When we have children, we gradually work out what kind of parent we are. We read books and magazines, read blogs, listen to experts, chat to friends, and it all helps us form an idea of the kind of mum we are.
- Cloth nappies or Pampers lover? (Eek sorry environment! We had disposable nappies)
- Pureeing purist or Ella’s Kitchen fan? (I was both, but definitely veered towards my pal Ella, as time went on)
- Co-sleeper or the mum who says ‘back to your own bed!’ (I’m firmly in the latter camp)
- CBeebies celebrator or telly ban enforcer? (Praise be to the telly box, I say)
Tiger mums! Attachment parenting! Stay at home mums! Helicopter parenting! *head spins and falls off*
Of course, there is no right or wrong, with all of these choices. They’re just decisions we make every day – we weigh up all the options and our circumstances and make a judgement based on what feels right. And even though I’ve been doing this ‘mum thing’ for nearly four years now, I’m finding that I’m still learning and discovering what kind of mum I am. This week, I learned that…
Apparently I’m the kind of mum who is upset about my daughter starting primary school
Nothing unusual about that, you might say. Until I tell you that my daughter isn’t starting primary school for a WHOLE YEAR. Yet, here I am, feeling incredibly sad at the thought. This week, I’ve been busy working at my laptop and a five minute check of Facebook (like you don’t do that too…) has left me welling up – all those little four-year-olds wearing a uniform, shoes polished and hair brushed neatly. Down our street, I see local children heading off to their first day, hand in hand with their mummy or daddy. They’re just so young. And that will be my daughter this time next year.
But I’m not the kind of mum who doesn’t want her child to grow up. If anything, I’m the opposite. When my daughter was a baby, I willed time to move faster so that I could have a fun toddler to spend time with rather than a ‘I’m giving nothing back to you’ baby (and if I’m being honest with you, so that I could escape my miserable PND-tinged maternity leave existence and get back to work). When other mums said things like “My baby’s growing up too fast!” I would smile and nod sympathetically and say, “Yes, mine too!” but inside I was punching the air and thinking “Isn’t it GREAT?”
And actually, I kind of stand by that feeling – every day, week and month, my three-year-old is learning and developing and it is amazing to see that happen. I love having chats with her and being surprised at what she knows (the other day we were talking about strangers and out of the blue, she said, “You can talk to strangers when you’re with your mummy and daddy but you can’t speak to strangers if you’re not with your mummy and daddy” and I could have KISSED her with sheer delight).
But apparently, I’m the kind of mum who is upset about her daughter starting school – a whole year in advance. Who even knew that was a thing?
Oh my goodness I am with you!!! In fact I actually had a cry about my little man having to start school next September, way back LAST September because of all the Facebook first day photos.
I love babies, but give me a toddler any day; toddler years are really the reward for all the hard work that first year if you ask me. And handing over that fascinating little one of mine just feels so hard. Plus it’s the whole knowing-it’s-forever thing I think, Reception is just the start…. then it’s secondary school, college, uni. It’s the first big step in growing up…… oh god, some one pass me a tissue!!!! x
Oh phew! At least I’m not alone, Lucy. I think you’re right – it’s the fact that it’s a change to something that lasts for 14 years…
I can totally relate to this! With E being my youngest I still see her as my baby and the thought of her starting school next year terrifies me *sob*
Maybe it makes a difference if you’re child will be young for their year at school or ‘old’ because my son started school yesterday but he turns five on Sunday and it just feels right at this point in his life – he had two years of pre-school and is streets ahead of the three year olds coming in there. I am exactly the same as you with the parenting though and nodded along to all of that and I suffered with PND and a colicky baby too and I think that does have an impact on your ongoing attitude to motherhood in some small way? X
Yes! I’m so glad to hear I am not the only mum longing for the end of the baby days! Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has told me not to “wish time away” and reminded me that I’ll “never get this time back”.. I’m painfully aware of that, yet I feel no shame in looking toward the toddling days, and longing for conversations with my child..
I have to say that I am the mother who is sitting with you in a wine bar having a drink to celebrate our kids growing up: I really found the baby thing tough, the toddler thing tough, the three-year-old thing tough. And yet when my four year old trotted into school this week for the first time, my husband had to drive me home because I was so upset. Never saw that coming: rather assumed I wasn’t that kind of mum. On the plus side, in a year’s time, I can be the mum offering you wine and sympathy in the middle of the morning when you come back from your first school drop off.
Really, you may feel different in a year. Then she might not seem to little, she might be bursting to go, ready even.
Starting school is the end of one chapter and there is, understandably, a big focus on that. What no one tells you (like so much of motherhood – no one mentions that bit) the next bit is amazing. Listening to your child learning to read is wonderful. Don’t feel sad people, runny mascara at the school gate is such a bad look.
I totally feel your pain Alison, I have been dreading it for about two years! And I am feeling so emotional about it at the moment, in fact pretty much every blog I have scheduled at the moment mentions the run up to school somehow- even reviews haha! x
Oh, I totally relate to this! My eldest started full-time school last week and I am gutted. I had been dreading it is much as I knew how much I would miss her. She was fine, but I was an absolute mess in the playground after they had all gone in. I think I will be forever known as the mum who cried the most on the first day. I’m so proud of her but I but miss her. I cried when we went to buy her new school shoes. It blogged about it over on Cardiff Mummy Says if you want to feel less alone for being so emotional about it all! X
Hi all worried mummies, I’ve recently started a blog that may offer you some useful information to prepare you and your little one for reception!