Celebrate Little Things

Holy all-over-the-place post. You’ve been warned.


I’m not gonna lie—I had Mommy guilt.
The kind that makes me feel guilty for dropping my son off at preschool every day when I am perfectly capable of watching him myself.
Perfectly capable of playing puzzles, and play dough, and making macaroni necklaces.

And I’ll even admit that there were a handful of people I postponed telling that I was sending Wes to preschool, for fear that they may judge me.
Perhaps assume that I was taking the easy way out.
She doesn’t have a job to go to every day. Why can’t she teach Wesley herself?
And the overwhelming feeling of guilt and that fear of judgement nearly stopped me from making the best decision for my son.

I remember having a lump in my throat as I completed Wesley’s very first school emergency contact forms.
Was I really doing this?
Handing him over…
Until 1:00 every day…
This was never in my original “parenting plan”.
Then again, hardly any of the last 3 years as a Momma have gone according to “plan”.

Me: Ben, are we sure? Is this the right thing to do? Right for Wesley?
Ben: Well, let’s try it and see. We can easily change our minds if it isn’t working out.

Ben’s response reminded me of a similar conversation we had when deciding whether to keep Wesley in his therapy.
And he was right. We needed to give this a try.

Wesley was regressing at home.
Returning to old habits since the arrival of his new baby brother.
And he was no longer eligible for his therapy sessions through the Regional Center.
If Wesley was going to continue getting help with his speech and behavior concerns, then the specialized program through our local preschool was the best option.
The option where Wesley would have more than 5 teachers and specialists dedicated to working with him.

And it was with that in mind, and tears in my eyes that I signed the remainder of his school forms, got him a new dump truck lunch box and then went on our first “back to school clothes shopping” trip.

Now again, I would be lying if I didn’t say that a part of me was looking forward to the handful of hours each day I would have to tackle the to-do list that had been building over the last three years. Not to mention all the quality time I would be able to spend with my new babe, Sawyer.  In fact, a BIG part of me was very much looking forward to this time I was about to be given. Yet, no matter how much I was about to relish in all the time I would have each day, I was still going to miss my little guy—miss him terribly.

But I knew I needed to make the decision that was best for him.
Which is what any loving Momma wants for their child. The best.
Whether they stay-at-home or work full time.
Whether they are a single parent or married.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was raised by a single, working Momma.
And I went to preschool, and after school programs, and spent less time with my Mom than some of my other peers.
But I never knew the difference. My mom made sure of that.
Made sure I was loved. Made sure we had quality time together.
Made sure that I was thriving, progressing and loving life.
She made decisions that were best for our family at the time,
and even at a young age, I could feel that.

I guess what I’m getting at…
is that, as parents, we try to do what’s best for our children.
Sometimes circumstance determines the decisions we make,
but that does’t affect the thought and love we put into our decisions.
And when we make a thoughtful, and loving decision for our children,
I feel we should embrace it rather than fear the judgement of others.
Because what’s best for one family,
may not be what’s best for another.

Ok, I’m stepping down from ym soap box now.

It’s been almost two weeks since Wes started school.
And in that very short time, I swear to you–Ben and I have witnessed a miracle.
Preschool has been the biggest blessing in our lives since becoming parents—and I mean that.

Wesley is thrilled.
His speech and language have excelled.
His aggression has nearly vanished (except in times of extreme exhaustion).
His play skills, amazing.
His separation anxiety, gone completely.
His kindness, magnified.
And it’s been less than 2 weeks!

I realize that we’ll have tough days,
and tantrums,
and new challenges to overcome…
I realize that this is only the beginning of a long process…

But I’ve also realized one important lesson through this whole experience.
A lesson so important, I have now applied it to my entire method of parenting.


It’s how we stay positive.

Because it can be easy to get discouraged. Easy to feel frustrated that your toddler hasn’t relinquished all his bad habits after a year and a half of intervention and dedicated parenting. It can be easy to feel guilty. And afraid.

But it’s more fun to be happy.
And it’s even more fun to get excited for your son because of all the little milestones he is achieving every day.

It’s more fun to giggle as you listen to him walk around the house saying all the new words he has learned at school:
Tank you for sharing.
We don’t hit our fwends.
Go have fun with Miss Jan.
Tank you for coming to school today.

It’s more fun to surprise him with an impromptu trip to miniature golf as a reward for going a whole week without hitting his friends or family.
It’s more fun to snuggle and kiss him and tell him how proud you are that he is being nice and gentle with his baby brother.
It’s more fun to celebrate rather than stress.
And right now, I’m all about the fun.
Because when you have a long way to go,
it’s all about celebrating the baby steps you take to get there.

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

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  • Reply
    nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma
    August 29, 2012 at 6:50 am


    I feel the same way about sending Moose to PreK. But, with all the teachers and therapies he receives at school, it’s far more than I can provide at home {even thought I was a teacher before!}

    I think that break each day makes me a more present mother.

    Funny, I wrote a similar post tonight about my son…

    Enjoy the quiet,

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Shortly after I closed my laptop my son asks “Mum, will you play with me?” – had I not just finished reading this post, my answer probably would have been the same as usual – “Sorry sweetheart, I’ve got to get on with….” The delight on his face when I said “Yes, I’d love to play” was priceless. Thanks Ashley – your posts push me to be a better Mum.

    Anna x

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I really struggled with this for the fall. Baby girl is a November birthday so I could put her in any three year old classes here. I felt like I could do the 2 year old playdate thing but she wants to go to school do bad. She even is ready to get on the bus and leave me! We ended up not sending her, she is a peanut compared to other 3s but after the new little guy comes, we may take advantage of the mom’s day out program at the preschool near us.

    I want to let her go, I know she will thrive and love it but I want her to be my baby just a little while longer…

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 10:23 am

    *could not put her in 3 year old classes… That’s what I get for using my phone!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Don’t feel guilty!
    They have such fun there.
    And I honestly believe that they need that time learning from teachers,and interact with children in school.It helps them grow and develop.
    Also you need to rest and focus on the little one to so you can give loads of attention and love to W,when he comes home.
    Here in Belgium it is normal that kids go to school from age 2,5.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Don’t ever feel guilty about sending Wesley to school! Like you said he’s doing fantastically.
    I taught kindergarten in Southeast Asia for years and there a lot of the mothers were stay at home moms, rich expat wives.. and all the moms had nannies and maids, so they didn’t even bring them to school or pick them up.. to be honest I judged them a little (gasp) I mean, what did they do all day? Drink champagne at brunch and go to the gym, but I do think it is best for kids to go to a school and to socialize around other kids and learn all sorts of skills.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Hey Ashley, I know what you’re going through. I am a working mother and my son was in an in home sitters house starting at 8 weeks. Around 18 months I noticed he wasn’t developing as much as my other friends kids who were just weeks older, so we made the decision and ponied up an extra $500/month to put him in daycare. I always looked at daycares like I view dog shelters…bad analogy I know, but I thought of it as very corporate and people that just come, put in their 8 hours, and go home. I couldn’t even comprehend anyone loving him as much as I do like our previous sitter did, but she didn’t have the capacity to teach him like he should be taught. So we went to daycare and I’ll tell you what…BEST DECISION EVER. We saw changes within weeks. He learned so much. He socialized so much better. He was doing things I never imagined he’d be doing soon. So yes, it’s hard and you feel guilty at first…but they adapt and they enjoy it. I can barely get my son to LEAVE daycare each day and I bet Wes will like his preschool just as much. My son starts the preschool room in a few months and I can’t wait to see what he’ll be learning then. Anyways, hang in there…you did the right thing, even though it seemed hard. 🙂 Enjoy those sweet little boys

  • Reply
    Karen Nahas
    August 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Ashley. You should not feel guilty. I think preschool is great for kids. My 2 year old son started preschool part time in June and this week, he started full time (with his sister who is almost 4). He has speech delays and sensory issues and has improved drastically over the summer! He loves it. He has friends there and he is now speaking in 2-3 word sentences! Before, he was barely even talking. It is amazing. He is also more willing to touch certain things that he wouldn’t before (play doh, etc.). Point is, if he likes it and is happy and doing well, stick with it.

  • Reply
    Joanna @ Mommy In Suburbia
    August 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Ashley!
    I’m so happy to hear he’s doing well. I used to teach at a preschool, and if you get in the right one the teachers definitely become like extra parents to your kids.

    My 3 year old girl has been developing some behavior issues, and I would love to be able to send her to preschool. Sometimes kids respond much better to positive discipline from a new source. However, in our area they run over $1,000 a month (for one kid!) and that just won’t fit in the budget.

    Making the decision to do what right for your family is always a good one.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks for this post. It came at a perfect time! I need to do better about noticing the little, good things that happen instead of worrying over other things. I’m so glad that Wesley is doing better, and good for you that you went ahead and did what you thought was best, even while wondering what others would think!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This is such wonderful news!! 🙂 I am so excited for you!!! And you are right,…we should enjoy the little things in life!!! 🙂 Those photos of Wesley are soooo cute!!! Love to see him smiling!

  • Reply
    Sandy A
    August 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    How wonderful Wesley is doing so well in Preschool! I think it is great. All of our five Grandchildren attended Preschool and they all thrived and just loved it so much. Children need and so enjoy the interaction with their little friends they make. And it is so good for them to learn to follow rules and instruction from other adults-not just mommy and daddy. Children not only have a wonderful time playing in Preschool, but they learn so much it is amazing…

  • Reply
    Nicole Franks
    August 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Thank-you thank-you thank-you! This post comes at such a great time in my life! I am a momma to three little ones (4,3 & 4 months) I am nursing, but know my baby needs more food! I’ve been feeling so guilty about doing formula bc of judgment I may get from my circle, but I know it will be best if I supplemnt! Ah, this stupid mommy guilt! Thanks for sharing your heart, it really movitivated me today! =D Keep up the good work little miss momma!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Thank you for writing this! I am sending my 3-year old boys to their first day of preschool next week, and am starting to get nervous! The guilt is starting to set it, because I am a stay-at-home-mom and don’t have any other kids. BUT- three years with my twin boys has left me looking forward to this little break. And, like you just described, we are doing this for THEM more than anything. I think it will be good for them to have the structure, someone else telling them not to hit, and the stimulation that, try as I might, I cannot provide for them in the same way that a classroom of peers can do. It’s definitely bittersweet to think about them growing up and “leaving” me for a few hours a week. But, I really think it is a milestone that does need to be celebrated!

  • Reply
    Wendy Orme
    August 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    That’s just so awesome! You guys are doing such a great job raising your cute boys!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life
    August 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Mommy guilt has to be the worst thing about parenting. It is so hard not to second guess all our decisions we make. Especially if you think you will be judged harshly by your decisions by friends or family. But we all do the best we can. And we each have to make decisions that are right for OUR families. It would be really nice if all of us moms could come together to lift each other and support each other realizing that we are all making hard decisions every day. Glad your little guy is doing so well in preschool!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ Lillys&Lollipops
    August 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Such a great post. My daughter is 2 1/2 and I have been thinking of putting her in pre school when she turns 3, but I’m so scared… For myself and for her. She has horrible separation anxiety, it’s my own fault. Is he’s never really have anyone watch her Except myself, my husband or my mom. I feel scared she will be crying the whole time feeling like I left her there forever! I am going to have to get over it. Hearing that Wesley is doing good and os exited about it after only 2 weeks makes me feel like I can do this!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    That is a great post!! Thanks for sharing! I’m a working mom and it is hard to let her go to daycare every day but it’s the best for our family now…and that’s just how it has to go. She does well at daycare and I’m happy for that. But it’s not easy!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Great post.
    will you like to participate in my giveaway.check it out!

  • Reply
    Monica @ The Writer Chic
    August 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Lovely, in so many ways. Happy for this season of growth and change in your family. We are right there with you, and it blessed me to read this today.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Oh I think it is SO good that you send him to preschool! Kids NEED that interaction with other kids and not just their parents, freedom away , time to talk like kids and time to learn new rules that sometimes parents dont enforce at home. So important and worth it! And your most hated place is the chuck e cheese..UG, mine is Golf N Stuff!! I dont know why, but i HATE it!

  • Reply
    Lorie In Texas
    August 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I can totally relate to your post. Maybe beause my first born Z and your little W have lots of similarities. But your post today really hit home especially the part where you said: Because what’s best for one family, may not be what’s best for another.
    You see, my work has become increasingly intrusive into my personal life. My boss is insisting that I make changes to my current child-minder situation. She has expressed her opinion about where my kids should be during work hours and I keep politely letting her know that while I appreciate her input, we are doing what is best for us. It’s a tremendous amount of pressure from one’s employer! Your statement couldn’t be truer. I wish more people would stop judging and just trust that most of us are doing our best. It might be sloppy (in my case) but what we are doing, works for us. *sigh* Thanks

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Ugh. Holy all-over-the-place post should be the title of all of my blog posts! You’re doing much better than I am, so far. I feel I have a little bit of ADD with my posting that I’d like to work on, but it’s so hard to pick and choose what’s worth writing about when so much is happening all at once for my little family.

    One of the things going on is that our Basset Hound puppy, Olive, is sick again and may need her second surgery in 4 months. It’s frustrating, but your post just made me realize that going into the bedroom to console her puppy cries and her nuzzling her nose up under my chin, then falling fast asleep will forever be one of my very favorite moments with her for the rest of my life. Thank you :]

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I”ve only just discovered your blog here in Australia and loved catching up with your Love Story and are now enjoying reading your posts as they come to me.
    I love them as they are just so honest and true. And in this post i admit that i’m all for keeping kids at home as long as possible and also have two little boys… my 4yr old is now in pre-school and yes loves it but i got judged when he was younger for not putting him in anywhere so it works both ways and as you’ve said the most important thing is making sure you do what makes you happy, your family happy and what you feel is best for your family – not what anyone else thinks… unfortunately it doesn’t matter what you choose there are always those out there who judge you rather than happy to offer support and just concentrate on their own lifes rather than worry about what others are doing…
    Sounds like Wes is doing wonderfully and its perfect for him so thats just awesome!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    good job!!ck out that different happy face on your son!!! He looks totally different. If I had not read the blog and only saw the pix i would have just attributed it to golfing with Daddy, this spontaneous group of pix looks like the beginning of better times for all of you. God Bless You

  • Reply
    Vanessa Pierson
    August 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I am a stay at home mom too, but I fully intend to send my little girly off to preschool once she hits that age. I think that Preschool provides something you can’t totally give them at home. It gives them a chance to socialize with a lot of different kids and get a feel for a classroom environment. My mom was a stay at home mom my whole life and all three of her kids went to preschool. I think they are super helpful to kids. Yeah you can teach them some things on your own, and you probably should still. But I think the social aspect alone is awesome. Kids that age totally need to learn to be around that many kids or kindergarten is going to be a huge shock for them.

  • Reply
    April Foss I Sew Lucky
    August 30, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I love the last saying in the picture:) So, so agree!! My oldest daughter is now 15 and I do mean ALL that comes with a 15 year old teenager:/ Lately all I can think about is her long thick ponytail when she was little how she would play outiside from morining until night, she loved it!! I miss that soooo much! I wish I could have those days back.

  • Reply
    lisa leonard
    August 30, 2012 at 1:35 am

    So absolutely wonderful. I love your words and your heart. And I am so happy Wesley is doing so well! Love you!!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Good for you! You will never regret your decision.
    Mason will have 3 years of preschool. He’s going into his second year now. It definitely wasn’t in our parenting plan either. I stay at home with him and I have no other children. But I saw a huge change in mason after starting preschool. He loves it!!! It was the best decision!

  • Reply
    I’ll Leave You with This | Rags to Stitches
    August 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

    […] posts about preschool and kindergarten resonated a lot with me this week. Our little grow up so fast and it’s so hard trying to […]

  • Reply
    renee rasmussen
    August 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    you are an amazing mother

  • Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    There are so many, including myself, who will understand this post. I feel it too constantly, but I will take your words to heart! Also, school did WONDERS for our severely speech-delayed son. I think it was about two weeks as well you couldn’t even tell he had not been talking!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2012 at 3:39 am

    I had a similar/opposite experience with my son. I knew preschool would have been the best thing for him when he was 4 because he doesn’t learn as well with me, I loose my patience too quickly with him when I’m trying to teach him school related things, etc etc a lot of different reasons. but we flat out couldn’t afford it (I’m a stay-at-home-mom) so I did a home school preschool co-op with a few other friends and when I (this where we are similar/opposite) told people he was doing the home school thing, I felt like I was being judge (probably just in my own mind) for not putting him in preschool. I believe, like you said, each situation is different and we as mothers are doing the best we can with what we have and know of our children. I’m so excited for you that he’s doing so well. Just know there are a lot of people out there, like myself, that know preschool is awesome and the best thing, in my opinion, for most kids to prepare them for kindergarten!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I agree with you- what’s best for one family is not the answer for others. I’m glad he’s loving school. Its bittersweet to see them grow up.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2012 at 2:14 am

    It’s funny that as moms we struggle with similar yet different things. I was struggling with how to tell people I’m not sending my child to preschool this year. She is 3 (4 in Nov) and I know she would benefit from it, but to us, it’s 1 more year to save some $$ and she’ll be in school for 18 years, why start now? Yet, I know most if not all kids go to preschool when they are 3-4. I think we have made the right decision for our family though. Sounds like you have too! I’m so glad that preschool is helping Wesley grow into a big boy. And try not to feel guilty. It’s okay to want to have time with your new baby and Wes is getting social skills at school, amongst other things.

  • Reply
    Nicole @ The Style Hatch
    September 2, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I worry sometimes about Liam socially. Since he is at home with me all day long everyday. That’s why he needs a sibling…right 😉

    I’m so happy that you celebrate the little things. I always say that if we didn’t have the little things to celebrate, we probably would never have anything big to celebrate either!

    p.s. totally craving hot chocolate- wish we could have some together

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 3:53 am

    As a preschool teacher this post brought tears to my eyes. Be sure to tell W’s teacher how much your appreciate her/them. It means the world to me when parents tell me thank you for the care and love i show their child.
    I’m glad all is going well for you and Wesley! enjoy your time with your new baby too!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Your not alone with these feelings. I debated keeping my son in daycare when I lost my job last year. We decided on 2 days a week, and it worked out great. He loves it there, he has fun, he plays with other kids, and Mommy got a break. Because watching 1 child all day full time is hard work, I can’t imagine having 2. Good for you for doing whats right for your family, whats right isn’t always whats easy. 🙂



  • Reply
    Michelle {the Momma Bird}
    September 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

    i swear I feel like we’re at the same place with our kiddo. my guy is almost 3.5 and I signed him for 2.5 days a week – 2 full days & 1 half day. I know it will be the best thing for him as he’ll get loads of social interaction; but it will be best for our family as our 2 yr old will get some quality time with me & with twins arriving in a few weeks, I’ll get a little break as well.
    As long as you know, in your heart that this is where the Lord is guiding you – that my sweet friend – is all that matters. Everyone is different and although some find it best to keep their little ones at home, others feel that sending them to school is even better.
    Keep your head up – you’re a wonderful Momma 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacy P.
    September 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Congratulations to you and your little guy on all his wonderful milestones! I’m so happy you have found preschool to be beneficial for your family. As a preschool teacher, I often find that most think we just play all day….provide a glorified babysitting service. Well, we DO play – a lot! But that play is teaching all the time. We love our jobs – and it is evident your son’s teachers love their jobs (and your son) too!
    Enjoy this time–preschool years fly by.

  • Reply
    Lindsay Lee
    September 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I dont know how I missed this post. IM right there with you girl. TOTAL mommy guilt this week as I dropped off Landyn, but I feel its best for her. Miss you! I think I’ll follow Nina to your house one of these days 🙂

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