Three years ago, my daughter started school. And surprisingly for me it felt like it was my first day at school as well. Not only did my daughter have to make new friends, and start a whole new chapter in her life, but so did I.
And it was something I never expected to experience. That first day at school feeling.
I was working four days a week at the time my daughter started school. It meant having to take a week off work, just to be able to be there for the late starts and early finishing times. The second week I went back to work and we had to use before and after school care. It was stressful even though my daughter had been in long day care since she was one.
My daughter had her own anxiety to deal with around separation, and new environments, plus it was twice as hard as at the time she was the only kindergarten in attendance. I remember the entire first term, and part of the second term, there would be tears every single morning. Even on the days when she wasn’t in care. It broke my heart that I was so far away that first year, working in the city and missing out on all the little things that go on during school. We barely even had a chance for playdates, except when attending a birthday party on the weekend.
I would really only see other mothers upon drop off and pick up from care. It became that in that first year I barely knew any body. Honestly it wasn’t until I left my full time job to work on my own business, that I actually felt I had the time to form relationships with the other parents.
There is this scary unknown that first year of school. You stand out in the playground waiting to collect your little one, not really knowing who to strike up a conversation with. Slowly over time you get to recognise the faces, though remembering all the names takes a big while longer!
Next year we are about to do it all again. Though the second time round you know a handful of parents because of the older siblings. Iu can definitely admit that it is not quite as scary this time around, though my son has already cried at not knowing where to go, or what to do during orientation. Yes, we are the family with the crying child – funnily enough it happened the exact same way with my daughter as well.
My little man is off to school next year, and I officially say goodbye to my baby. I know I’ll shed a tear or two, so forgive me if I don’t remove my sunglasses that first day of school. What am I going to do with all that ‘spare’ time…?
Anyone fancy lunch?