Is your 4 year old is about to start school? Then you may be going through some of the thoughts and emotions in this post. I wrote this in the hope that other Mama’s can read it and know they aren’t alone in feeling this way. Best of luck to you and your child as you begin the next chapter of your lives.
Summer 2019 was desperate. A last ditch attempt to cram in as much fun and memories as possible. “My child is starting full time school in September” my brain cried on repeat. This post may seem a little disorderly. It’s combines of all of my thoughts leading up to and since George started reception, or “big boys school” as we refer to it. My thoughts and fears for him and me.
I needed to put my thoughts out there because I am so sure there must be others feeling the same as me. But I can’t find them. I feel overdramatic. Ridiculous, bordering on irrational. I’m also going to split this post into two halves. the first is my anxieties over George starting school, how he’ll cope, the change to our lives etc. The second part is a crisis of confidence over what’s next for me. This is the part I’m struggling to find anyone to relate to.
Part 1 – Starting School
So here we are, the dreaded September. I’ve not been a fan of September since 2017 when George moved from privately owned nursery to a government run preschool. You can read all about how that went in my post back then, ( Mummy’s first day at preschool. )
Having had such a rough September back in 2017, I feel like we are seasoned pros for what September 2019 has in store for us. I’m stronger than I was then and George is older and a little more mature to be able to process what’s happening.
My first issue with this impending inevitability is the whole losing my baby to the system idea. Or as I spent most of summer referring to it as “the government is stealing my child”.
I don’t actually have a problem with George starting full time school (reception), well at least I don’t think I do. I’m massively grateful to the teachers and all the staff at the schools. The effort they put in to make the transition as painless as possible.
It’s the realisation that it’s the beginning of forever!!! (Here comes the dramatism!) From January 2020, (which is the term after he turns 5), the government states it is compulsory that George is in full time education until he is 18 years of age!
Gone are the days where we can just invite family over to spend quality time with us. No more meeting friends for days out. Monday to Friday 9am-3pm there or thereabouts, George must be in school or I must risk being fined if my explanation is not satisfactory as to why he wasn’t. There are not many exceptions although it has to be a certain amount of consecutive sessions missed (10 half days) to warrant a fine being issued.
Calm down! I can hear you thinking. If it bothers you that much, why don’t you homeschool? Well I’ll tell you why. I know someone that home schools and have talked to her, I follow some homeschoolers on social media, and I’ve drawn this conclusion. Homeschooling is fab and it’s not much different to what me and George have been doing the past 5 years anyway. However, I honestly don’t believe he’s the sort of child that needs to be homeschooled for life. Which means at some point he would need to enter the schooling system. Herein lies the problem.
George has come out of himself so much over the summer. He is a shy child. My fear is that by delaying his school start, it would be detrimental to his social skills. That’s not to say I feel this way about other people who homeschool. George is a different child around me. Whilst he’s confident just me, him and his Dad, in the presence of other people, he can be so shy it’s almost rude. He completely blanks people. He will also point blank refuse to do certain things.
For example, at the end of term at his preschool in July, I was required to take him in for a graduation photo. He nigh on had an anxiety attack over it and needless to say we didn’t get the wonderful graduation shot that the other parents swooned over.
However, had he been in session that day and simply gone with the staff for his photo to be taken, I am 100% certain he would have had it taken without protest. How do I know this? Because on only day 2 at his new school in reception year, he’s had his school photo taken. Yes I am rolling my eyes too. In situations like that, my presence holds him back and brings out his worse side. I’m still yet to understand why.
I will never say never to homeschooling but for now my instincts said government schooling was the right choice for him. I visited all the local schools and surprised myself by deciding upon a different school to the one he had attended for preschool. Whilst I didn’t want to take either of us away from the friends we had made, my instincts were screaming at me that I MUST get him into this one school that we visited. I was so sure he would be happy there.
It’s currently day 5 and so far so good. He’s dubious and displaying some of the resistance techniques that he tried on me back in 2017 when he started preschool, but he’s happy to walk in the door there every morning and comes out bouncing. He’s grasping the systems they have there quickly and really seems to have bonded with his teacher.
Part 2 – What now for a stay at home mum?
So you may have read my previous posts Full Time Mummy vs Stay at Home Mummy and Working from home – How I miss the comfort of a team and know that I consider myself a part time stay at home/work at home Mummy. Fitting in bookkeeping work for hubs accountancy company and obviously blogging.
I gave up a really successful career within the NHS just after George turned one. It really wasn’t working. The hours were not what I wanted to return to work on and because of my health problems I couldn’t do what they wanted me to do. I begged to be demoted to a simpler role but they said I could only give up my current role and hope a new role came up. So I did. But I walked away.
I was a registered professional and had trained to get to where I was but I walked away from it gladly. I felt it had taken me as far as it could and whilst I enjoy it, it stressed me out and I didn’t feel I had adequate concentration levels once I became a Mum to do the work.
So for the past 3 and half years I’ve plodded along with the bookkeeping and blogging and I thought it gave me purpose. It’s only now I realise that it wasn’t. It was filling time and giving us some great opportunities (where the blog is concerned) but George was my purpose. My reason to get dressed and keep going.
Last week my friend messaged me to ask how things were. If you follow me on
“I’m struggling a bit. I’m gonna put my thoughts into a blog post but I feel lost. Like I’m not even a Mum anymore maybe. The days have lost their purpose now I don’t have him to make happy. I know I still do, but you get what I mean. Not needing to plan our days and meals etc as much. Obviously I thought I’d have another baby to occupy me by now. I’m trying to focus on some ideas and plans. Any jobs I look at just seem impossible around my health probs. I just feel a bit lost. I’ll get there. It’s early days eh.”
Grim eh. I’m just massively lacking a sense of purpose. Originally, I was going to be able to take a more active role in hubs company. However, because of who he is contracted to at present, there have been delays. Presently we aren’t sure when that plan can come to fruition.
If you’ve read my post The Ambition Of An Exhausting Life , you’ll know I’ve got creative aspirations but they all take time, money and ideas.
So whilst I’m not completely lost, I feel like I’m entering a new phase. It’s a phase that I haven’t quite prepared for mentally. In all honesty I wholeheartedly believed we would have another baby by now. Or at least be cooking a baby, and so that would be my distraction and purpose once George started school. Alas that’s still a work in progress. I’ve written more about that here.
All the mums I know have either returned to work or had another baby. Otherwise they know exactly what they want to do and have signed up to courses to make it happen. I’m literally the only person I know with empty days and no long term purpose. I’ve hope in my creative ideas. A friend also recommended volunteering if I can afford to, as she did between children. The dream is for my plans to take off. I’d love to be able to one day return to this post in the future. Hopefully with the ability to reassure other mums (in my current situation) that it’s all going to be ok.
I know this post sounds very privileged and I recognised that I am. To have the chance to really take the time to find what is it I want to do for a living. As opposed to working a job I only half love in order to pay the bills. I’m so grateful for that. Wish me luck and please get in touch in the comments below if you can relate.