Family

Denial Denied!

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Yup. I’ve been in complete denial for the whole summer but I can be in denial no longer.

It’s the day I knew would dawn.

The day one chapter opens and another one closes.

The day my little man joins “the system”.  BLEUGH. *sobs

If you’d asked me earlier in the year how I’d be feeling on the eve of the first day of term and the eve of Akira’s school life, I’d have said liberated!  The birth of Kaya 8 years ago saw me take a big career break to raise my kids, so getting a bit of time back for work and “me”?  Exciting.

A  HUGE part of me that will feel like doing a Dick Van Dyke heel-kick as I walk out of those school gates tomorrow.  Not least because, after 6 weeks of the summer holidays and the kids with me 24/7, part of me is craving routine and the chance to wee in solitude!  But an even bigger part of me that will feel, well… more than a little bit lost.

I thought it would be easier this time around, but strangely  it feels harder.  WAY harder.  I guess because it’s so final.  My youngest child is starting school.  Even sewing (seemed preferable to iron-on at the time, now, not so much!) name tags into uniform last week was a bit emotionally challenging – even a glass of merlot couldn’t help things – although it might have made things a bit more interesting! I’m sure the teachers will have a good laugh at some of the jaunty angles!

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I know Akira is totally ready, which is something.  With a December birthday and at almost 5, he’s nearly a year older than my summer born Kaya was when she started.  I know he’s going to love it.  And I know he’s so ready to learn and have all those new experiences.  But however much I know all of that, I also know tomorrow morning is going to be tough. For me.

If your taking your child to school for the first time,  THEIR first day of school is YOUR first day of school too.

First day of being a school mum.

First day of negotiating the playground.

First day of feeling like a complete newbie who doesn’t know what the hell you’re doing!

So, for what it’s worth – here are the bits I picked up last time to make that first morning as stress-free as possible. Buckle up baby – it’s a fun ride!

BE ORGANISED

Make sure you’ve got everything ready the night before.  We’re talking uniform laid out, bag packed, shoes ready.  Yes – uniforms in this house have had their ANNUAL iron! (don’t worry – the iron is safely packed away to collect dust from here on in). I would say lunchbox packed but this year us Class of 2014 mums are treading a new path!  Our free-lunces-so-no-lunchbox-required mornings will be easier than for those before us!  Yay! Small mercies!

BE READY

Shock to the system as the 5th gear of a “school morning” will be after a lovely summer, set your alarm early (don’t hate me!) to have your shower and get ready, so you can totally concentrate on helping your child with their reality once they’re awake.

BE RELAXED

Your nerves and stress will totally pass on to your kid.  So chill baby!

BE EARLY

This is possibly your first experience of school run traffic.  Welcome to the funfest!  It’s not pretty – so be early.  If you’re driving, being ahead of the game will  allow you to get a good parking spot – and however you travel, getting to the playground early means it will be quieter.  Less daunting if you’re 4 or 5 (and certainly if yore a new mum!) and better for getting acclimatised.

BE ALONE

Seriously, I’ve witnessed extended families rocking up and totally stressing the child out with their “ooh it’s your first day of school… you’re a big boy now… look at your uniform” enthusiasm. Try and just take your child on your own for the least amount of fuss.

BE CAMERA FREE

Yup. You heard! Yes, this is a new chapter – No, it doesn’t have to be a kodak moment.  Remember that awful feeling on the first day of school when your nerves were exacerbated by your parents telling you to “smile nicely” when you could barely even muster up said smile, let alone make it a nice one!?  Yeah. THAT!  Leave the camera at home. I know this goes against all your instincts but just take some pics when your child comes home, proud after their first day.  Or cheat them a few mornings later?  Who’s ever gonna know?

BE ALL SMILES

When you get into the classroom, muster up a big and confident “Morning” to the teacher to show your child that the teacher is someone you like, therefore your child will think they can like them too!  Suppress the urge to blurt out “get away from my child – you’re not the mummy, I am”!  #Just saying!

BE BRAVE

The moment will come when you need to leave the classroom. BOOM!  Be confident. Be brave!  Your child is taking their lead from you.  So a big kiss, a hug and a “Have a great day” – then GO. Whatever happens, DO NOT let them see you wobble.  Take sunglasses if you have to but a crying mummy is NOT the start they need to their day.  You have to be their rock. ALL SMILES BABY!  This needs to be Oscar winning – you can crumble once you’re around the corner, not before.  Speaking of which …

BE READY TO CRY!

However much you know your child is ready for school, walking out of that classroom is a milestone and it suddenly hits you.  So have tissues in your pocket and ideally a friend you can meet for a cuppa and a cry!  (just don’t do what my mate did and dissolve in the corridor, fall into the arms of the headmaster and wipe your snotty nose on his shoulder!)

A couple of other ideas:  I put a family photo in Kaya’s bag so she could look at it if she was missing us / I sprayed a bit of my perfume on her wrist for the first few weeks which she loved / We always go out for tea on the first day of term, so there’s something to look forward to.

Above all, congratulate yourself on a job well done.  You not only made a human – you’ve nurtured them for 5 years and prepared them for this moment.  Uterus to Uniform (!) is a mighty journey. Be proud!

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows”  ~  Sydney J. Harris

Good Luck – and DEEP BREATHS!

And know that in a little corner of Oxfordshire, this Mamma is going through the exact same morning as you, hanging on to memories of our sensational family Summer of 2014! *sobs some more

K x

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49 Comments

  • Reply Nursery capsule wardrobe with your top tips - coco mama style September 11, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    […] also has some brilliant tips for us mamas on the first day of school on her blog which I will be definitely be re-reading the night before my little one starts […]

  • Reply Kate on thin ice September 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Brilliant and the advice is spot on even if I don’t follow it all (but should!). On the crying front, I was almost sobbing when my 13 year old set off on his first day back at school. It passes so quickly (even when it does not feel like it at the time) and everytime he walks away, I feel how soon he will be walking away to start life in his own home somewhere and that is really scary.

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Stop that! Ah – it never gets easier does it! 🙁 x

  • Reply Siobhan @ Everyone Else is Normal September 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I know I’m the 45th person to comment, but heck, I couldn’t help but go ‘YES!” at the annual iron thing – that is me TOO, so funny – and that i felt so similarly when my 2nd and last and a boy went to school. Its all mixed bags of emotions and you’ve expressed it really well. This year, by back to school post was a poem, or a ditty, rather (its not serious!), which i reckon you’ll totally relate to….enjoy your extra few hours of freedom a day. And enjoy them when they’re back home!

    • Reply Katy September 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Ooh – off to check out your ditty! And I’m glad I’m not the only annual ironer! Although to be fair, I’ve realised it’s BI annual – back to school and PHOTO DAY! 😉 x

  • Reply Emma September 5, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Ooooh, I hope Akira’s first day went well for you both. H starts next Tuesday, but I’m actually feeling quite calm about it, she’s only doing half days as she’s an August baby so it’ll hopefully be an easy transition.

    I love your tips. I thought I’d been really clever and had a spare pack of socks in a drawer ready for those ‘can’t find socks’ moments in the mornings, but after only 2 days all have them are gone…..not sure what happened there.

    xx

    • Reply Katy September 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Oh my goodness – you’re a GENIUS! What a great idea! Ah – would have loved half days but nobody else was 🙁 BUT all going great so far! Yay! Good luck next week x

  • Reply Heledd -Running in Lavender September 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Oh Katy, thanks for this post! I needed that to prepare myself. My little Lili starts school on Monday and psychologically I’m so not ready. She on the other hand is totally ready! I know I’m going to be a mess on Monday morning but I’ve promised myself that I’ll smile through it all – as I send my little girl on her way into the (educational) world. I’m so proud of her and her little ways, I just hope everyone else sees in her what I see and that she enjoys here time at school.
    Heledd xxx

    • Reply Katy September 5, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Ah – it’s SO tough! The first day generally seems exciting for them. It’s on around day 3 when the penny drops that they’ll be doing this every day, that it’s tricky! Good luck on Monday! And yes – DEEP BREATHS! x

  • Reply Alison Perry September 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    You SEWED on the name labels? Oh my goodness. No wonder you needed that wine…
    My daughter is a year away from starting school and I feel SO SAD about it already. It’s an emotion that has completely surprised me, because I didn’t think I was *that* kind of mum. Love your tips x

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      I know, right?! I ironed on with Kaya and decided to go old school for both this time around! Largely because I met one of “those” mothers who was all about sew on, and wanted to prove I could do it too!!!! Found it strangely therapeutic! Yup – I DO need to get out more! 😉 x

  • Reply Anonymous September 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Well my ‘baby’ started Secondary school this week & I must admit, I was really proud as he walked to the bus on his own. Just a glance back & wave as he turned the corner. (gulp) I’ve done a good job!

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      You HAVE! Ah – it’s all a roller coaster journey to independence! x

  • Reply DebTall September 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    And I have all of this to look forward to next year! And again another couple of years later

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Ah Deb – it’s the last one that’s the kicker! SO different this time around 🙁 x

  • Reply Melanie September 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    After having to read and re-read your post (due to very blurred, ok tear drenched eyes – thanks for that lol)..I just wanted to say what great advice you’ve given!

    My little girl starts in reception class on 15th so we are still on the in denial countdown!! Her last nursery day was last week (tears all round) not helped by the fact that her little brother (2.5 yrs) had his first two mornings at the nursery she was leaving!!

    So many things to think about; so many changes; so many emotions for all of us. It feels like I’m losing my special little friend, who’s been by my side for the last 4.5 years but I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to go through this…and now, armed with your excellent advice I ‘think’ I may just get through this (with a huge pack of tissues and a nice bottle of red!!) Thanks Katie xx

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      Ooh – good luck on 15th! Ugh – it’s truly no fun – but we’re on day 2 now and it seems to be going OK! LOVE pick up time though! x

  • Reply Alison Brooks September 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    It doesn’t get any easier does it?! Today was the first day for my daughter going in to year 3 and as I walked out of the gates leaving her I cried 🙁
    I feel as if I leave a bit if my heart with her at school.
    I also have a son who’s coming up to 2 so have it all to go through again in 3 years and with him being my last I’m guessing it’ll be even harder with him!
    Ps love the blog x

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Ah – it IS! So much harder with the last one :-(. Enjoy your last few years x

  • Reply becky September 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    My baby s (7 and 10) went back today had a magic summer and feeling blue (me that is!) hope yours went well Katy

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Ah – went great thanks! But love the end of the day xx

  • Reply sian September 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    My little one started year one Tuesday, the same day my youngest turned one! All together too much! Even I’m missing the security of the reception class and seperate play ground. The new class room seems so big and so bare in comparison. No more sand pit and water tray and ‘playing’, it’s all too much for me. I even felt jealous of the mums and dads waiting to pick up their children from the old class room. I guess I don’t deal with change well. My 5 year old however seems to take it in her stride.:). This being a mummy malarkey is hard work at times. X

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      It IS! Like a crazy roller coaster! X

  • Reply Jen aka The Mad House September 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Oh that back to summer feeling is so bittersweet. today is my boys (8 and 9) second day back and I miss them terribly, but the peace is heavenly. It is so hard putting my little round pegs in to square holes!

    Do come and add this post to our back to school linky at Mum in the Mad House

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      I’m stupidly excited to collect mine every afternoon! X

  • Reply MummyNeverSleeps September 3, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Uterus to uniform – you need to copyright that NOW!

    My boy’s starting year 1 tomorrow, initially I thought we’d be pros by now but I can feel the nerves setting in the night before… *makes mental note to take sunglasses* Fab tips and glad to see it all went well for you 🙂

    • Reply Katy September 4, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Thanks lady! I don’t think it ever gets easier! I guess I just like vein with them! And yes – I was VERY grateful for the glasses at the gate! Good luck! Xx

  • Reply Penny CArr September 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

    A big day – but one m and my little one have been looking forward to since they broke up in July. We both love routine and have missed it hugely over the summer.

    • Reply Katy September 3, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Craving routine here too. And drop off went great – for BOTH of us! Yay! xx

  • Reply Mary Keynko September 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Big day for everyone! I’m sure he’ll have a good time and before you have time to blink he’ll be taking his GCSE options and off to university.

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Oh goodness! Does the emotional roller coaster NEVER stop?! *howls

  • Reply Hannah Mums' Days September 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Eeek, this has made my tummy feel funny! My son has just turned two and I was asked recently about which school he’ll go to. I refuse to think about it! He’s going to be one of the young ones too, in fact he’s going to seem so tiny to me as he waddles off in his blazer (he won’t be in a blazer but for some reason he is in my imaginary, Grange Hill version). I’ll have to bookmark this for 2 years time but until then I shall pretend this conversation never happened 😉 hope tomorrow goes really well (having just read the comment above)! xxx

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Thankyou. I’ll be very relieved when 9.15 comes and I’m walking out of the gate. In some ways! x

  • Reply Honest Mum September 2, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Beautiful post and I feel exactly the same, my eldest Oliver who is 5 in January is so ready to start (he goes into reception next week) but I agree it’s such an emotional time.

    He’ll be in a village school down the road from us but it still feels a huge step.

    My youngest starts nursery soon too which relieves my Mum of nanny duties somewhat and we’ll have greater structure but it’s a double whammy for me! Really hoping my constant juggling of freelance work with kids will become easier with school starting. Here’s to more structure! Got my tissues ready x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      I feel your pain! Mine are both in a village school down the road – couldn’t be cosier or a more nurturing environment, but it IS a huge step. Good luck for next week! And yes – the freelance part of me will be thrilled with a bit more routine and structure. The mummy side – not so much! x

  • Reply Alice Hassall September 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Ahhhhh that pic at the bottom just distracted me from my comment making because it is so lovely!

    Anyway, I love the tips. The NO CAMERA one goes against all the blogger instincts in me but I completely agree. Cheat, they won’t remember.

    Kyd starts secondary school tomorrow… Pass me the gin

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Ah – believe me – I STRUGGLE with the “no camera” one. And secondary school?! Wowzer! I’ll meet you at the gates at 9.15, armed with GIN! 😉 x

  • Reply Alison September 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks for all the advice, read your blog and used all your tips this morning for my eldest. Worked perfectly – no tears ( from him at least!). So proud of my little boy but a little bit sad he’s growing up so quick! At least I’ve got my little girl with me today to stop me worrying so much. Thanks again for top tips x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Ah – so glad it was helpful! I don’t know what I’m doing either – but like to pass on bits incase they’re useful! Glad they were xx

  • Reply Clare Goldsack September 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    You had me in tears by the end and I’m a hardened year 8 and 5 Mum! Like you, I also found it harder second time round. Perhaps it’s because they are our ‘babies’ and it means time is flying.

    Good luck to Akira on his first day. I think younger siblings have it slightly easier in that they are more familiar with the school because they have been many times with their older sister or brother. It’s definitely tougher for us Mums! Hope you’ll be ok xxxx

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Ah – I know – time does fly. I guess it’s just a hard reality on all of us after 6 weeks of fun! x

  • Reply Susan Mann September 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Good luck starting school. I think it’s harder on us than it is on them. They love it and how much they come on in the first year is amazing. It’s incredible to see. Hugs x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      You’re SO right! I’m going to remind myself of this tomorrow. Hug accepted!! x

  • Reply Libby Price September 2, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Bless you! It was when my second started school that I had a meltdown about wanting a new baby – and a vasectomy reversal later, we had children 3 and 4!!
    Children 1 and 2 start new schools tomorrow, and child 3 starts reception next Monday – so it’s pretty chaotic in this house – and totally agree with all of your recommendations.
    Now wonder what gibbering wreck I will be (after dropping off, obvs) number 4 in 2 years time……..
    Good luck to everyone! x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 9:14 am

      I’m with you on the chaos! My house is awash with name tapes and uniform! I’ve just packed bags, and ironed uniform – for the only time in the year it EVER happens! 😉 x

  • Reply Liz Weston aka @TheLizWeston September 2, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Uterus to Uniform. Perfect. Love it.

    When my boys started school, it was staggered. If I had my time again, I’d be doing cool, interesting, special things with them on the afternoons after their morning classes. Wish I’d done more to make that more of a special thing. Partly for them, but mostly for myself.

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Ah – you’re lucky. Mine isn’t staggered. Had the option to go part time till Christmas, but everyone else was doing full time and I didn’t want him to be the odd one out. I’ll be hugging him extra hard tomorrow morning. And on collection of course! 🙁 x

  • Reply Mum of One September 2, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Oh will be thinking of you this morning lovely lady. Luckily I have one more year before I do this for the first time so please remind me of ALL of this next September. Some great tips, especially about not taking photos and adding to their stress…poor little mites. Hope all goes well today x

    • Reply Katy September 2, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Thanks lady! It’s actually tomorrow morning – I hit publish too soon! Enjoy your amazing year! It goes way too fast! x

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