Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

All change

September is going to be a difficult month for me. There are a couple of very major changes due to occur in my life and I don’t cope with that sort of change very well. In fact I’m feeling overwhelmed and panicky just thinking about it.

First of all DD, my eldest child, will start school. She only turned 4 a few weeks ago and will be among the youngest in her class. I know she’s ready for school; she’s a confident and sociable child and her reading and maths abilities are way ahead of most children her age. It’s a great school, her teacher seems lovely and she enjoyed her visits there last term. She’s a bit unsure and nervous of course but I know she’ll enjoy it once she’s settled in.

I’m dreading it though. I feel, somewhat melodramatically, that school is taking her away from me and our lives will never be the same. Even in the holidays there will always be the spectre of school looming ahead, ready to reclaim her. I love our time together, being able to have days out and pyjama days and do whatever we like. I’m going to miss her dreadfully and we will never have this sort of time together again. I briefly wondered about the possibilities of home educating but I know that DD will benefit more from attending school. Also, if I’m completely honest with myself, my mental health isn’t good enough to be solely responsible for her education.

The second big change in our lives is because DH, after 13 months of unemployment, has finally been offered a job! He’s very pleased of course, and so he should be, he’s worked hard for this. Unfortunately he starts a couple of days before DD starts school so he won’t be able to see her off or collect her on her first day. And after he’s completed his training he’ll be working shifts so life is going to be all over the place for a while until we’re used to the new routine.

So in just a couple of weeks time our lives are going to be turned upside down. In a good way, mostly, but I’m worried about how I’m going to cope. I’m already planning to force myself out to some toddler groups with DS, because it would be all too easy to remain housebound apart from the school run. And maybe I’ll finally get on top of the housework, although I doubt it!

But the idea of looking after everything on my own terrifies me. I feel like such a wimp; lone parents have it far harder than this, parents with more than 2 children have far more to cope with. But this is me and I’m afraid that I will fail. Even simple things like bedtimes will he hard – DS still nurses to sleep but how can I do that when DH is working late shifts and I have to settle both children? I can’t just abandon DD for half an hour or more while I nurse her brother, it wouldn’t be fair. But DS won’t settle any other way, he’s not ready yet.

My mind is whirling. I know that these changes are positive and that in time I will become used to our new life and wonder why on earth I ever worried. But right now I want to just lock the door and keep my little family in our familiar bubble, our familiar life. And I know I can’t.

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Comments on: "All change" (10)

  1. Oh Sam those transitions are so hard. I had similar fears last year when my son started school – it is upsetting, and also exciting, to see them grow and become the people you hope they will be – and here we are in the holidays, all back together again, it doesn’t feel like school has taken him away from me after all. At Christmas I put both my kids in a bedroom together so that I could cuddle my now 2.5 year old daughter to sleep while my son dozes off in the top bunk – we all read bedtime stories together and it doesn’t feel like I am abandoning either (though it was a challenge to get them to actually go to sleep in the same room at first!)

  2. I have about 18 months left with my little girl before she starts school, and I’m dreading it already.
    I remember doing it all years ago with my other two, and seeing them off in to the care of others is hard at first.
    Glad your hubby got a job too. Congratulations to him.

  3. Do you remember when BeanPole started school? She was so ready, but it meant that we were restricted by school holidays and arrival and collection times and I dreaded her becoming too grown up (she did, and I had to adjust weekly as she insists on getting bigger). You told me how ready she was and to chill out. Then you had the same conversation with me when TinyPants started the year after.

    It turns out that she loves being there and now our holiday time together is really special to us. The school routine is actually quite reassuring for routine type people as you have 6 weeks on, then a break with family – there’s a light at the end of the tunnel every half term.

    • Goodness, that seems a lifetime ago! I know you’re right and I think the anticipation of these huge changes is probably worse than the changes themselves.

  4. Ruby Doom is right – you’ll still have plenty of time together in the holidays, afternoons, weekends and evenings – and think of how enriched it will be, because every day she’ll be able to tell you about what she’s learned in school and her horizons will be expanding all the time. School will help her blossom in so many ways – your wonderful daughter will become even more wonderful.

  5. It seems like such a long time ago that my ten year old was having his first day at school. over time it has made things so much more fun and stronger. The holidays are filled with great times and they can also happen after school and at weekends too…I hope you can talk to other parents at your school and see that you are not alone 🙂

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