Realisations as my child starts school: the pros and cons

Starting reception – it’s a BIG DEAL. It’s the start of a new chapter in your child’s life, the beginning of his school life. It’s the point when you are not the main carer and protector of your child for the better part of the day – you now entrust him with teachers, the school and the ‘system’. Your baby is not a toddler or even a pre-schooler anymore – he is a big boy! This is the start of his independence.

There’s a lot to take in for them – and us. From being two-to-tango, just like that, we both learn to go our separate ways. Still together, but doing different things. With different people. There’s joy and pride mixed with sadness and loneliness. There are ups and downs and every new day brings new emotions and challenges.

A few thoughts I penned down a week after Little Man started “big boy school”…


Things I miss…

Things will never be exactly as they were before – and that feeling is bittersweet.

–  After years of being my constant shadow, you now spend the better part of the day at school, not at toddler groups and parks and playdates. There are no more lazy PJ days, or days when we just lounge together in front of the television. As much as I wanted some alone time then, I miss you loads darling!

– There will be many ‘firsts’, but I will not be there to see them firsthand. Instead, I will only hear about them from your teacher or read about them in your report card.

– Friends will play a much more significant role in your life now. I know I’ll always be your “mummy”, your security blanket, your punching bag for all the tantrums, but I also realise that in a few years, your friends will sometimes take supersedence over me.

– But before you make those life-long friends, will come the difficult stage of you taking your time to settle into this new environment and way of life. You feeling left-out at playtime. You feeling hurt because of harsh words said by another child in class. If you hurt, I hurt. If you are sad, I am even more upset. I know you will blossom and love it once you’re settled (as you always do), but those first few weeks are painful and emotional for you and me. But we’ll get through them together I promise.

– There is now a strict routine, and we all have to abide by it (for everyone’s sanity in the morning!!!). Gone are the (week)nights when we could watch a movie till past 10 pm together, or go for late family dinners. Bedtimes cannot be stretched anymore (not past 8 pm at least), and you cannot have lie-ins if you’ve had a late night. Because, well, school!

And not just you, my routine has changed too. I was always (still am) a night owl (have never been a morning person), but if I have to be up at the crack of dawn to get you dressed, breakfasted and out the door in time for school, then, well, I can’t afford to have too many late nights! Besides, I’m now exhausted come 10 pm!!!

But, there are some positives as well…

– As much as I miss you, I also cherish my alone-time. You’ve been to part-time nursery, then pre-school, but it was always part-time. You were with me for most of the last four years, and now that I have six child-free hours, there’s a lot more I can do. Like focus on my blog, cook meals from scratch rather than go for quick, short-cut dinners and have a long shower in peace (I love that one!!!).

– While I miss your baby days and feel you are growing up way to fast, I can see you blossoming into an independent boy now, who can do so much more by himself. Like how you dress yourself in the morning, carry your own tray during lunch-time and cut your own jacket potato with a fork and knife. How you are learning new rules and routines. Making new friendships.

– It’s amazing how you are taking in so many new things everyday – learning to read and write. Learning math. Learning about the world around you. It amazes me that you ask me questions that sometimes stump me, but I’m still glad you ask them.

All in all, it’s a BIG change for the both of us. Emotionally and practically. I know you’re still having your up-and-down moments, and there’s a lot to take in, but I know you’ll get there love. Just as I’m learning the ropes of being a school-going mum…


How to effectively manage those tearful drop-offs

Seven common school-run conversations

Back to School: Your ultimate to-do list


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  1. Becky Willoughby

    These milestones are tough! My son went to secondary school this month. Hard to let go…

    1. Nicole

      Yes, so tough. Learning experiences for them and us, isn’t it?

  2. bex allum

    I love watching my children learn and share their new knowledge.. but I agree it sucks how regimented everything needs to be. Routines need to be rigid otherwise I have tired grumpy girls.

    1. Nicole

      Agree. And a tired grumpy mummy too, which doesn’t make for a fun day!!!

  3. Josie - Me, Them and the Others

    I found the early years of parenting sooo hard but am loving the primary school years, I can honestly say there is very title I miss! #itsok

    1. Nicole

      That is something to look forward to then:) Yes it definitely gets easier in so many ways, but I suppose there are different challenges to face going forward.

  4. Gemma - Mummy's Waisted

    I’ve finally reached the stage where my daughter is starting school next year, and now I’m thinking I’m really going to miss her! I’m looking forward to seeing her grow and develop at school but I’m definitely going to miss the unlimited cuddles #itsok

    1. Nicole

      We’re such suckers aren’t we… crave for some alone time and then when we finally get it, we want our babies back!!! But what you’re feeling is absolutely normal – you will miss her terribly at first but will also love the free time you have on your hands.

  5. Helen Copson

    Aw, I’m exactly a week into this and feeling emotional! But most of all, I’m super proud of how my four year old is getting on. He’s loving it, and I’m so pleased and excited for him. Plus I still have another two at home winding me up 🙂 #itsok

    1. Nicole

      Yes, it’s an amazing feeling when you know they are happy and settled. And enjoying school. Now that all the ‘settling ins’ for nursery/ pre-school/ reception are done, it’s a joy seeing him progress and happy. Glad Thomas is loving school!

  6. Sophie Holmes

    It is a period of change that takes a while to get used to. The best thing is when you go to parents evening and the teacher tells you that your child is amazing. My heart soars! Look forward to those moments. #ItsOK

    1. Nicole

      Agree. It’s then that you know it’s all worth it.

  7. Twicemicrowaved tea

    If I’d read this last week I guarantee I would have cried! My little girl started reception last Wednesday and I’ve just about pulled myself together now, over a week later! I think starting school is as big an adjustment for the parents as it is for the children. #itsok

    1. Nicole

      It absolutely is! It’s a huge deal, in my book, and one of those big emotional milestones too. Hope your daughter has settled in well…

  8. Charlotte Stein

    It’s such a bittersweet time and a real juggle of Mummy emotions. I couldn’t help but feel slightly robbed that once my little boy had become pretty civilised company after an emotional toddlerhood, that school then got the best of his company! I hope your little one and you settle well into your new routine #itsok

    1. Nicole

      You’ve hit the nail on the head Charlotte – it is a bittersweet time and a real juggle of Mummy emotions. We want some alone time while they’re at school; yet we miss them so much. Motherhood is so complicated! Thanks, yes, he’s in Y1 now and all settled and happy…

  9. Liberty on the Lighter Side

    It’s not an easy time of life, I think all transitions in life as a parent are tricky. My third has just started secondary school and I still feel this! #itsok

    1. Nicole

      You’re so right Liberty, every new phase is a challenge and a rollercoaster of emotions. Because however ‘big’ they are, somewhere they will always remain our babies.

  10. MomOfTwoLittleGirls

    Ah – it is a bittersweet moment in motherhood and parenting. The good news is, there will always be another first.
    The bad news is, you often miss the lasts because they grow so quickly.

    1. Nicole

      Well said Carly! So true…

  11. Jacqui

    Oh my word!! What an exciting time in your house. I can totally relate to all the pro’s and con’s. Mama’s little baby isn’t so little anymore! But, homework is a bitch…. Just saying 🙂 #itsok

    1. Nicole

      Yes, we’re beginning to get the homework now (he’s in Y1 now and settled and happy) but as is always the case, there is always another battle awaiting us!

  12. Tracey Carr

    I always think that it is as much a transition for the parent as it is for the child (but the parents don’t get as much recognition for their turmoil!). It is a huge change for everyone involved. I just keep telling myself to take deep breaths and that every day will get better as we all learn to adjust. That and keep focusing on all the positives that come with starting school! #itsok

    1. Nicole

      I whole-heartedly agree with you Tracey, and have always maintained that mums don’t get due credit for all the transitions and adjustments they make, day in and day out, for the benefit of their kids. The sleepless nights, the dealing with the tantrums, the huge emotions that accompany the start of school – we do need a pat on the back too! (Blog post on these lines coming up;))

  13. Crummy Mummy

    My middle one started reception this year too so can really relate to all of this – hope it’s going well! #itsok

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