It’s never easy seeing your baby taking their first official steps towards growing up.
Going to preschool or nursery is just about bearable – you miss them when they’re there, but you know they’ll be enjoying all the things you still do together, likely in a free-play environment, such as making dinner out of play-dough, or getting mucky with paint. There are still the nursery-rhymes that you sing together, and you probably still take your little man to one or two toddler groups when he’s not at preschool or nursery.
But, starting school is different. It’s not a toddler or nursery environment anymore. This is real life – and your baby isn’t a baby anymore, she is growing up.
You might feel excited; perhaps she’s ready for this, and likely driving you crazy because she needs so much more simulation than you can provide. Even the most organised, OCD-driven mums in us have to admit our children need to stretch themselves in their own way.
So off they go, and you have mixed emotions. You’re looking forward to having some much-needed Me-Time, but when you say goodbye, you choke back those tears and return home with your hand empty, like you took off your glove and left it behind.
The reality is; you’ve come home to an empty, quiet house. The usual chaotic energy that bounds around your home is gone. There’s nothing but silence and a ticking clock, and you have no idea what to do with yourself.
You can’t even face washing up the breakfast dishes, so instead you find yourself wandering from room to room, not knowing where to start.
You can avoid that empty feeling, by making a few plans, and here are some ideas to help get you through it.
- Don’t go back to an empty house. Before you take your little one to school, be prepared to go out yourself. Get YOU and your child ready for the day; put on your make-up, best clothes, have a quick tidy up and wash up the breakfast things.
- Book yourself a spa day/hair cut/nail appointment. Make your son’s first session at school an opportunity to focus on YOU.
- Take yourself out for a walk. Or go for a swim. Or to the gym. The endorphins you’ll release from some fresh air and/or a good workout will do wonders for your outlook and will shift your focus. You’ll start to enjoy doing something for yourself, by yourself. Make the most of it!
- Try to stay off social media, or limit it to a few minutes while you enjoy a coffee-time-out. Sitting on your smartphone all morning is a huge time-suck, and you’ll feel like you’ve wasted what precious time you had for yourself.
- Arrange to meet a friend for coffee. There will be other parents in the same situation as you; also feeling a little lost and empty. Hook up together and share your woes. The social interaction will make you both feel so much better, and you’ll wonder what you were worried about.
- If you’re happy with your own company, visit your local library. Take this time to curl up with a good book in the peace and tranquility of a book haven. How long has it been since you’ve read a good novel in peace?
- If reading isn’t your thing, the library is still a great place to visit for you to find a new project to work on. How about finding a book on a craft, or gardening? What is it that you’ve wanted to focus on but haven’t had the time before now?
- Go SHOPPING. Clothes shopping, house shopping (NOT food shopping – this day is about you), or maybe a mooch around IKEA followed by a free cuppa with your family card (and a cheeky slice of cake)? It’s good therapy. And we know it.
- If you’re thinking about going back to work, use this time to think about what it is you want to do. Jot down some ideas. Don’t make any fast choices though – just toy with your options right now. There’s plenty of time later to decide on your best option for YOU, and work out the steps you’ll need to take to get there.
- Write out a plan for the rest of the week. That way, you’ll be keeping yourself busy, and laying the foundation for the next few weeks.
Of course, you may be happy to return home and catch up on all the things you can’t do whilst your little one is at home, and that’s fine; but remember, sometimes you need to release the YOU in Mum. X