A couple of weeks ago, my son started kindergarten. Last week, my daughters started preschool. I also started full-time school. It has been a very emotionally draining couple of weeks. Saying bye to my babies after dropping them off at preschool was heartbreaking. They were so ready to go to school. As I left, they said “Bye Mom! I’ll miss you!”, and then went to play with their new friends. I went and sat in the car and cried. Ugly tears. Not pretty tears.
I think the hardest part is that I am mourning what my life was and will never be again. Jack is in school 5 days a week all day. My daughters are in preschool. I spend my evenings studying to be a teacher. Once I get my degree, I’ll be working full time. My life will never be the same as it was for the past 5 years. Previously, I spent my evenings and days with my kids. I was able to attend everything they needed me for. With school, I have limitations on my time and I don’t see my kids and husband as much as I used to.
It’s been a hard transition, to say the least.
I spent last week in an emotional funk, and even decided I hated everything in my house, which lead to a giant purge. Reflecting on this mood, I have come to realize that I have lost control of lots of things in my life, and am mourning what was. I’m happy to say that I am feeling much better this week, so I think that the grieving time I had is now over. I am ready to move on with this new phase. An added bonus is that my house is now clean and clutter free! Yay me.
I think that it is natural and normal for all of us as parents to mourn what was. Even when we know what is coming is a positive change. We all know that our children have different phases of life. When they transition from baby to toddler, you lose something. Maybe the feeling of baby cuddles, cooing, or breastfeeding your child. But you also gain something. You child is mobile, they play with things, and they start developing their personality and talking to you. Toddler to a preschooler is the same thing. You start moving away from diapers, but you also have to start saying goodbye to them when you send them off to preschool.
Despite the challenge of moving on, it is okay to be sad and miss what was. I also think that it is important for us as parents to let our children make those transitions too though. It’s not easy, but when they are ready, we give them a smile, a big hug, and then let them fly. Even if it means when they are gone we lock ourselves in our rooms and ugly cry.
As parents, we also have to accept that it is okay for us to make changes too. While starting a new career is challenging and taking time away from me and my family, I am doing something that I really enjoy and am passionate about. Don’ be afraid to pursue your own dreams, even if you have young children. Your children will see you pursuing those dreams and your happiness, and it is a great way to teach them how to live their own lives.
So, go ahead. Make those changes. Grieve. Live. It’s a big circle of changes that will continue to happen, and we as parents just have to deal with it the best that we can. With tears, laughter, and lots and lots of hugs.