Letting go: My experience of becoming a ‘school mum’


As I sit here writing this post, my heart goes out in solidarity to every mother in the world who has just sent her child to kindy or school for the first time… I acknowledge the myriad of emotions you must be experiencing and feel united through our experience. Excitement, loss, trepidation, relief or just plain old heartbreak, it’s a mixed bag for us mummas!

School boy hugging mum

For me, sending my child to school everyday is a little bit like having a piece of my heart chopped off and walking around outside my body. It’s a huge lesson in trust and in letting go: a heart-wrenching separation. I understand it is the first in a long succession of separations that is all part of the parenting process. I know it’s ‘normal’, ‘inevitable’ and ‘resilience building,’ but I still loathe the process and find the intensity of the emotions difficult to deal with!

In all honesty having children start kindy and prep has been the hardest part of parenting young children for me. I have done it twice (and will need to do it again in another 4 or 5 years) and both times have been painful and tearful for both my little ones and me. Surely the third time round should allow me to have one of those kids who happily waves goodbye to a mum who is left standing bewildered and begging for a goodbye hug and a kiss?

kindergarten sign

In my humble opinion 4-5 years of age is too young for children to be indoctrinated into the school system. And I’m an ex-teacher! I admit it’s hard to keep kids stimulated at home and some days their bickering or just plain old whining can make you want to tear your hair out in rage. But I love having my children in my daily care and enjoy the challenge of instilling values and morals and being a source of comfort, affection and companionship.

It’s not a matter of being ‘in control’ as much as an awareness of the short span of time that our children are in our care and that small window of opportunity we have to nurture our relationship with them and to build the foundation of a lifelong friendship. I figure I have roughly 18 years of my children living at home and only the first 10 or so years when they really want to be with me, rather than with their friends. It’s not much time in the grand scheme of things.

Mother and child statue

I certainly don’t have it in me to home-school my children and I have so much respect and admiration for the all-important work that teachers do in shaping and nurturing the mind of future generations. But last week when my little girl had her arms wrapped tight around my neck and her tears were falling in torrents and she sobbed the words “I feel so sad Mummy. I just want to be with you… why can’t I just stay home with you?” my heart shattered into a thousand pieces and I felt truly broken.

Whether you are the mother who whoops with joy when school holidays draw to a close, or quietly sighs with relief after school drop off, or whether you cry an ocean of tears as you mourn the loss of the treasured full time care of your child, one thing is true for us all; that we love our children fiercely and unconditionally and that we would not trade the many challenges of being a parent for all the riches of the world.

Kids drawing

What has the start of the school experience been like for you? I would love to hear about it in the comment section below. Thanks for sharing x

6 thoughts on “Letting go: My experience of becoming a ‘school mum’

  1. I’ve been waiting for this article Holly – as we have been sharing our school drop off heart ache on a daily text based basis! My 6yr old still struggles with drop offs – and it is a stab in the heart for me each day she struggles with drop off – I believe we peaked last Friday with a point where she refused to get out of the car, refused to go into class, refused to come near me so I could make her do something she didn’t want to – and as I wasn’t going to tackle her in the middle of the school field it was a long series of negotiation until I could hug her and hand her over to the teacher. I left in tears as she was wrestling with her teaching and crying and screaming – ‘I just want my mummy!”. We have tried everything – and after 3 years of this happening I now realize its just a heart wrenching process we unfortunately have to go through. I received numerous texts that morning from concerned mums – who had witnessed the extreme drop off… On that note she went happily into her teachers arms today – all small steps for us but I know, as in past years, it will get better – we’ve just got to make it through (having friends like you helps!). Hang in there any Mummas out there in our boat 😉 xxx

    1. Oh Jus, I feel your pain! Thank you so much for sharing. Isn’t it reassuring to hear that other people out there are experiencing something similar? At the time it’s happening you feel like you are the only person in the world and every other child/parent has it together except you. So pleased that you had a positive drop off this morning. Yes, small steps in the knowledge that this too shall pass. Stay strong beautiful Mumma xxx

  2. Holly, I found this quote today in an old diary. It made me think about what you have written about letting go. i don’t know where it’s from.
    It says, “A woman releasing her baby into the world is, in a sense. doing something she will have to do time and time again as her infant grows into a child, leaves her lap, and ventures far from her protective embrace.”


  3. Your loveliest blog so far… you captured well the joy and pain of letting go. I don’t know how you parents do it! Grace is a difficult quality to embody. I do hope that all the young beings who trotted off the school or kindy for the first time this year reap the rewards amply. A great time for self-discovery, learning and the nurturing of friendships. Grow!

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