*WARNING- ⚠️- An honest account of a mothers experience of starting primary school. This is no criticism on the education system or on the school my son attends. My son does like school and enjoys the education and friendships. This post reflects my struggle as a mother to do the right thing when I am still learning what ‘the right thing’ means to us.
The First Day Of School
” I hate school, I am not going, EVER!!!” is what is being shouted at me this morning. Its September 4th 2018 and today is the first day back to school. Tommy, my son, is due to start year 1. I thought it would be easier this time, after all its been a whole year since his first ever school day. Yet here we are back to the same shouting faces, demanding attitudes and anxious (almost sick) look that I can see in his eyes.
I feel an almighty surge of MUM GUILT, a sickening feeling that sweeps through me and knots my tummy. What do you do when your child is so upset they make themselves turn green with worry? You want to take it away right? Its your super-mum power to take upset and pain away. Like those ‘special mummy kisses’ we invented to stop the tears when they bump themselves. However, this is the first time in my motherhood journey when I can’t physically take this worry away, its school, education is important.
Is It My Fault That My Reality Isn’t Social Media Image Perfect?
As I scroll through social media I see those first day back photos, smiling faces and happy moments. A whole host of children with peg boards or chalk boards proudly stood in their shiny uniform. In that snap-shot my mind tricks me into believing a concocted fairy tale, of a stress-free school run. Even if this isn’t true, the smiles I see reflect differently in the judgment I make on my reality. I must be doing something wrong for him to be so upset. How could I send him to school when it physically affects him so. Again the MUM GUILT is compressing. Words from others like ” they can’t wait”, ” their so excited”, ” they just walked in” hit my ears hard!!! Don’t get me wrong, its brilliant some children are so settled, but mine isn’t, is that wrong? Am I doing something wrong?
When something goes wrong, its human nature to question yourself. As a mother you accept and let in the guilt. Its part of this parenting lark. You worry about them, teach them and guide them, trying to make decisions for them and their lives as best you can. Its a grand game of trial and error that you cross your fingers goes right. The decisions we make are the ones we feel are the best. But what happens when we doubt our decisions and question EVERYTHING, even yourself as mother, who can’t help but be influenced by others.
Its Ok To Cry
This is when I started thinking about writing this post. I wanted others to know sometimes there are tears, stress and worry on both ends. I cry, he cries and the MUM GUILT and pressure mothers put on themselves is suffocating. But its ok. Starting school, or returning to school is scary. No one likes change especially when our children are so small they have no concept of time. To them the summer holidays probably felt like a year of fun. Going back to the “school is hard” mindset is tough to accept and deal with. As well as this, accepting change depends on a childs personality and character, how they process their emotions and communicate their feelings. Meaning, that its unfair that we judge not only our mothering, but our children, such as my Tommy, on the reaction of others.
Therefore, sharing that sometimes, especially when a big change is happening, such as school. Its important to know that your reality isn’t a reflection on something you did wrong. It doesn’t mean you are doing it badly. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for starting school. In fact it means the exact opposite, showing they love home and you so much they will miss you. My tip is to have a strong cup of tea, embrace the tears and try something new tomorrow.
Education Makes Them Fly And Our ‘Magic Kisses’ Make Them Fly High
Finally, while I was stood in my stressed out kitchen, attempting to get Tommy to calm down and get in the car, while feeling sick with memories of my own childhood school experiences. I asked myself a very important question.’If I could go back in time and not go to school, would I?’ – (The answer came quicker than I expected) No, I am glad I had the privilege of an education that got me to where I am today. I can write this post, read my books and sometimes remember how to work out the percentages in shops (sometimes). It was like a bolt of lightening that reassured me. One day he will be glad of his education, understand the need and be able to deal with his emotions better. But in the meantime, I just have to be there…. with my magic kisses and all.
*Disclaimer- If there was a legitimate reason to remove him from school I would in a heart beat. Its important to note here that everyone handles things different and thus sees education differently. This is just my feelings, which reflect how I feel as a new-ish parent to school life. Providing him with a home school education has always sat in the back of my mind. Yet in this case he likes school. Has good friends and talks positively about the education he experiences. Yes, there are many routes and options other than the main steam school system, and if it was needed we would consider them. As I said I know he is happy. I just wanted other mums to know its ok for it all to go tits up and be stressful on the school run, it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. They will just miss you but you will be with them soon. (Trust me those 6 hours go faster than anything).