The Preschool to College Track:: You Need to Calm Down

You are somebody I know from drop-off,
But you’re takin’ shots at me like it’s mom-off.
And I’m just like, cool, it’s only preschool.

Sayin’ in the carpool, “we’re college-bound!”
Gotta get em started early, you expound.
And I’m just like jeez, they’re only three. 

You need to calm down.

I always thought my husband and I were doing a pretty good job planning for our kids’ futures. I mean, sure, there are plenty of things we still need to sort out, but we have a will. We moved to a neighborhood with good schools. I felt like we were on the right track.

That is, until I stood around a group of moms at preschool drop-off discussing college prep. 

I sat silently as they discussed the curriculum they practiced at home. The extracurriculars they’d enrolled their little ones in because they look so darn good on resumes. The colleges they’d already begun researching {Do you know which universities have the best engineering or economics programs? I sure didn’t.} And as I listened, I felt more and more like the scum of the parenting earth. 

According to sources, my list of parenting failures include::

  • Not starting a college fund before they exited the womb. 
  • Enrolling them in preschool a mere two days a week rather than five. {They’ll get behind, you know.} 
  • Buying a house in the wrong area {Because, like, didn’t I realize the high-school my kids are zoned to is entirely too competitive and there’s no way they’ll make top ten percent?}.
  • And speaking of which, they really should be in private school anyway. You know, because of all the advantages. 

Huh. I guess the money we spent on a house in a nice neighborhood zoned to an excellent, blue-ribbon public school was a huge waste of finances considering how hyper-competitive and disadvantageous it is. 

I might be able to make up for those monstrous errors in by putting my kids in Boy Scouts. But apparently I need to get started on that right away; if I wait too long they’ll miss some of the ranks and won’t be on the track to make Eagle Scout. Or something like that. 

I don’t know about you, but that was a lot to take in at nine in the morning. 

I came home feeling like a complete and utter failure. I clearly had not taken any of the proper steps to ensure my children’s success and left them adrift in a sea of future college rejection letters. I’m worse than the mothers who feed their kid fast food nuggets for lunch and let their children have screen time before the age of fifteen. The horror! 

Per usual fashion, I obsessed over all my failures for the next three days. I wept on my husband’s shoulder {he’s pretty used to that at least}, I googled private schools and inter-district transfers and bit my nails down to the quick. And in all seriousness I probably slept less than four hours a night – something I assure you did not do wonders for my mental state. Or my complexion. 

Until, as fortune would have it, a fellow Houston Mom Blogger threw a birthday party for her newly minted six year old son. As I stood around chatting with some of the other members of our team while our children raced hot wheels nearby, I brought up the pre-school college prep conversation and admitted my parenting failures. I can’t tell you the relief I felt when every single one of them started laughing. Full bodied, choke-on-your-mom-beverage kind of laughter, the type of which is usually reserved for discussions of all the things we said we’d never do before we had children. 

In true mom tribe fashion, they were quick to remind me that my sons are only ONE and THREE years old. It’s perfectly okay that I haven’t planned out their academics for the next seventeen years. And if we’d rather go to the park and feed ducks than get a jump on extracurriculars to pad their college applications, that’s probably okay. We can work on that after we tackle potty training. 

For all the other ‘bad moms’ like me out there panicking that we’ve destroyed our children’s chances at success by preschool, it’s cool. We still have time to sort everything out. 

And to all the moms out there passing judgement during morning drop offs — 

You need to calm down. 

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Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .


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