After a busy summer entertaining three energetic kids, Lucy Mason, our resident mum blogger, is back with the latest instalment of her diary of returning to work. Today she drops her youngest daughter off to nursery for the first time – a much anticipated, but surprisingly bittersweet, moment.
I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long. I have been literally counting down the hours until this Thursday morning when my life can really start again. So now that it’s here why am I feeling so flat?
The day that my youngest daughter finally started pre-school nursery was meant to be a happy one. I imagined walking away from the school with the wind blowing in my hair, arms swinging free without having buggy handles or little sticky hands to hold onto. But instead I kept my head down, avoided eye contact with the other mums and walked home as fast as I could, trying very hard not to cry.
I think it was when the nursery teacher said to Annie, just five minutes after arriving, that ‘now is the time to say goodbye to mummy’ that a big lump appeared in my throat and I realised that, after spending nearly every waking hour of the last three years and two months with my gorgeous, funny, chatty little girl, she is starting her journey off into the world without me.
Up until now her first day at pre-school was more about me – how the three hours a day she’s out of the house would mean I can finally get back to work, and get some time and head space all to myself without the constant chatter and demands for toast, juice or Peppa Pig on the TV. But I honestly didn’t think until today that it’s also about Annie, and her first step into the big wide world by herself. Oh god I’m starting myself off again!
I’m going to allow myself this morning to indulge in the sadness of it all, and then from tomorrow (or maybe Monday – the start of a new week and all that), knuckle down and get on with the new chapter in my life. After all, it is also my first step back into the big wide world of work, and for three precious hours a day I don’t have to be a mum – I can be just me again and start building up regular work.
I’ve hardly done much work over the school holidays at all. Having all three kids at home for five weeks has been chaotic, but actually really great (I feared the worst). It’s been a happy few weeks full of sunshine, camping, trips to the park, picnics and beaches – exactly like a summer should be. But now all my girls have started back to school and nursery it’s time to get back to it. After all, those school uniforms, shoes, bags and tuck shop money (50p for an apple – honestly?!) don’t pay for themselves.