Given that it is the time of year when many children are starting nursery for the first time I wanted to write about how it feels for Mum (or Dad but I’m using Mum because I am one) watching their little bird spread their wings into a whole new world.
In the name of research I hit a few parenting blogs and the common theme seemed to be that there is more emotional upheaval for the parents than the child. I found this quite interesting as my experience has been very different.
I’ve been through the start of nursery with two children now and the start of “big school” with one of them. My first child started nursery at two years old and my second at eighteen months.
I’ve heard other parents lament about their children growing up too fast, feeling guilty about “leaving them” or even feeling upset that their children don’t need them quite as much anymore.
I didn’t feel any of this! I’ve never felt guilty for leaving them, I’ve never felt sad that their childhoods are passing and I’ve never felt like they don’t need me anymore.
I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. Am I heartless or selfish and if not why wasn’t I crying at the gates like a lot of the other Mums?
So I did some thinking about how I felt and decided that, on this occasion at least, I don’t think there is anything wrong with me. I think it is as simple as looking at things with a different perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I felt a certain wistfulness thinking of how much and how quickly my babies had grown up but I felt it with a smile and if I’m honest, a little relief. I relish the freedom the time they spend at nursery/school gives me even if I do spend that time working or grocery shopping or something equally unglamourous. But, most of all, I feel proud that my children are independent and strong and able to manage these new experiences so well. I see my job as a parent to raise these two human beings to be able to operate positively, successfully and independently in the world and starting nursery is a big step towards that. On that basis I think I’m moving in the right direction and it’s something to celebrate rather than mourn.
So, if you’re about to go through this process try and see the positives, enjoy the free (ish) time and remember that they will be home in three hours and it will be like they were never away.