"My first day of freedom."

I’ve waited seven years for this day.

Yesterday was my son’s first day of school.

That meant it was my first day of freedom.

So what did I get up to? All kinds of wild, crazy and self-indulgent things? Well, of course. Here’s how it went down.

7.17am Wake feeling squished. Seven-year-old daughter has come into the bed during the night because she had a bad dream. Four-year-old son has come into the bed during the night because he likes to snuggle. Wonder if he is too young to go to school because he still likes snuggling with his mum in bed.

7.43am Panic about son’s first-ever school lunch. What if he pulls the lid off his plastic container and the strawberries go flying everywhere? Decide to put them in a plastic bag. What if he tries to drink the contents of the ice brick and it turns out to be some toxic substance? Decide to calm the hell down.

8.19am Cannot believe how adorable my son is in his school uniform. Awww…

8.20am Cannot believe how infuriating my son is. Why won’t he put his socks on? Wonder if he is too young to go to school because he never does as he is told.

8.55am Stand and watch as 100 kindy kids sit quietly on the ground and wait to be allocated to classes. Am stunned to see my son sitting quietly with them. I have never seen him sit quietly before without a screen in front of him.

Mischief-maker at home, good kid at school. Fingers crossed.

9.27am Leave my son. Tears are welling in my eyes. Take one last look at him in his big new uniform and new shoes, on this momentous day, as he begins his formal education. He is yawning.

9.33am Check my phone. Expecting school to ring and tell me that my son is completely unteachable or that he has run away and can't be found. Nothing yet.

10.07am Sit at the computer to do some work. Feels very strange not to be interrupted by a small child every two minutes. Interrupt myself every two minutes by checking Facebook to see what my friends think of my photo of my son's first day at school.


10.19am Watch episode of TV show with adult themes (in other words, no animation).

11.03am Decide to indulge myself by taking a shower. Yes, a long hot shower without anyone poking their head around the curtain to tell me that they're staaaaarving or freeeeezing or boooooored. Bliss.

12.10pm Feel hungry. Realise I could have ice cream and beer for lunch. Realise I don't really feel like ice cream and beer for lunch. Have coffee and a chocolate biscuit. Enjoy not having to hide the chocolate biscuit to stop my son demanding one too.

Lunch. Because I'm not setting a good example for anyone.

12.49pm Sit on front verandah and read the newspaper without worrying that one of my children is tunnelling under the side fence into the neighbour's yard. Discover that reading a newspaper without children around only takes three minutes. 

2.26pm Miss my kids. Wonder what I am going to do with all my time. Try to decide between starting to write a novel, sorting through the stack of papers sitting on the kitchen counter and making an appointment with the optometrist to see if I really am going blind in one eye. Do none of these things.

2.36pm Suddenly realise I have to leave right now if I am going to pick my kids up on time. Wonder where the day has gone.

2.55pm Swell with pride as I see my son walking out of the classroom in a line with all the other kids. His teacher tells me he was fine. He tells me his day was "great". He sounds different - he is speaking more clearly and precisely. It's like school has already changed him, in just one day, and I get a scary glimpse of how much school will change him over the next 13 years. But there's always a price to pay for freedom.

What was your first day at home without kids like?

Want more? Try:

"A nutritionist looked inside my kids' school lunchboxes..."

You'll never believe how much it will cost to put your child through school.

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