When your eldest child starts school, there can be lots of varying emotions that may surface. It is an end of a significant stage of their journey and yours as a parent. It is quite common that we as parents feel more emotional than our kids at this time. It is a point of letting go as a parent of what was and what will be.
Give yourself some time to reflect on your journey with your child. Allow yourself the space to feel whatever emotions arise and express them.
There will be a mixture. There might be some numbness, uncertain about what you feel. This is ok. Sit with it, there might be other emotions underneath.
Sadness is common as we remember their journey as a baby, toddler, pre-schooler and now school. We can feel the sense of loss of these times, what was experienced, what we loved, what we want to hold onto but can’t. Also, there maybe a mourning for the loss of time that you may spend with them especially if you are a stay-at-home parent.
Fear and excitement maybe experienced, as these are emotions about the future. There may be apprehension about how it will all work? Will they fit in? Will they have a similar school experience to us? If school was not the happiest place for you, old school memories of your own may surface. Remember your child is different from you and their experience will be different from yours. There may be excitement about finishing a stage of parenting and making it to this point. The five years since you first brought your baby home until this day may have been a felt like a long time with many challenges and there may even be relief. There will be exciting new challenges ahead or maybe more time to focus on other personal priorities.
Anger can also be experienced as it indicates that this is not exactly what you want or maybe it is not meeting your expectations of how you wanted it to be.
When we experience many of the emotions at the same time it can feel overwhelming so emotional self-care is vital. Give yourself some time by yourself and with others to experience the emotions fully and allow it to be what it is.
It is a milestone. You might want to have a family celebration and/or a parent one after school drop off is complete. Moments like these pass by quickly, honour it for what it is, a milestone that you have reached with your child.
– Give yourself time to feel, it is natural to have lots of varying emotions
– Talk to your partner, close and supportive friends about your experience
– Honour the experience with a celebration, honour your beautiful child
– On the first day of school, after drop off, go out and have a cuppa, savour the moment
– Connect with others mothers at the school
– Acknowledge what an awesome job you have done to raise a beautiful child that is going out into the wider community to express themselves.
Parenting is about letting go of the child at many stages of their life to allow them to grow into who they are.
Emotional Intelligent Parent Coach