I’m not a crier. In fact I pride myself on being quite a strong person. A bit of a bad-ass if you will… well sometimes anyway!
But these past few weeks I have to say, I have been a bit of a wreck. Changes are a foot dear friends you see and change is hard. And so it turns out, this big girl does cry, quite a lot actually…
For the past four years I have devoted my life to my two young boys. I very willingly gave up a good career in PR to become a stay-at-home-Mum. I knew as soon as I looked into the perfect and oh so blue eyes of my first born, that I couldn’t return to the rat race, the constant demands from (often completely unreasonable!) clients, the late nights, the weekend events… in a heartbeat, I had given it up because this little bundle was infinitely more important, and I was happy with that. Along came number two a few years later and so the daily cycle of playgroups, playdates, naps, snacks, bickering over toys (them not me!), bedtime tantrums and grey hairs (me this time!) continued.
Last week however, all that changed and I went from being a stay-at-home-Mum, to the school run Mum!
Through no deliberate planning, my two little monkeys have hit the ages at exactly the same time whereby my eldest is now off to big boy school, and my youngest is starting pre-school. All within a week of each other. I’ve gone from not a minutes peace and always having at least one of them with me… to nothing.
And I have to say, I was not prepared for the emotions that starting big boy school would bring! Bursting with love and pride, we excitedly set off that first morning, with little man dressed smartly in his uniform… Ready to wave him off happily and feel sorry for those Mums who were blubbing, or having their little ones coaxed away as they tried to be brave, it was in fact me who was fighting back the tears. While my little super star trotted happily into the classroom without a backwards glance, I was left feeling not as elated and as ‘free’ as I thought… I just felt a bit sad.
Sad that my baby is no longer that. Sad that his teacher will get to spend all day with him and laugh at his funny stories and voices. Sad that someone else now gets to teach him new things and give him new experiences. Sad that someone else will witness him blossoming with knowledge. Sad that someone else will see him make new friends and know those children better than I.
Because that’s my job she’s taken over.
Even though he is so excited and super ready for school, I find myself not being able to keep pace with him quite yet. I’m not ready and I find myself wondering if anyone sending their first child off to school ever is…? For all the bravado and smiles at the gates and in the playground with all the other school run Mums, how many other parents are heading home with a lump in their throat, watery eyes and the need to give themselves a mental slap round the chops to snap them out of it…? More than would care to admit it I suspect (me included!!)
And with our youngest one now also in pre-school in the mornings, even he doesn’t feel like such a baby anymore. Before I know it, he too will be strolling through the school gates with the same air of confidence and excitement as his big brother… and then I really might lose it!
I’m aware that this probably sounds horribly selfish. Of course I know they need to grow up, and I would much rather they do so confident and excited about what’s coming next. But still, isn’t it natural for the heart to be scared for your children – for I believe that a parent is forever changed as soon as they become ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’ and no amount of rationalisation can change that.
I never thought of myself as “not working” – name me another job that doesn’t pay (except in cuddles, kisses and usually some spat out biscuit!), where you’re on call 24 hours a day/7 days a week, where there are no sick days, no holiday days, no end of year bonus, no christmas party… You can’t, so you also can’t tell me I wasn’t working.
Everyone has been saying to me, “What will you do now with all your free time?”… “Are you going to go back to work?”… Trouble is, I’m not finished with this job yet.