It’s 1.45pm on a Friday afternoon.
I have a hot cup of coffee.
I can hear the buzzing of the fridge, the ticking of the clock, the humming of the central heating.
What I can’t hear is the sound of children.
All of my children are at school, and it’s weird.
On Thursday, Ben started nursery. (I think in some areas it’s called pre-school). It’s part of the infant school that Alex is at and Harrison left in July. He’s only there in the afternoons, from 12.30 until 3, but it’s both the longest and shortest two and half hours.
For those two and a half hours, I can work without distraction. I can sit down without getting up every ten minutes to pour a glass of milk or juice, or to investigate what a very adventurous and inquisitive three-year-old is doing. I can watch whatever I like on TV. If I wanted (which I very much do!), I could even take a sneaky little nap. It’s lovely but it seems to go by like a flash.
But I miss my little sidekick. As much as he drives me insane at times, like when he emptied the wardrobe earlier this week, it’s been me and him for the past couple of years whilst everyone else is at school and work. He’s my last baby, and I’m very aware that he’s far from being a baby now. And no, before anyone asks, we are NOT having another one to fill the baby gap. Absolutely not.
I’ll get used to it, I know I will, but for the moment, my mind keeps wandering. What is he doing? Is he having fun? Is he doing what he should be doing? Whilst those thoughts fly around my head, time seems to go so slowly, each minute feeling more like an hour.
He enjoyed his first day there, coming out with a huge smile on his face and crying this morning because he was too excited to wait until this afternoon. His teacher said that he was full of confidence and that I would have been very proud of him if I could have seen him.
It’s not just him that has had to jump up a big step this September at school. Alex started year one – whilst their school is still very relaxed and play-based, year one is always going to be that bit more formal than reception, and expectations are higher. Harrison has started Junior school, and he is absolutely thriving there. He loved his Infant school and got on really well, but I think he needs the formality and structure of junior school to really come into his own.
I feel like this week we have all really entered into a completely new stage of our lives. I don’t have any babies or toddlers anymore. I have three children of school age. Whilst I’ve worked for myself since before Ben was born, I still felt like ‘just’ mum. A mum who did a bit of casual writing work around the kids. Now, it’s time to use that time when they’re not here to really focus on my business, to make it grow even more. I’ve got two business meetings lined up in the next month, which I have never done. Before, I could hide behind the excuse that I didn’t have any childcare. I don’t have that excuse anymore!
So, whilst my children are all busy learning and growing at school, I’ll be doing the same, whilst listening to the buzzing of the fridge and the ticking of the clock and counting down the minutes until my babies are back home.