Diary of a busy practitioner, juggling work and family somewhere in England. This week: starting school

DALC2 has just started her settling in sessions at school and I am literally worried that it is going to break me.


Being horribly pregnant with her for, well, 10 or 11 months I think, whilst trying to work and look after DALC1 nearly broke me.

Giving birth to her nearly broke me, as she hurtled into the world still in her amniotic sac when no one was expecting it. It certain broke my pelvic floor.

Looking after her whilst pretending nothing had changed for DALC1 nearly broke me, as I developed a crippling mumguilt that has never gone away.

Dealing with her ability to find a choking hazard in a haystack nearly broke me, as well as her ability to climb up things but not down things.

Dealing with going back to work, to a new job, prizing her off me as she sobbed every morning nearly broke me. She would literally be knocked off her feet by the good emotions when I walked back in the door, which I felt I did very little to deserve.

And sending her off to school as the youngest four year old in the class- the youngest kid in the school- could definitely finish me.

I thought it was bad with DALC1. The feelings inside me - the physical symptoms of my emotions - were almost the same as those I experienced when my beloved gran died a few months before. I can’t even talk about the day I drove passed the school at lunchtime and saw her standing on her own in the playground.

DALC2 has been through the school gates ten times a week for the last two years, whereas we had barely set foot in the school when DALC1 started. DALC1 ’hated’ the headteacher ‘and his guitar’ after he came to the preschool to play them a few tunes (-awesome?!). There was so much unknown about school. She didn’t know the rules, what you did at dinner time, what big kids are like, what PE is like, what an assembly is, the words to the hymns, the names of the staff, whether you were allowed to take your coat off in the playground and a hundred other such things. My lovely laidback DALC2 won’t let this kind of shizzle get her down, and if there happened to be something she wasn’t sure about, she has a sister to ask, and probably two hundred older kids who are going to be doting on this small but perfectly formed cherub every day. DALC2 has it easy, but I don’t.

I’m going to be going home twice a week with nothing but an enormous puppy for company. Snorting pigs in red dresses, sexist pup rescue teams, Nanny Plum, Ben, Andy and all my other CBeebies friends will slowly be phased out of my life, and I may never again be asked to ’show me show me your groovy moves’. My little pal and the anchor of my days won’t be there. I still literally feel like I have a baby, but I totally haven’t, have I? I am a ’mum of school aged children’ and the thought makes me sick. I’m a different type of mum. Can I even moan about being exhausted any more? Am I still in that club? Do I have to drop the children off in active wear, ready for a zumba class?

On the other hand I keep thinking of all the things I am going to do. I’m finally going to write my book. I’m going to finish crocheting the blanket I did about 6 inches of two years ago. I’m going to do all the washing (and put it away), and make dinner so I can have quality time with the kids when they get in. I’m going to make a cake every week, because I know how much I would have loved that as a kid. I’m going to take the enormous puppy for a walk- no, a jog- so there is less time pressure on us to do it of an evening. I’m going to try to train the blooming animal. I’m going to go through every cupboard in the house and organise it. I’m going to sort out the shed. I read an article that said on average you get green fingers at the age of 41 so I’m going to get a head start on that and sort out the garden (I actually killed the artificial lavender plant outside the wendy house over the winter- I’ve got quite a way to go). I might blog about my gardening learning curve. I’m going to meet retired former colleagues for lunch, and maybe even have a glass of wine. I’m going to help more with the PTA. I’m going to learn ‘Thunder Road’ on the piano. I’m going to buy a piano. I’m going to text Julie back straight away about her freezer queries so she isn’t left wondering all day what to do about her dinner. I’m going to lie in my hammock. I’m going to finish watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix as my husband has shown absolutely no interest in watching it with me, and he watches loads of stuff on the train without me. I’m going to hang washing out instead of using the dryer. I’m going to catch up on work, instead of doing it on a Sunday morning. I’m going to work on a marketing plan for my mediation work. I’m not going to forget how hard it is for parents of young children, and I am going to hold doors open, and offer to hold the other end of buggies when they are going up steps, and give reassuring smiles in supermarkets.

I can do all this in six hours, twice a week, yes? And when they come home from school, where there is nowhere comfortable to sit, and no one to give you a cuddle, and learning to be done all blooming day long, and horrible big kids, and shouty teachers, and rules and more rules, I am going to give them a very big squeeze.