Some of you might know me. Yes, I work at Temple Solel. But as every parent knows: once a parent, always a parent. With that said, this is me, writing to you, as a parent, a first-time Mom.
In May 2019, we made Arizona our home. When I applied for the job at Temple Solel, my main motivations were “community” and “family.” With no family in town, I knew I wanted (and needed) to be part of a community. We also knew that we’d want to start a family sooner than later. But, it wasn’t until I shared with new friends and locals about my new job, that I heard this unanimous reaction “They have the best preschool in town!”
Working with children is hands-on hard work. I salute those who dedicate their careers to the education of children. As temple staff, what I’ve seen with my own eyes here was the amount of love and care all the preschool staff put into their work. And now that I am a Solel Preschool parent, I am in awe of how secure they make me feel.
Choosing the right school matters so much. It matters so you can keep your expectations in order, it matters so your family can feel safe, heard, nurtured and cared for. New parent, experienced parent. Full time, part time. Hands-on, extra help. No matter how you parent and/or how many times you’ve done so, the joys and struggles of parenting are there. It gets easier, it gets harder. We are all doing the best we can, the best we know. And just like our little ones, we learn as we go.
From all the things I’ve heard, the advice that really stuck to me was: “You will just know. You are going to receive plenty of suggestions, and plenty of unwanted advice. But you will know what works best for you and your child. And if in doubt, just ask for help. No one has it all together, and no one expects you to have it all together.”
Six weeks into maternity leave, I could not begin to imagine giving up on all the 24/7 snuggles and cuddles with my baby boy. The reality of going back to work in 6 more weeks, and placing him in the care of others was being “deeply ignored.” Well into the second month, and realizing that indeed, it goes by so fast! I noticed how true the saying “it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it” is. My, oh, my, that is most definitely on point in describing parenthood.
Going into my third and final month of maternity leave, not only reality started to sink in, but I found myself torn in between making a schedule, finding a balance, a routine, and soaking up as much as I possibly could. But honestly, today I see how most of it was pressure into wanting to make a good
impression as a parent.
What people forget is that when a child is born, so is a parent. It’s not only about giving your children love, it’s also about you! It’s about helping you cope with changes and transitions, helping you grow and evolve as a parent. You need to make sure that you are taken care of too, and exploring this deep connection to your child, knowing that he is well and secure, is part of it.
A week before we started preschool, we met with his teacher on zoom. Until that moment, being confined at home was “normal” – we had a newborn after all! But meeting his teacher on zoom was when I had a shock of reality, “oh wait, there is a pandemic out there!” From thinking he was too small to be out in the world, to the worries of COVID, that week was HARD.
The weekend before was a blur. From making sure I did not forget anything to endless pick up orders at Target, anxiety was running loose.
But January 2021 arrived and with it, his first day of preschool. And I’ve never looked back. Best decision we ever made as parents. We trusted to follow what works for us. After only one week, we could already see a jump in his developmental growth, and even more, he smoothly adapted to their routine, which we now keep at home. He is happy, and so are we. Of course, during that first week, all I wanted to do is cry, but now, 3 months later, not one day passes without me being grateful for The Solel Preschool.
If I have a question or if I am in doubt of something, they remind me that each child has its own pace, they remind me to never compare, and they answer ALL of my questions. No judgement, just reassurance. And most importantly, their attitude towards me, from Temple staff to Preschool mom, haven’t changed, not one bit.
To see him thrive, and to watch him reach milestones is the peak of our time together. Of course, we look forward to every holiday where we can have extra family time. But, to see how happy he is going and coming back from preschool, and to know that someone else is making sure that he gets all the care, tools and support he needs, while Mom and Dad make sure to work hard to provide him with the best future possible… well, there are no words for it.
I know how lucky I am to work next door. But I feel even luckier for these two amazing communities, Temple Solel and The Solel Preschool.
Religious School Coordinator