Thursday, August 5, 2010

more reflections on the year all your kids go to school

As you may have noticed, I've been collecting women's reflections on the year all their kids go to school. I think I'm trying to smooth the transition when my youngest child, Andy, goes to school in a couple of years - forewarned is forearmed and all that! Here's what a friend wrote to me recently:

I'm still finding mothering and homemaking heavy going this year. I feel like I've got a knot in my head that I can't unpick. I wish I knew why things seem so trying this year when really there's no new burden or disaster to account for it. I think partly it's because I came at the year with unrealistic expectations. E. was starting school and I thought this somehow meant that caring for a family of five would get magically easier. It sounds ridiculous when I think back on it now. What did I think I wasn't going to be doing that I was doing before? I guess I've always thought mothering was hard before this point because I've been either pregnant, breastfeeding, waking up at night or had "three small children at home". I've been really cross with myself for finding things tiring and exasperating because now I've "got no excuse" not to be managing perfectly. Slowly, slowly I'm coming to the realization that mothering is actually (drum roll please) hard work! All on it's own. Without even needing the excuse of "small children".

If you're a mum and you're made this transition, what was it like? What did you expect? Did reality match your expectations? What's one piece of advice you would give a woman whose youngest child is starting school next year?

image is from amishsteve at flickr


Meredith said...

I have overblogged on this topic but I guess I can say, six months down the track now with last child at Kindy two days a week, expect a burst of energy at the beginning with the gift of child free time that makes doing certain things (going to the bank, dentist, doctor, hairdresser, bookshop, grocery shop, coffee shop) easier and then expect a second phase to hit soon after of feeling tired, disoriented and generally weird.

And having come through that second stage at last - and it took nearly two terms - the best way to get through it, like a grief, is to just let it happen. Give yourself the odd day off, try not to worry about what is happening or why it is happening or what will happen next, don't over fill the time, don't feel guilty about spending the day baking (or doing whatever makes you happy) and don't overanlayse ...just get through it and know that it will pass.

And after that - and for some this is short and for some it is long - it is all good.

Jean said...

Thanks, Meredith, very helpful as always.