A Not So Great First Day of School


Sort of. Mostly.  Today it was just me and Brooke hanging out.  Oh, how relaxing the day was…

First we walked Jack into his kindergarten class, where he seemed happy to be, though he wouldn’t let me take a picture…

Then Hope and I walked Blake into his first grade classroom, where Blake graced me with one picture and shooed me out…

Finally I dropped Hope off at Pre-K 3 where she was absolutely thrilled to be…she gave me a kiss and ran off with her friends and never looked back…

So it was just Brooke and myself…we had a little physical therapy, went to a friend’s house for brunch and chitchat, and hung out at home for a few hours where Brooke was thrilled to have all the Cheerios to herself.

And then it was pick up time…

First Hope…then the boys…

The first thing I notice when I get the boys is that Jack isn’t wearing his name tag that all the kindergartners have to wear the first two weeks.

The boys climb in the car…Blake chatters on about how great first grade is and Jack is silent.  I can’t get a word out of him….except that he ripped his name tag off in the afternoon-because he wanted to…hmmm, strange…

As I’m going through the boys’ backpacks my phone rings…it’s Jack’s teacher…

What the fuck?  Who gets a call the first day of school from the kindergarten teacher?  Especially me?  My kids?  My kids who are little monsters at home but well behaved minions in public…

My Jack…my poor little Jackie…apparently he had a good morning and then lost it during lunch time.  The recess teacher had to bring him back to his teacher because he was crying so badly…then he spent the rest of the day under his desk.  Under his desk.  My little Jackie was under his desk…

His teacher was super nice, she just wanted me to be aware that he had a rough afternoon, but she let him be in hopes he gets better as the days go on…

After prodding Jack and questioning him as to why he was crying he finally answered…

It was because he wanted his mama.

Me.  He wanted me.

While I was celebrating the quietness of the house my little boy was crying in the lunch room.  While I was sending out snarky tweets about how happy I was to have the kids out of the house Jack was under his desk.

Talk about a Mom Fail.  A kick in the gut.  A slap in the face.

Talk about feeling like the worst. mom. ever.

Jack may have been crying during lunch and recess, but I bet it was nothing compared to the tears I cried after that phone call…

Because I don’t know how to fix this.  I don’t know how to get Jack excited for school, because he doesn’t want to go back.  And I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know what to do…

*This blog post is sponsored by Giraffe Childcare


  1. dawn says:

    oh no. this is not good. I wish i had some funny, encouraging wisdom for you, but alas, I do not. I will say that we are on week 3 of kindergarten and my guy has cried/gotten in trouble/ran from the school screaming EACH. AND. EVERY. DAY. So, please know you are not alone. I hope this gets better for both of you. and fast.

  2. Alison@Mama Wants This says:

    Oh poor Jack. I don't know if this will help, but I read this post about 2 months ago about how to prep your child for school. You might still be able to apply some of the tips. Good luck and hugs!


  3. Shannon says:

    Oh holly, my heart just sank. Because I do that same happy dance when I send my kids off to school and to think maybe its not such a vacation for them. Mine are younger so I don't have experienced advice to give, but maybe send little things in his lunch bag or give the teacher to give him in a bad moment to bring him comfort like a little love you note if he can read or a picture?

  4. Laura says:

    I'm so sorry. As a mother, I know just how bad your heart breaks when your child's does. You should not feel bad about celebrating some much-needed down time. How could you have known? Instead, tell your little one you love him, give him a million things to look forward to about school, and lay off the mommy guilt. I know that's easier said than done. Praying for a better second day of school!

  5. mama marchand says:

    Oh, mama. I don't have any experiential wisdom to share but I can pray for tomorrow and give you a big ole' virtual hug.

    Does his school allow parents to visit at lunchtime? I think mine used to do that but who knows how it is now.


  6. Heidi Ehle says:

    As a mom of a much older child, I have to tell you that you shouldn't feel guilty. This too shall pass. Kindergarten is rough on little ones for a little while….sometimes its as short as a few days, sometimes it is longer. But before you know it (or are ready for it!) little Jack will be giving you the old duck and run hug when you drop him off, and all of those tears of guilt will turn to tears of sadness that he grew up before you knew it. Hug him. Love him. Drink in every second. It is all gone way too fast. You blink and your baby is 13 and thinking that he's grown. lol

  7. Raquel English says:

    I completely understand your sadness about the little man. I've certaintly had my share with my kiddos. Mine are all pretty big (middle school and high school) but It'll get better.
    I don't want this to sound rude or mean, but everyday when he's dropped off, try to not feel a sadness, or let your sympathy/ guilt show. Children tend to play into it and will use it to their benefit.
    Independence is what we want our children to learn. Well, I shouldn't speak for everyone, but I did for mine. Even though I don't know you, I know you're a great mother. I can tell by the way you write. Good luck, sweet girl…Keep us posted on the progress. :)

  8. Ilisa Ailts says:

    Oh, I am so sorry! But, I am guessing it won't last. As you know. But, screw that, it sucks in the mean time. How about a picture for his locker or something? Or and idea is he could write you a note or draw you a picture about whatever he wants – or you for him. I am guessing when he gets some buds he won't cry. So sad. I AM DREADING my Evan starting K in 2 weeks :( I am so afraid he will be doing the same thing. I think I am going to start talking about it now and see if we can't come up with a plan…

  9. Symbiote Host says:

    You don't -have- to send him to Kindergarten. Homeschool is an option. It is especially non-demanding through second grade.

  10. Shannon Choe says:

    I know this is not an overnight fix- but – we used the book about Owen the Pig. Think it's called "I love you all day long" as well as, "The Kissing Hand" and talked about how we miss each other and love each other even when we are apart and we'll see each other at the end of the day. Then I send something in to school with them that is mine to hold onto all day long- something that can be in their pocket or attach to them that is small and not distracting, but there when they need to know that I'm missing them, too. Best wishes!

  11. Holly Ann says:

    Oh, Holly. I'll begin by saying I would've cried too. Probably a lot. But now I'll also say this, as a teacher, I know a lot of kids go through this. It's typical and developmentally appropriate at the beginning of the school year. The best thing you can do for Jack is continue to assure him that he is going to be in a safe and caring environment at school and you'll always be there at the end of the school day. It will improve with time, I promise. Don't beat yourself up – it's not your fault. Big Hugs!!

  12. Broot says:

    You need lots of hugs. Here are some NZ ones. ***BIGHUGEHUGS***

  13. Sierra says:

    Awwww more hugs from NZ coming your way.

  14. ckbrylliant says:

    I love you all day long! Great book. My first thought after feeling your pain was "the teacher left him under his desk all afternoon!?" I am hoping this is not the case. Time will hopefully heal this scenario. However, I personally believe that you have to validate his feelings and let him know that you are his biggest advocate. Something is bothering him and it may take time to figure it out. Simply asking him what can I do to help you feel better at school? You may be suprised at his answer. Looking forward to an update on this post.

    If your Brooke is anything like my Bridgie (ds also), then that box of cheerios wound up all over the floor!

  15. Dumb Mom says:

    I wish I could give you some advice too. I had a child who ran out of school (not to me, past me for the parking lot) from day one straight until the holiday break. But it was Pre-K. So it was sort of okay?! But, I bet he won't keep it up. He will make a friend. And he will start to have fun. And you will go back to enjoying your Brooke-filled days without guilt. Which you shouldn't have any of anyway. No way you coulda known he was freaking out at school and it's only fair to you AND to Brooke that you get to enjoy each other a little. Things will work out. I mean you know, mostly:)

  16. Deanna says:

    awwwww…poor holly. That's quite the guilt trip. I'm convinced that motherhood is 50% love, 50% guilt…(maybe 40/60) Yep, no words of wisdom here. Hope today goes better!

  17. Mommy says:

    aw I'm sorry. I haven't experienced this myself so I have no words of encouragement to really say other than maybe after a little while and he starts to make friends and sees how fun kindergarten is he will get use to it and actually enjoy it? It's just the initial seperation anxiety & getting use to being away from you that has to pass

  18. Crazykiddies says:

    It will get better. My oldest cried every day of Kindergarten for months. I just put on a brave face and got her there all the while my heart was breaking. I assured her I missed her, but that she would be fine. I ended up putting a picture of us in her backpack and I also gave her one of my necklaces to wear. (I told her if she squeezed the pendant on the necklace it was like getting a hug from me.) Can you maybe give him something special of yours to keep in his pocket? Have you read the Kissing Hand? That helped her too. I will admit 1st grade was hard too, but didn't last as long and then 2nd grade a few tears were shed too. You are not a bad mom. She starts 4th grade tomorrow and I am sure we might have some tears.

  19. TKW says:

    Miss M. hated pre-k and would cry and cling to me with a death grip. It broke my heart. I don't have answers for you, but you have all of my sympathy. Poor Jack. Poor you.

  20. celebrie2 says:

    Holly, weepy alittle from story, what a sad way to spend the first day of kindergarten.. We sent my g-daughter to school with a pic of us together, so she knew we were with her during the day!

  21. Jewels For Hope says:

    Oh, Poor Jack! I'm so sorry! That sounds like a rough first day. But now at least you have no where to go but up, right? I hope he (and you) have much better days! <3

  22. Jenny says:

    Awww, poor Jack! I can imagine how that broke your heart! I really hope he has a better day today…Now I get why he took your picture to school, I just thought it was funny I hadn't read this post yet :(

  23. Ange says:

    Oh, I just want to give him a hug. Poor little guy. I hope today goes 1000 times better.

  24. Darcy says:

    Aww :( Being separated is double edged always, isn't it?

  25. Crunchy Frugalista says:

    Bless his little heart! I remember those days! They go by so quickly. Love the pictures.

  26. Mia @ Mia's Musings says:

    Poor little guy! I went through this last year when mine went to Head Start. He loves school now and was so excited to be going yesterday morning. I know it is hard now, but hang in there, it does get better with time.

  27. Vanilla Mama says:

    Hope today is better! Poor honey -

  28. Lacey says:

    I would love to say that it gets better, but I did have one that cried pretty much all through kindergarten! It did get better as he got older though. It so broke my heart, and it got to the point that my hubby had to take him because I just cried right along with him, not making it any easier. Its such a hard age, but I bet he'll do better as the week goes on!

  29. sodahoney says:

    I hate to tell you this but my oldest cried all through school including college.
    She cried 1st semester, I thought it would get better the 2nd semester but nope. Then I said 2 year would be better but nope. So I brought her home and she went to a local college.
    On the other hand my youngest waved goodbye and never looked back.

    • Marie says:

      I’m very late to join, but if you haven’t, I think you should encourage your daughter to see a doctor and/or a therapist.

  30. Lori A. says:

    *Big Hugs!* I haven't had this experience..I guess mine were all too happy to be rid of me? Both of my kids did cry for about a month every Sunday when we left them in the nursery at church..it is heartbreaking.
    I don't know if it helps, but every year since my son was in Kindergarten (he's in 3rd now) the teacher has had us write something or draw a picture to put inside their locker (in their classroom). They see it every day when they open it throughout the day.
    I also like the idea of giving them something small to put in their pocket that they can touch if they're feeling sad/lonely.
    Also, when my son was in Kindergarten, they encouraged parents to come have lunch with them during the first few weeks. I think I went 2-3 time/week the first few weeks. I don't know if that would make it worse? But maybe it would help him adjust by seeing you part way through the day..maybe not make the day seem so long.

  31. Erica@PLRH says:

    I wish I could give you some sage advice that would make it all better. But I can't. Hang in there. This too shall pass.

    Please know that you are NOT the worst mother in the world! If anything, I'm ahead of you in that race. I told my son to "suck it up" and keep running track when he told me he had shin splints. It turns out his leg was broken. Three years later and he still won't let me forget that one.

  32. Jenn @ Coolest Family on the Block says:

    Awww, that's so sad :( Poor little guy.

    My little one isn't even close to this age yet. The only things I can think of are to give him a picture of you to take to school (or maybe a small wallet-sized photo album with pics of the whole family so he's not picked on for being a mama's boy?), and maybe something like a handkerchief with your perfume on it. Also, maybe you could do some hand tracings together. You'll keep his at home and he can take yours to school to keep in his desk/bag/cubby and when he misses you he can put his hand on your hand. I don't know, I'm grasping at straws here, but I sure hope the little guy has a better week!

    P.S. When I was transitioning from elementary school to middle school I made my mom walk me to my homeroom. She was the only parent there. I asked her to do it again when I moved to high school and she refused. I'm pretty sure that's why I never went to college and now I only live one block away from her ;)

  33. She's Rambling Again says:

    Poor baby. I hope it gets better. On the bright side: You know he loves you!

  34. ckbrylliant says:

    Need an update on Jack and you! Thought of you several times yesterday!

  35. Kristin says:

    Just getting back from a short vaca where I was dreaming about my 5 yr old starting kindergarten in 2 weeks. Hallelujah – I can't wait. But hmmm… maybe I better not celebrate so soon. Crying, under his desk. Tear your heart out. Hope it's getting better, poor guy.

  36. Kristin says:

    Alison@Mama Wants This – thanks for the article!!

  37. Tiffany says:

    {{{Jack}}} {{{{Holly}}}}

    Stop beating yourself up first of all. Feeling glad they are at school is normal and you had no way of knowing!!! (I know easier said than done!)

    Second…does he have a buddy in his class? I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I bet that would help. Maybe you could set up a playdate or something to help him have a buddy to look forward to.

    I hope something helps b/c that sucks big time.

  38. Boobies says:

    Awwwww! Bless his heart!

    The entire first week of school, my daughter had to be physically pried out of my arms to stay at school. It devastated both of us.

    She came around & Jack will too. I promise!

    (I get a call from the school every week, first day included. It never fails.)

  39. AlicesMom says:

    Oh Holly, Jack

    I want to send you hugs, lots and lots of hugs. Poor Peanut!

  40. ramona says:

    so!?!?!?!? how's he doing? poor dude and poor mama :(

  41. Gretta says:

    I have to say that there is only one thing worse than the pain of knowing your child misses you while they’re gaining their independence and that is when they gain their independence. It was hard watching my little guy cry as I left, but not as hard as when I left without him noticing. Embrace these moments!

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