The Milestone That I’m Dreading

We’ve a big milestone looming. School days are upon us. And the truth of it is, I’m feeling really sad about it.


We went along for our parents evening a few days ago, so I’m now fully prepared. We know the class Boo will be in, her teacher, all about her school day, her free school meals (I do like that fact!) and her curriculum. I have everything she’ll need, uniform, PE Kit, book bag, coat, all labelled up ready. She’s thrilled with it all, and we’ll be going into her new classroom for her first settling in session this week, which she’s desperately looking forward to. So, it’s not her, it’s me.

I don’t want my daughter to go to school in September. She’s still my baby. She always will be, I guess. I’m fortunate that she’s an early October baby, so she will be nearly 5 when she goes. But I don’t want her to go. I want her to stay with me and her little brother each day.

boo april 2014We love our outdoor adventures, library trips, hours spent gardening, painting and crafting sessions, book-reading snuggles and more. We love being able to take off at any time we choose, the three of us, having fun, making memories. But, these days are coming to an end very soon. Of course Boo doesn’t know I’m sad, I am happy and enthusiastic when I talk to her about it, and will continue to be. I am cherishing our time together this summer.

Boo is ready to go to school. Academically, she knows her alphabet, can write it, spells and writes a few words and can read a fair few more than that. She draws and creates at an above average level for her age (entirely thanks to her dad’s genes, definitely not mine!). She has a thirst for knowledge, is always asking questions, picks up and retains new information very easily, and understands it. But all of this aside, socially, she is ready. She makes friends easily, shares well, gets praised at her preschool for taking other younger or shy children under her wing and encouraging them to join in and play.

I know I’m fortunate to have a child going that is ready. That is that little bit older than some of the other children. That is excited and enthusiastic. I do know this. But it won’t make me miss her any the less.

Not wanting to let go, not wanting the school runs, not wanting the routine and lack of freedom that school imposes, are all issues for me to deal with, not her. No longer being the centre of her universe is something that I need to ready myself for. I don’t like to think about how it might change her. She’s confident. She’s happy. She’s active. She doesn’t worry about what other people think of her, she just throws her all into everything, offers friendship, and assumes the best in others. I know she needs to learn that not everyone is like her. I know she has lessons ahead of her. I know I need to be here for her, rather than protect her from them, as that’s life, that’s parenting. Logic tells me all of this. Logic tells me that she’ll love it there, knowing her as I do, and that she’ll be fine. Logic reminds me that she’s just going to school, not going away forever, and that there are weekends and holidays. But I’m still sad.

Am I alone in this? How did you feel when your children started school? Or are you in the same boat as me now?

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56 thoughts on “The Milestone That I’m Dreading”

  1. You are not alone, it is hard when your baby leaves you to go to big school each day. I didn’t feel like that with my son, but I do with my twins as I know they are my last to have at home with me.
    I did find getting used to the tie of having to work your day around school runs very tough at first, but I did get used to it. It’s a new era, one to feel sad about leaving, but also a new one to look forward to….watching her grow and develop through learning, new friendships, new experiences to tell you about when she comes home etc.
    It is ok to feel sad.
    I must say you are very well organised, I haven’t got anything for my girls to start school yet!

    1. I think you’re spot on there, Karen, it’s the end and the start of an era, which makes me both excited and sad all at once. I’m freakishly organised so that it’s all ready and I don’t have to think about it again for a few weeks!

  2. Be brave! The fact that she is chomping at the bit to go only stands her in excellent stead to flourish and succeed, you’ll savour the weekends more and some time with the little man will be amazing too. Xx

    1. Yep, I was thinking that, but he’s just hitting he terrible twos, at not even 2, so that’s not helping me right now!

  3. I’m not going to be of much consolation here I fear, but I still dislike the routine, I still miss my little girl and she’s coming towards the end of Year 3! She’s not a fan of school however, and that definitely influences how I feel-sending her off most mornings when she doesn’t want to go is not especially great.
    I’m sure Boo will love it and this will make the transition so much easier (for you). I try to make the most of what can be done, rather than what has changed if that helps any (and knowing you, you’re already down that road I imagine) 🙂

    1. That does make it so much harder. I think, I hope, that Boo will love it, which makes it a hundred times easier for me. I’m concentrating on Little Man stuff and her excitement for now x

  4. We are int he same boat actually. The only difference is, T will only have just turned 4 (birthday is on the 26th of August) when she starts school. My husband thinks she’s too young, I think so too. But the thing is, she’s ready for it. She loves her play-school and the activities and is always asking “What’s next?” When she doesn’t go to play-school, she’ll ask me “Where are we going today mummy?”. When she’s at home, she constantly wants to be doing stuff. We paint, read stories, do crafts, bake, sometimes I even ran out of ideas and have to make up a game of “relaxing!” She also knows that she’s going, because all her friends, contemporaries are all going to “big school”. So she likes to say that she’s also going. We haven’t fully decided 100%, but my worry is, if we decide not to send her this September, she’ll be confused and wonder “Why are all my friends going and I”m not?” Sigh.

    1. It does sound like she’s ready, but such a hard decision for you. Boo could probably have started last Sep, too, but I was lucky to not have to decide. Hope you settle on something that you’re happy with for T x

  5. I’m feeling quite like you about my eldest…..She starts secondary school in September….I don’t want her too….I want her to stay my little girl….It makes me sad! I just know I’m going to cry when I wave her off on the day….

  6. School isn’t compulsory 😉 I think because I originally planned to Home Educate, and made a big decision to send my children to school instead, that I didn’t feel that dread because I knew I could have kept her at home if I wanted to. The first year was hard, I have a sensitive and socially anxious child and she often had to be pulled off me first thing in the morning leaving me in tears (once I was out of sight), but if I’d ever had any doubts that she wasn’t enjoying herself once she settled then I knew I could withdraw her at any time. She loved school though (just not being left in the morning) and is now nearing the end of her third year (Y2) a confident and happy child (still sensitive and socially anxious, that’s her personality.) With my youngest, I had a bit of sadness but only because of leaving the early years stage behind. She is a totally different personality and takes herself into school while I’m still saying goodbye to the eldest! If you really want to keep spending the day with Boo, then why not look up your local Home Ed community? There’s usually lots of activities to join in so it’s very social and it sounds like you’re already doing great with teaching 🙂

    1. Thanks, Anne-Marie. The thing is, as a child, she’ll be fine at school, probably more than fine actually, and so I know it’s just a sadness at the end of an era, rather than something more serious that might prompt me to home educate. We’re fortunate in that the schools around us are good, and I am pleased with the one that we got her into. She’ll be brilliant, and so I’ll just have to adjust!

      1. Same here, we’re lucky with the schools and happy with the decision. Each milestone is tinged with sadness and the early years seem so fleeting so I totally understand. The things that I am now sad for are things I didn’t know about beforehand – the friendships with children only a few months difference from my child but because they are in a different school year (or different school) the friendships fade. New ones start, but there are children who we knew from babies that we barely see now. Home Ed wouldn’t have improved that at all but it is odd how much of a difference a school year apart seems to make.

        1. Jocelyn Reading

          Yes, you’re quite right there. I’ve already noticed that since she started pre-school, as we’ve struggled to fit in seeing the friends we saw practically every week when she was a toddler. It is sad.

  7. I could have written your post, we too are entering the school years with ‘Little 1’ she will also be 5 in October and is really ready to go, she too knows her phonics and can read simple words just like Boo. I know I am going to miss my little girl a lot but she already goes to preschool a couple of days so we are used to the practicalities of lunchboxes and school runs already, which should make it easier. On the plus side I will get lots of one on one with my youngest but that seems unfair to her sister. I do not feel quite as sad as you about it as I am ready to let her go just a little bit, she really does need the challenge, she is clever and is bored at home despite lots of activities and days out. But she is still my baby and I will miss her laughter!

    1. Yes, I do think that pre-school helps, as it reassures me that she’s fine and is ready, as well as gets me prepared for the practicalities. I am looking forward to more quality time with my son, and starting a few more classes with him. I guess I’m just feeling that age-old, ‘time has flown’ thing, and I can’t seem to be able to slow it down!

  8. Well seems I am on my own.

    My two were chomping at the bit to go because the adjacent pre-school prepared them so well and transition to Reception was never going to be an issue. From day one they have absolutely loved it, they are extremely sociable and well beyond their expected levels. I absolutely love helping them with their home learning, they are year 1 and 2, and we find exciting ways of using the internet, our atlas and encyclopedia and various mediums to make things interesting. We still make trips to the library in the holidays and they still ask “can we do some crafting?”, which I love. School days bring benefits for you as you willl meet new people in the playground and gsin a whole new circle of friends. Don’t be sad, think of the excitement ahead and, trust me, you will come to relish that bit of me time.xx

    1. There is no me-time, Louise, Little Man sees to that!!! Seriously, though, I know that you’re right, and Boo is more than ready to go. I’m happy that I have no qualms about her settling in and doing well there, I’ll simply miss her. I’ll get used to it, I guess xx

  9. My son is 4 and will start primary school this September. I am so scared of this as he is young and he is so friendly. Some kids there are not as young and would want to do something else than being bugged by a kid. That what scares me. Rejection. But he needs to go and learning is important. I wish that school will be okay for him. #WhatsTheStory

    1. They’ll all be of a similar age, though, and I know the teachers will be very supportive of them. I hope he has a good start there xx

  10. I really wish I could offer you some advice hunny I will be there next september right behind you and you can guide me and send all the advice you get from here to me when I need it. Good luck. They grow up way too fast. It’s unbelievable. #whatsthestory

  11. Ooh you have just slightly freaked me out by being so organised!! I haven’t even thought about uniform yet and there are still forms I need to return to the school by the end of June – eek! I am not looking forward to the imposition of the rigidity of school days and terms and only being able to take off for impromptu days out when everyone else in the world with kids is also there 🙁 and everything is more expensive. On the other hand I think it is a bit different in our situation as I only really get to spend one week day each week with JJ at the moment due to work and pre-school. I will even see more of him on Mondays and Tuesdays as pick up from school is 3.15 as opposed to 4pm at pre-school. Fridays will be a bit weird without him though… I don’t think he’s in any way as accomplished as Boo seems to be but he will also be one of the oldest (7th September birthday) and I know he will benefit from that. Having just spent an entire ten days in the company of the both of them I can safely say that personally I find that hard work and very draining (mind you they have had chicken pox during that time!). I think my children are higher maintenance than yours! 🙂 Have you ever thought about home-schooling?

    1. Ah, I wouldn’t be so sure – my two are a very active and adventurous pair! Yes, perhaps because I’m with her every day it’ll feel stranger for me. It is the rigidity of it all that I think frustrates me the most, to be honest – I must just hate being told what to do!! I wouldn’t home-school as I know she’ll do so well in a school environment, and I do think the time with Little Man will be good for us – but I’ll miss her! I know I’ll get used to it, it’s just hard to believe she’s already going to be going to school. And the uniform thing was easy for me as my lovely sister-n-law works on kids-wear in Asda, so I just told her what I needed and she got it for me – voila!

      1. Aha! Oh well I don’t feel so bad then! I think there is a difference between active and adventurous and demanding, unimaginative and needy. Only today JJ got very p’d off with me for cutting short our game of hide and seek so that I could make their tea! He asked who he was going to play with if I went inside and I suggested he try an imaginary friend which provoked a very disdainful response! And EJ is going through an awful clingy, screamy kind of precursor to Terrible Twos i think – they are just on me from morning til night! Bless ’em!

        1. Jocelyn Reading

          Boo is quite independent and imaginative so that helps. But Little Man seems to just be hitting the Terrible Twos, too – ahh!

  12. My 6-yo started school almost two years ago. I dreaded it too. I knew she was ready and I knew she would love it. But even though she is my eldest, she is still my baby. I had to leave the classroom quickly on her first day of school as I started to cry. But it was fine after that and I have always felt a lot of pride at how she has blossomed in school. #whatsthestory

  13. Aww it definitely sounds like she is well and truly ready, though I can totally understand why you are sad. It is a huge change and one I am not sure i will look forward to either. But, they have to grow up sometime and like you say, she will do so well and it will be good for her. You’ll soon get used to it and you can still have fun after school and at weekends, though i know that is not the same! xx #whatsthestory

    1. I know that you’re absolutely right, of course. I will get used to it, and I know she’ll make me proud, too, as she will be happy there. Little Man and I will just have to keep ourselves busy!

  14. Z is a December baby and I’m a bit relieved he’s going next year. It does sound like your little girl is ready to go though and I guess there is a big positive in that. I hope she loves it to bits and you all settle into the new era of routine quickly xx

  15. I always feel really bad because I honestly feel like the only mother who doesn’t get all choked up and dread school starting. Maybe it’s because I loved school so much even in secondary when I was bullied etx I still loved the writing reading the course work etc so I see the start of school as an adventure, a positive thing. Of course when they make that initial step and I have to walk away I hold back a few tears because I love them and I can’t protect them when they’re away from me. I get both sides, but think how much time you get with little man and how exciting it’ll all be for your daughter 🙂 xx

  16. All I can think of to say to this is a comment from a teachers perspective…believe me when I say all of the parents and children are in the same boat when that first day of school comes. But…the teachers are so prepared to look after and guide you through these early years. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to change your whole routine like that and to miss someone like that. I just hope it is a swift and easy transition for both of you!

    1. Thanks for sharing from another perspective. It will feel so strange, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it, and it will give Little Man and I more time together.

  17. Boo will be fine at school, its a big step but they all take it in their stride. I think I was delighted to see Alistair go to school and share his excitement, I needed all the time I could get with 2 more at home and hearing the stories of the day and having that big hug after school is something to look forward to as well.

    1. I know she will, Fiona – I’m lucky in that I’m not at all worried about her! I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough and her enthusiasm will probably be catching 🙂

  18. I can totally relate to how you are feeling. My youngest is starting nursery in September. It will only be for 3 hours a day but I don’t know what I will do without my little partner in crime. I am trying to be positive and look forward to having a few hours a day to myself to do my crafting x

  19. Our little one is heading off to school too. I don’t want her to grow up BUT I know she is ready. She is so curious and never wants to leave play school when we go to pick her up. I have to say, I’m also looking forward to having no child care costs. Buying a uniform will be a lot cheaper (not that I’m as organised as you, I have yet to organise anything!).

  20. Must be so tough – I really feel for you. I’m not there yet so can’t really comment but I can imagine it feels like those years have whipped by so quickly! No doubt the same will happen to me xx I bet she loves it though 🙂 xx

  21. you have summed up so many of my feelings about z starting school in september, i thought i was alone in my ‘silly’ thoughts! it is such a huge milestone and i dont know if i’ll ever be really ready for my son to go out into the big bad world without me if im honest…such a tough step 🙁

    1. Jocelyn Reading

      It’s nice to find someone else in the same boat, with the same thoughts. I’m sure they will be fine, after all, we were, but it is hard x

  22. Gosh this seems to have come round super fast. I have no idea how you’re feeling Jocelyn but I can imagine it must be so hard. POD will be from next year and already I’m dreading it! I remember reading lots of posts last September by parents seeing their children off to school for the first time. They were all really upset too but they did get used to it. Boo will absolutely love it and I’m sure you’ll all get into a routine – it doesn’t take away what you’ll miss I know. I think it’s totally acceptable to cry after they’ve been dropped off. Beautifully written post lovely, shout if you fancy a natter (not that I’m especially helpful here!) then shout x #whatsthestory

    1. Jocelyn Reading

      Ah, thanks, Charly, so lovely of you. It’s come round so quickly, and she is ready, so we will see how it goes! x

  23. As you know, we are also about to embark on the school adventure… And now that we’re weeks away from the school hols and pre-school ending (forever!), I am getting a little twitchy about the whole affair. Yes I’m excited, know she’s ready, know that I’m ready and know that she’ll be okay. But I’m also trying to hold back these last few weeks like a tug of war competition. And losing badly…!

  24. I am totally with you, even though Monkey is already at his school in Nursery. The thought of our busy days totally disappearing actually makes me want to cry. It also means for me that I will need to think about work, about not even spending the holidays with him – I am avoiding dealing with this issue totally. We have our parents evening in 2 weeks and his settling in day is the week after that. He’ll be fine, he won’t like the change, he may cry at the beginning, but I know he’ll be fine. I won’t be fine, I know I won’t x

    1. Jocelyn Reading

      It’s so hard, Mary. Especially as you have a whole new world and workplace to contend with, too. Just feels like it’s gone by so quickly, yet we were here for every day of it! Can you delay work for the first term, to get you both settled and adjusted? x

  25. Oh my. This post ? I too am feeling exactly how u are. Except all is changing here. I dont have another baby to adventure with so it is the confusion & anxiety of a new job that’ll suit term times etc. I called my mum in tears this evening as its all going to fast in this lead up to September. He was at pre school for a long day today & I had too much time too feel the upset of missing him. I cant imagine this five days a week :(:( The comments here have made me a tad less anxious as I know its not just me being so muddled by it all. Jasper is so ready and eager for school like ur boo. He is so clever & willing to learn & has such knowledge already. But he isnt four until late July & I fear it being a disadvantage. I dont know :/ xxx

    1. Jocelyn Reading

      Oh no, it is so hard. It feels like such a big step, but I’m sure our little ones will take it in their stride. I think they all catch up with each other fairly quickly, despite their ages. I’m trying to focus on what I can be doing while she’s at school, making the most of holidays, and her excitement about it all is infectious x

      1. yes Jaspers excitement & eagerness for school is so gorgeous. We are so happy & overwhelmed with pride. I think im just worried for myself hehe. Jasper has a settle in session next week & I will meet all the parents of the children in his class whilst they play so Im sure after this we will both be much more settled with it all :):) xx

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