So, you wait until your child is four years old, or thereabouts, to enroll him or her in a great preschool. You do your research, then sit back and look forward to it, anticipating more time to yourself while your child is learning great things and making new friends.

But wait. The hard part is just beginning. There is a learning curve to getting along in preschool for mom, too.

Weird new behavior

Your kid may bring home strange sayings picked up from her new friends. His potty habits may pull a reverse on you. If you suddenly notice your child acting strangely in these first few weeks of preschool, you’re not alone. Some kids have tantrums more often. Others fall asleep by 5 pm if they’re not getting naps at school.

Your little boy or girl is entering a whole new world, and it feels strange to see the effects as they learn to step out on their own bit by bit.

Morning madness

Mornings just become a whirlwind when you have to get your child out the door by a certain time. There’s lunch to pack, breakfast to be eaten, little arms and legs to be clothed.

Preschoolers venturing to school for the first time can be known to drag their feet just when you need them to hurry up. Suddenly, they forget how to put their own shoes on, and of course they insist that mommy do it for them.

The drop-off and pickup

It’s not like you’re walking your child to the end of the driveway to get on the school bus. You’ve got to pile him or her into the car, along with any younger siblings you keep at home with you… and then all get out on the other end, too.

You walk your child to the classroom, and then pile yourself (and the others if you have more kids) back into the car and go home. The whole procedure is repeated again in a couple hours. If you’re lucky, your husband may do the drop while you do the pickup.

Parent involvement

Scholastic Book Club order forms, fundraising activities, festivals, volunteering, donation signups, parent-teacher meetings, orientations, field trips, spirit days, dress-up days, school pictures… it seems there is something new every week that requires a bit of effort.

Of course you want to be involved for your child. It’s just that you picture it more like helping out in the classroom, so you don’t see all these little things coming.

Sick days

You’re paying thousands of dollars for those first few months, but it seems your child is home more than at school! She picks up every bug going around, since it’s her first time in a group childcare setting. And it spreads through your family, leaving that first school year a blur for all of you.

After six weeks as a mom to a new preschooler, this is what has hit me. How about you? What took you by surprise?

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