Your kids might be fine, but are YOU ready to send them to school?
Many parents will currently be in the throes of preparing their pre-school children for their first day of school. For first time parents, it’s as colossal a step for them as it is for their child. But are these first time parents really prepared for what their child’s school journey will mean for them?
Many things surprised me during my son’s transition to school life.
I was surprised by the roiling sea of emotions I experienced watching his tiny body struggle under the weight of his gargantuan school bag.
I was surprised by how the feel of his warm, pliable hand slipping from mine at the school gates made me feel proud of his independence, but also desperate to tackle him to the ground, bundle him up and sprint straight back to the safety of home. Because it didn’t seem so long ago that the hand that had just slipped from mine was clasping reflexively around my fingers and stroking at my breast as he fed.
I was also surprised when he kissed me goodbye that I had the strength to contain my emotions, even though my throat was tighter than a drum. But – emotion aside – something else about my firstborn starting school surprised me; and it really had nothing to do with him.
I had heard all the cautionary tales of the perils of interaction with ‘the school mums’: a veritable social minefield. Apparently there would be ‘mean mum’, ‘sporty spice’, ‘helicopter mum’ and ‘glamour puss mum’. Apparently just like high school, but with mortgages.
None of these warnings took root with me. I felt that the start to my son’s school life was just that. A new start to his life. Sure, it would mean that he would not be with me (gulp) but I wasn’t in need of new friends. I have very close girlfriends. We’ve ridden the waves of life together. I was already blessed. I wanted for nothing.
But…throughout those first few weeks of school, feeling slightly bereft and untethered without my son, something strange and lovely started to happen. I looked around the classroom door and saw that I was not alone.