackson and I flew back from visiting Eric in Arizona, we received the call we had been hoping to receive after five long days. We had been admitted to our top choice. I could finally breathe – I accepted before the director could even finish telling me all of the admissions information. Our deposit is in and Jackson is going to preschool.
This was a process I knew we would have to go through as parents. What I learned from friends that had been through it was that it all works out in the end. No matter if you get denied, wait pooled or accepted. There are options for everyone – each families journey is different but it will work out. And luckily we had a happy ending and absolutely love the school that Jackson is going to attend this fall. We couldn’t be happier!
Be sure to check out the other mama’s post because each of us has had a different experience since we live scattered throughout the country:
Alex | Jen | Leah | HeyMama | Cyd
Natalie | Rebecca | Catherine | Sarah
And be sure to check out past posts from this series!
Photos by Andrea Posadas for Sacramento Street