It’s only the second day of the new school year and I am sat at my desk with a hot cup of tea about to start my day of work. The only thing I can hear is a lawn mower humming in the distance and the chatter from a pair of lorikeets sitting our balcony. No one is calling for Mum. You’d think I’d be jumping for joy, but instead I have a heavy lump firmly planted in the bottom on my stomach.
Anxiety is what it is. Anxiety that I know has no place in my day today, but yet it is refusing to move. I had it at exactly this time last year and the year before that so I know from experience that there is no reason for it to be there. So why is it?
It’s a funny feeling. For the last couple of weeks I have been ticking the days off a calendar for when today would arrive. For this blissful child free day. Yet all I want to do right now is drive back to school, fetch them and bring them home. To destroy the peace. Home to where I can look after them better. Nobody, especially not any new teacher, knows my children like I do.
Lexi-Rose has just moved to ‘big’ room at her Kindy and instead of being her happy self this morning, she clung to me like Koala, screaming for me and her old teacher. Now I know this is perfectly normal behaviour for toddlers when they’re confronted with change. However, as I peeled her off my leg and dashed out the door before she could grab me again I felt that stone of anxiety sink to the pit of my stomach. I walked to the car with the sound of “Come back Muuuuumyyyyyy” wafting through the air above me. Will her new teachers be as kind as the old ones were? Will she be happy? Will they understand what she wants? All these questions were swirling through my head as I drove home, pushing away the urge to turn around and go back to her.
Earlier this morning I dropped both Josh and Hollie at school. Normally I would do a kiss and drop but with everything being so new, Hollie wanted me to come in with her. So I did. We found her new Year 1 classroom and it just happens to be as far away from all the other Year 1 classrooms as possible. Practically on the other side of the school. Again, I felt that stone of worry set in. Will she feel isolated from all her old friends. Why are they so separated from the rest of year. Selfishly, will I feel isolated from the other mums at pick up and drop offs. No more afternoon chats with my friends as they wait at the top of the school and I at the bottom. My head is telling me to stop being so ridiculous. It’s early days still. There must be a good reason for it. She will be fine. She’s a resilient little girl, of course she’ll be fine.
Josh’s new class is huge. It has 32 students compared to last years 22. That’s almost a 50% increase. Will he get enough attention from the teacher? Will the teacher cope with such a large class? A few more worries start join the anxiety gathering in my gut. As for his new teacher, she has a reputation that is far bigger than her and it’s a bit scary. Apparently she plays favourites…. what if she doesn’t like him? What if she doesn’t get him like I do?
After totally psyching myself out for all 5 hours of my precious child free time, and achieving very little work. I set off to pick them all up. I left early. I stood outside the class room and waited anxiously for the bell to go. I was ready to march in and state my concerns to both new teachers. I didn’t want to be one of ‘those’ mothers, so I made sure I was cool, calm and collected (at least on appearance).
The bell rang.
Out they both ran. Faces beaming with smiles. How was it asked? “Awesome! Great! Excellent!”
We drove off the Kindy to pick up Lexi-Rose. I opened the classroom door. She spotted me almost immediately and came flying across the room, arms wide open. “How was your day cutie?”, I asked her. “Happy!” she said.
And just like popping a balloon, the anxiety that had been building up in my stomach all day whooshed out. Just as it had done last year too.
Do you get ‘first day of school’ anxiety?
Do you find yourself worrying more about your kids than they do? I hope I’m not the only one.