It was back to school for us today. Year 4 for Miss E; Year 2 for Little Man; reception class for Littlest.
All three children in full-time school and a whole lot of tears for mummy.
If you’ve been reading Cardiff Mummy Says for a while, you will know what an overly emotional person I am. I cry at any and all milestones and occasions. I probably cry too much; but that’s just me.
I am excited for my children to take their next step and to find their own way in the world. I am so flipping proud of the amazing little people they are. I’m so grateful they get to take these next steps when not all children do.
But I still find moving on to every new stage emotional. Why does it go so fast? Weren’t you born like five minutes ago? Can’t they stay little forever?
I cried when my first child started school. I cried when my second child started school. And I cried my eyes out this morning when I left my littlest at the door on his very first day of full-time education. I just about held it together in the yard but as soon as he had skipped in through the door, the tears flowed.
It’s different today than with the other two. When I dropped them off for their first day at school I still had other children to keep me company.
But today? Today, when I walked back out the gates, I was suddenly child free. No energetic four year old to keep me company. No soft play or the park. No gymnastics or toddler groups. No playdates. Just me, on my own, stood on the street wondering what on earth I do now. For the first time in 8 ¾ years I will have no children with me Monday to Friday during term time.
And it’s so odd.
I know I’ll fill the time easily. When I became a mum I started to structure my self-employed work around my kids. It’s meant a lot of late nights and early mornings, getting my work done while they were asleep. And while I don’t regret it for a second more time to work in the day is such an exciting prospect. I’ll finally be able to get on top of the housework, which Cardiff Daddy and I have found a struggle over the last few years. I am desperate for a huge declutter because our house is bursting full of stuff we don’t need. I’ll be able to do the grocery shopping and run errands child-free for the first time in years.
And then there’s me, who rarely gets down-time. Perhaps some days I’ll treat myself and watch TV in the middle of the day, just because I can.
Like I said though, right now it all feels a little odd and unfamiliar. We have a lovely coffee shop near my children’s school which is always bursting full of mums after morning drop off. Today was no different. No one was surprised by my tears; they know what an emotional light-weight I am and I’m so grateful to them all for saying all the right things. My youngest loved our visits to the coffee shop. He told me I wasn’t allowed to go without him. It felt strange being one of the child-free mums.
We stayed for an hour or so. Catching up after the summer was a good distraction from returning to a house that has never felt quieter or emptier. I have loads of deadlines to meet but my mind hasn’t quite been on the job today. I guess that’s one of the downsides of self-employed working at home; no one to be accountable to.
I know he will have had a wonderful first day. He was so excited to see all his friends from pre-school in the playground this morning. The school he and his siblings go to is brilliant. It has a lovely village feel despite its busy city location. He’s already formed strong friendships with hopefully more to come. I’m so excited for all the wonderful things he will experience and all the amazing things he will learn. I know I’ll be bursting with pride at class assemblies and sports day and when I see him learning to read and write.
But right now I’m finding it hard. I’ve felt quite lost all day. I know it’s only six hours a day but I loved the pre-school years so much and I’m really going to miss them. It’s going to take some getting used to, being just me again after almost nine years.
Not just a new chapter for my children as they take on the next steps in their school lives. But a new chapter for me too.