Parenting is such a funny thing sometimes, a mixture of excitement as they achieve new things and sadness, when you just want to hold onto them a little longer and slow things down because you can’t believe how fast everything is going. That feeling has hit me again this week as Bodhi has his settling sessions for school and his pre-school is currently organising their leaver’s party for two weeks time. In September he will be starting reception and this will be the first time in nearly 11 years I haven’t had at least one child at home with me on a part-time basis.
I still remember dropping his older brother and sister off on their first days. It’s such a huge milestone in their little lives. It’s also quite an emotional day. None of my children has ever gone into full-time nursery before school, so it also marks a time when they are no longer primarily in my care.
The pre-school years with Bodhi have been strange ones, he was 1.5 years when we went into lockdown and it affected such a lot of his tiny life. Then for the past year, I have been injured and unable to do all the things I wanted to do with him in the summer before he started school. The day trips out, the play dates, that one-on-one quality time. And if I pause to think about it too much it makes me feel sad. Sad that he didn’t get the same experiences that his brother and sister did.
I think that once your children go to school their little worlds get so much bigger and while as their parent you are still a very important part of their lives, you are no longer their whole world. And that takes adjustment.
Selfishly, there is a part of me that is also ready for this transition. I have been at home with a child either full or part-time for nearly eleven years. It was a wonderful, but also at times, an exhausting experience. It is still one I would not change for the world. But, I am also thinking that now it’s time to move on with the next phase of my life. I feel like I am ready to do a few more things for me. Both for my health, but also for my career. With the goal being to really press forward with becoming, hopefully, a full-time author.
Will I miss it? Absolutely. Will I miss Bo bobbing about and entertaining me with his stories and little games, of course I will, and the cuddles and that little hand in mine during our trips out. But that I think is one of the hardest parts of parenting, realising that every year you have to let them go just a little bit more as they make their journey through to adulthood.
In September we are going to have to start looking at secondary schools for Logan and I am absolutely not ready for the transition yet at all. But every time we hit one of their milestones it reminds me we only have our children at home like this for such a short period of time in their natural lives. As parents of small children, we focus so much on the day-to-day necessities and sometimes just getting through. It’s so, so easy to forget that before long that next milestone comes along and the days become months and then become years.
So I’m writing for all those Mums knee-deep in sleepless exhausting nights, wrangling a tantruming toddler, or just trying to exist and get by. It’s ok to find it hard, because it really is, but soon that next milestone will come. Sometimes it makes you relived that things have got that little bit easier and that’s ok. Sometimes it will make you sad and you want to claw all of the time back or click a pause button to hold them just as they are for just a few more minutes. Sometimes you will feel both conflicting emotions all at the same time. There is no right or wrong way. But for me, as I watch my children grow, I remember I only get to hold them like this for a season. Even on the desperately hard days I want to hold onto it for as long as I can, because I know that when Bo starts school it will be the end of an era for me.