OK I’m going to come out of the closet, and admit to something which I have to keep hidden from most of my real world friends.
When my children started school, I didn’t cry and didn’t miss them.
When my youngest went in on his first day, he bounded in without a backwards glance, and I skipped off happily, relieved that the toddler years were finally behind me. I never showed any emotion at parting when my children went to creches or nurseries, and they never got upset either.
I’m sure if some of my friends saw this they would think I was some kind of monster. Most of them were a lot more emotional. Some children were very upset, and that’s fair enough, but I think the mums as a group were more emotional than their offspring, who for the most part seemed very excited to be going to school. I heard more than a few comments of “I don’t know what I’m going to do now that he’s gone….”
I knew exactly what I was going to do – launch another business, get on with some hobbies, get a life, in the precious few hours allocated just to me each day (to me six hours seems like a very short time).
I don’t think that this makes me a bad mother. I do love my children and they love me. I would certainly go to the ends of the earth for them and beyond. One of the main reasons I have a couple of businesses is to afford the little luxuries of life for them. I love the fact that I am able to meet them from school each day – go to all their plays, performances, sports events and other activities, and the two of them have made my life complete in ways that they won’t understand until they have their own children.
But I refuse to lose a sense of self just because I have children. Maybe it’s because I was an only child growing up and learned to enjoy my own company – maybe its because I was single (and happy) for quite a long time before my husband and children came along. I’m afraid I need my own hobbies and my own space, and I do not function well without them.
Over the summer holidays I do get to spend a huge amount of time with my children and we plan lots of fun activities, which we don’t get to do for the rest of the year. I do enjoy all of this and I am a normal loving mother. But deep inside a part of me which is necessary for my wellbeing is crying out for attention. Yes, I admit it, I am selfish, and the total submission of a mother just doesn’t come easy to me.
I can’t wait for the day when I can drop them back off at school and have a whole day’s worth of my own company, without interruptions, or having to consider anyone else’s opinions. When that day comes, I have to do my best to hide my silly grin and the whoop of joy. I am sympathetic to those of my friends who get emotional, seeing their children off, and I do my best to keep my feelings hidden, but for me the end of the holidays is the best time of all.