Starting Over

Time for a fresh start, end of an era, a new dawn – these and every other time-related cliché spring to mind as I prepare for the start of a new school year.

This one’s a special one. It’s my littlest fella’s first day at school, finally joining his big brother at big school.

It marks the end of my pre-school days, FOR EVER, after a 10 year stretch. But rather than feeling a sense of great loss, I’m anticipating the next few months with a real sense of excitement.

Or maybe I’m just kidding myself?

Once I get into the school playground tomorrow morning and realise what a big step is ahead for us both I may well dissolve into a puddle of tears.

Hang on. Bugger. Now I’ve gone and got myself started.

Excuse my pause. I was just recalling the lazy afternoons me and O have enjoyed together the past couple of years. Those lovely hours snuggling up to watch DVDs; playing football in the garden; making mudpies; painting strange robots with laser eyes; mastering a scooter; learning to swim. Just the thought is enough to make my throat constrict and my tummy tighten. Oh dear, I’m going to miss him so much. Bugger again.

I’ve pulled myself back together again now. Yes, it has been brilliant, these past few years, and I’m thankfully blessed with two beautiful boys who, for the most part, have made being a mum incredible easy. I’m so immensely proud of both of them and proud of myself and their dad for the effort we’ve put in to help them along the way.

But looking after pre-schoolers is bloody hard work. It can be time consuming, frustrating, boring, hugely emotional, mentally challenging, draining and physically demanding, often all at once.

Given a choice (and I mostly have been) I would choose staying at home with my bairns over working for The Man any day. But only as long as I can also get mental stimulation and do something that makes me feel purposeful and needed in my own right. In other words, I really do want it all. Preferably without having to try too hard. And ideally in exchange for a large bag of money.

I think this need for “something else” beyond being a mum and a wife is what’s made me take up (and often abandon) a wide range of work, study and play activities over the past 10 years.

I’m not a good stay at home mum. I loathe regular and routine housework, resorting instead to mad-eyed whirlwind tidy ups whenever I know anyone is coming by or on a Saturday morning; I loathe thinking about and planning meals, preferring to opt for an easy “chuck it all in a pot or the oven” style of dinner; I don’t like gardening; and my baking skills are legendary (not in a good way.)

So along the way I’ve also dabbled in loads of other stuff. I’ve studied for a second degree in psychology (still only part complete); learnt Italian (abandoned, and I remember nowt); took up tennis; tried to learn the art of photography; and trained as a teaching assistant at my local school. I’ve even managed to bring in an income most months, courtesy of freelance writing and PR work.

All these things, though, have felt like extras, tagged on to my “main” life as a mum.

Of course, my role as a mum is not ending all of a sudden. In fact, when I speak to the mums of pre-teens and teenagers I get a feeling it is only just beginning.

But I suddenly have the luxury of time to turn into reality the ideas that I’ve been cooking up.

Cynics (that’ll be me. And me. And me again) might suggest my track record is such that I might well run out of steam pretty quickly and my plans will come to nothing. We shall see. I will report back at Christmas!

First I’ve got to get O to school on time and make sure I remember to let go of his hand when the time comes.

    • Catherine
    • September 5th, 2010

    Read both your blogs just now and feel quite emotional, they are so well written and I am sure that every mum who reads it will relate to it!

    Good luck with this next stage, I remember that day 4 years ago when my baby started school and I suddenly had acres of free time (too much to start with) but I have managed to fill it successfully, get fit and go back to work (part-time) a few months ago after 10 years at home and now time is in short supply again!

    Enjoy yourself, at least they are coming home at 3pm! Spare a thought for those mums whose babies are flying off to University…

    • Haynes20
    • September 5th, 2010

    Cheers C. I’ve recovered again now!! It would be nice to pause sometimes wouldn’t it (and fastforward other bits). And getting fit is one of my key projects!!!

  1. I think we are in the same gang – I am currently sitting on my hands to not buy a sewing machine as I have this URGE despite not having a clue how to sew. I secretly believe that if I got one I would be soon knocking out brilliant amazing original items – despite all evidecne to the contrary: no creative talent, bit cack-handed, long history of wild new enthusiasms that fizzle 🙂
    Hope school went well. I’ve another year before DD2 goes.

    • Mark
    • September 8th, 2010

    Lovely words Jane, as ever! Not being a mum I can’t admit to feeling the same sense of separation (I only had 2 weeks paternity leave to get used to being a father). My friend Sophie has just written a very similar blog and funnily enough she too is a PR person

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