First day of school tears – the kid's and your own. I thought I understood that. It's a momentous occasion and everyone gets a little overwhelmed. But once the initial adjustment period is over, everyone is happy with the new arrangement.
But I have friends who dread the beginning of the school year and desperately wish the holidays could go on forever. This was immediately at odds with the traditional parent line of; "Oh, thank GOD that's over!" about the endless void of school holidays. These women were lamenting the loss of their children's company and relishing long summer days with their whole family tucked under their wing once again.
I loved the sentiment. But I wasn't sure I could relate.
Having two boys at home ALL.DAY.LONG. really tests me. Most days, I'll lose my patience. Maybe it's every day. Now with a baby in the mix, I desperately need a little time out every few days or I start to get really shouty. I never wanted to be shouty mumma. No-one likes shouty mumma. Especially me.
The first time I put Luca in childcare was when I was heavily pregnant with Ziggy. I was not working but Bren pushed for our 2-year-old to do a day in care for two reasons; firstly, to give me a break and secondly, because he thought the little guy could use the extra stimulation. I resisted and resisted until finally caving. The first day I dropped him off at around 10am, I was a weeping mess in the car. Luca, by comparison, barely turned to acknowledge my departure, so thoroughly enamoured of the new adventure was he. I tearily told his carers I'd be back by three even though I could technically leave him as late as 6:30 if I wanted to. Within weeks, I was dropping him at 9am and picking him up at 5:30am TWICE A WEEK. And those hours inbetween – flew. Sometimes I didn't think of my toddler – at all. Obviously, it was made easier because he loved going to childcare so much. If he had been the kind to cling to my legs and cry hysterically, then my time alone would have been tainted with guilt.
The truth is I loved the time out. And I still do. On Thursday afternoons, Luca goes to kinder and Ziggy goes to a playgroup and I look forward to those afternoons like you would not believe. They end up being wildly frustrating to me as I inevitably make lists in my mind of all those tasks that can be tackled while I'm two kids down. Harlow seems to have a sixth sense for Thursday afternoons and targets that particular time to be a non-sleeping cling-on.
Occasionally, I fantasise about when they're ALL in school.
I love my children and I know these early childhood days are fleeting BUT…..I have so many things I like to do that don't include them!
I know my school-holiday loving friends are the same. They still have lives outside of being mums. Perhaps they just like the whole mum job more than me? They're almost certainly better at it than me.
I started to think that maybe I'm a monster.
And then this happened.
Swimming in a sea of ill-fitting blue and green, I could no longer deny that my TINY boy was embarking on an ENORMOUS adventure.
And suddenly, I wanted to tuck him safely beneath my mothering heart and run for the hills. He is far too small and how ever will I keep him safe if he is not within arms reach?
Of course, he will go. He must go and this is the way of life. My baby bird hovers on the precipice of our nest, a little hesitant but a lot excited. And I guess I feel just the same.
It remains to be seen whether I will 'miss' him when he is gone each day. 'Miss' seems like such a strong word….
A vote for me is a vote for….well, me….