School is starting and that means the juggling act is kicking into high gear. I made peace with the idea of after-school programs when my son entered kindergarten; with two working parents there are limited options, after all.
But this year it’s before school that’s got me in a bit of a panic. My husband needs to be out the door by 6:45, which means getting one child to the child care center, another to early morning speech therapy appointments and getting the third on the school bus – all before my workday starts – is virtually impossible. In year’s past I’ve experimented with hiring morning help, adjusting work hours, and relying on neighbors. But this year I’ve come to realize that the solution that probably makes the most sense is signing my second grader up for before-school care. It’s offered on site, I can drop him off as early as 7, and it’s fairly inexpensive. He even has a couple of friends who are doing it.
So why do I feel so guilty? I can’t shake the vision of him sitting alone in a corner of the school cafeteria glumly eating his bagel while other kids are around a homey kitchen table eating French toast and warm maple syrup with all sorts of family members casting a warm glow. Maybe I need to spend a couple of mornings in other homes to see that we’re not the only ones where chaos ensues. And maybe I need to visit the before-school program to reassure myself that my son will be engaged and social, that he might, in fact, actually be having a good time. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for a guilt complex that’s stuck in overdrive.