If you're getting ready to send your child off to school in metro Atlanta for the first time, there may be a few tears involved – and they may not all belong to your child.
It's a big adjustment for both of you as you realize your "baby" is taking a step into the world without you.
The following are five ways you can keep a strong face in front of your kid and survive that first day (and −just maybe − the rest of the school year):
Say a quick goodbye
Give your child a quick hug and kiss, but don't linger in the classroom. Keep the goodbye as quick as possible, because you want your child to feel your confidence, not your hesitation, a member of the Today parenting team recommended.
Your child isn't the only one who can become a little clingy at this point. But the longer you stay, the bigger deal it can become to leave, and you might find yourself tempted to shed some tears. Besides, you don't want to be the parent who stays so long that the teacher has to say, "OK, we're ready to start now."
Cry if you want to – but do it in private
Atlanta parenting experts say you should acknowledge rather than suppress your feelings, but choose the right time and setting.
"My recommendation is don't hold back the tears! Let them flow privately, not in front of your child," parenting expert Bob Lancer said in an e-mail.
The situation is difficult, whether you're a stay-at-home parent or one who works outside the home, according to Susan Morley, parenting expert and founder of Parent Coach Atlanta, who is also a mom.
"You're not just silly. You're not just being a helicopter mom," she said. "This is a big deal."
Take time to refresh yourself
Give yourself permission and room to refresh yourself in a way that works for you, Morley recommended.
Moms who don't have to go to work that day could plan to hang out with other teary-eyed moms in the morning, but make sure they're similar to you in openness. If you'd rather, dive into work, go for a run or let your spouse know you'd like to go out for dinner to unwind at the end of the day, Morley said.
Plan a day of pampering
If you're a stay-at-home mom who's sending your only child or youngest off to school, don't come home to an empty house. Plan a day of pampering with a haircut, manicure, pedicure and other treatments.
And if you're a mom who works outside the home, try to take the day off and do the same if possible. With a ritual as nice as this one, you could keep it up every year and even find yourself looking forward to that first day of school next year.
Know that your child is probably doing a lot better than you are
If your child cries when you drop him or her off, the situation can be even more upsetting. But they probably will get distracted quickly by other kids and all the interesting things in the classroom and the teacher's efforts.
As another Today parenting blogger put it, "Your kids are more ready than you think, and if they are not, you will get there together. We all know it's not just a new adventure for them but for us parents as well. ... You will both survive!"
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