On Losing Our Freedom {Starting Kindergarten}


My oldest starts kindergarten in just a few weeks. I’ve started thinking things like, “But the time goes so fast!”, “I can’t believe she’s so big!” and “But she was JUST a baby!” It’s a predictable refrain with each milestone we encounter. I think I’m having typical and appropriate feelings about my child starting school. Mostly. You know, except for the palpable sense of dread I have about it all.

My husband and I were married for a while (7 years) before we had our first child. We weren’t completely naïve, in that we knew our lives would change (in part, for the better) and that we’d be giving up the freedom to do just about anything on a moment’s notice. Some of that sweet liberty is coming back, now that my children are 5 and 2 – but I still can’t leave the house without a diaper bag and emergency snacks. We’re fooling ourselves a little because we still try to plan around an afternoon nap.

In a few, short weeks we will be tethered again – to The School Schedule. Bye bye, September beach vacation. Bye bye, off-season rates. So long to the idea of “Well, we’ll just go when everyone else is in school” because she’ll be IN SCHOOL. Evenings will eventually be over-taken with homework and projects and activities. I feel like we’ve successfully climbed a mountain each evening my husband and I get both of our children to bed on time as it is. Add school?

I totally dread it.

At the core of my dread lies the sappy realization that we are moving away from her early childhood. The freedom I felt as a new parent to be a little clueless seems less and less excusable. As we move into the next phase of family life and carpool lines, time is moving faster for me. She’s getting older, moving on and taking us with her. Our family is aging. We’ll most likely feel the responsibility that comes with age before we enjoy the eventual freedom that’ll go with it.

Bye bye time-away-whenever-we-want-it. We’ll see you on the flip side.

Do you have a child starting kindergarten this school year? How are you feeling about it?

Kristen is still in the middle of her love story. She and her best friend of four years gave in and finally decided to date. Two years later, she was engaged. Two years after that, she was married. She’ll celebrate her 17th wedding anniversary this May. Mom to Ellen (8) and James (5), she works full time in Human Resources outside of the home. Her children have taught her that motherhood is hard. And wonderful. And HARD. A proud alum of LSU and Johnson and Wales University, she also collects college degrees. (BS in Psychology, AS in Culinary Arts and BS in Culinary Nutrition). She’s lived in Baton Rouge a majority of her life, with sojourns in New Orleans, Charleston, SC and Providence, RI. The south is clearly home. Recovering from a nearly crippling case of adolescent insecurity, she is still the most likely to have the heel of her shoe caught in the hem of her pants.


  1. My baby is no where near school age but I totally teared up reading this and anticipating the eventual inevitable. Bittersweet and beautifully written!


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