September is a time for change for many children. Every September signifies a new beginning, a moving forwards in life. For us parents it’s a time when our children take another step towards their future and away from their baby years. A time when we become less needed perhaps, or at least not so central in our children’s world. Unlike New Years’ Eve, there is no big count down or celebration, but the new change goes by as part of life and we all have to roll with it.
My daughter is starting pre-school and I was a women possessed deciding which one to send her to. I visited 8 different pre-schools before I chose one. I want to know that when she leaves me for her first taste of life on her own, she is in good hands and an environment to suit her. Ideally what I would like to do is rig cameras, hang out by the window outside and ensure all the other children are nice to her at all times. Unfortunately for me this is not possible, which is very fortunate for my daughter who I’m sure wouldn’t thank me when she is older.
Our children face big changes when embarking on new schools, new school years and moving through the education system. But for us too it changes. We also have to make new friends, learn new playground etiquette, keep up with the latest thing in that school year. Friends with older children tell me about the mum politics and I am well prepared for the fact that as well as my children having to evolve and grow, I too will have to learn to go with the changes.
Starting pre-school is a big change for us and just the start of this journey. I feel sad that I won’t know everything she did that day. I won’t be able to fill my husband in on the gaps when she recounts her day. I won’t be able to help her finish off that new song she learnt today as I may not have been the one that taught her. She on the other hand is bubbling over with excitement. She is ready to make this next step. I’m trying my best not to be ‘that mum’. You know the one, that makes Teachers’ say, “oh no, not her again. Why is she in the office this time? What does she want us to do/change/say, now?”
I wish I could be by their side and hold their hand through every stage in their lives, but the reality is that this is our job as parents; to prepare our children for their future. A life without us being their centre. To give them wings and let them build their life independently of us (even if we do feel like watching through the window as they do this).
( I originally wrote this piece for my monthly column in ETC magazine Horsham and Mid Sussex Edition, published September 2016)
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