There is a period of grieving for some parents, mostly mothers, which occurs when your youngest grows up and then ultimately starts school. I began to notice it when my youngest turned four and I started seeing the endings of several things.
I have to admit I have felt incredibly sad at times, and I probably will continue to have moments of grief as my children grow. Not because I want more babies, but because I absolutely loved my time as a mother of babies, toddlers and preschool-aged children. I was really good at it too, and find myself at a bit of a loss now as I try to find my place and adjust to the new normal of having two school-aged kids.
There are several things I have said goodbye to – some more trivial than others. At the end of the day what I miss most is having a little mate around to hang out with each day. Of course, many days were exhausting and I wished for time by myself – however, now that I have it, I am a little bit lost.
For the past eight years I have had a clearly defined role and persona. I have been the busy and devoted mum to two daughters. I loved the chaos and the play dates, meet-ups at cafes and the playground. Loved nap times and nappies and long walks with the pram.
My world centered around my two children even though I was still working part-time. Now, all of a sudden, I have two kids at school. I can work more, take time for myself, put my needs a little further ahead in the queue. It’s exciting but also terrifying. I have no idea who I am outside of “Mum”, and that has at times felt overwhelming.
Bit by bit I have said goodbye to lots of little things. Aside from the obvious cots, prams, and high chairs, I have noticed as my children grow up that there have been little transitions to adult-sized things such as cutlery, cups and towels. No more sweet little hooded towels with embroidered ducks or bunnies. They prefer showers over baths now, and can complete the entire process independently including getting themselves dry and dressed. That one is pretty good actually, I guess I can’t complain about that.
From here, I have the opportunity to rediscover myself and relearn my likes and dislikes and what hobbies I may enjoy now that I have a little more time to myself. I look forward to letting my daughters see the woman I am outside of their mother, and I can’t wait to see how my relationship with them grows and changes as they get older. I will also remember they need me as much as ever, just in a very different way.