There is so much utter joy when your kids reach new milestones, achieve new things, and start new chapters in their lives. But that joy can also be bittersweet as you see your kids growing up way too fast, leaving behind how things used to be, and getting closer to adulthood and independence. This is doubly true for watching your youngest child grow up — as they grow and change, you have to leave behind parts of your identify as a mother. And that can be so, so difficult.
Perhaps nothing illustrates this more than the first time you drop off your youngest kid at daycare or preschool. It’s a huge change for both child and mother, and from the times I’ve done it, I can tell you that there are way more tears shed on the side of the parents than on the side of the kids. I had two very intense car cries after dropping both of my kids off at preschool for the first time — even thought I was completely ecstatic to get a few hours back to myself a few days a week.
This week on TikTok, fitness enthusiast and mom of three Courtney shared the her own car crying moment after dropping her youngest off at daycare for the first time. It’s raw and intense — and super relatable for a lot of parents.
“I have three children, all girls,” she begins. “I have a 9-year-old who’s going into Grade 5, I have a 6-year-old going into Grade 1, and my 3 year old — I just dropped her off at her first day at daycare.”
Already in her story so far, she is failing to hold back tears.
“Now this little nugget has been with me because of COVID and everything like that, every day of her life since she’s been born,” she explains. “I’ve been a stay at home mom to her, and I did not think that it would be this hard for her to go to daycare. I know it’s good for her, it’s good for me, it’s good for us, but when you are physically attached to something that has been with you 24/7, separation anxiety is very, very hard.”
It’s okay, mama, lots of us have been there!
“And she went like a champ,” she continues. “I tried to hold back to hold back the tears, but I couldn’t. And she said it’s okay Mommy, I’ll see you later, I’m going to have fun. And then that made me cry even harder, because that’s what I’ve been telling her the past few days. So it would be easy on her, but little did I know.”
She then admits that she doesn’t even know how to continue on — I wish there was a fellow mom to tell her to just take a little time to feel your feelings… and then maybe go to Target without a bunch of kids and feel that amazing feeling.
Down in the comments, there were way too many parents comforting her and telling her that they had been there, too.
“My oldest starts high school and my youngest starts preschool this year,” one mom wrote. “I feel this on so many levels.”
“You are not alone,” another added. “Hugs mama. You are amazing. I remember those days. Momma of 5 here & I too have struggled and literally listening, brought me tears.”
“Your feelings are valid,” said another, and that sums it up really nicely.
All in all the video has been viewed 1.7 million times, with thousands of parents comforting her in the comments.
The next day, Courtney shared an update that, again, most parents can relate to. She and her daughter are doing great — and both are adjusting to the change well.
“We having a better day today,” she asks her little girl as they look like they’re headed out the door.
“Yeah!” her daughter answers.
“I think mommy feels a lot better now. We got the Bandaid ripped off, eh? First day jitters or first day blues? But we feel better, don’t we,” she says.
Good luck to both this cute toddler and her very loving mother on their new adventure this school year!