Thursday, 15 September 2016

Starting school and the social media guilt

Caleb started school yesterday. After him having almost 9 weeks off for the summer holidays, it seemed so surreal that his first day was finally here. There have been times over the holidays when I just wish that they would last longer and that I wouldn't have to send him to school and other times when he was being a beast that I thought that his time at school couldn't come soon enough!

Yesterday morning we were all up in good time for him to get ready. He seemed a little subdued which is quite unlike him and asked if I would be there with him at school, to which I responded that I wouldn't, but he seemed okay with that. Seth came with us to drop him off at school, which I was glad for! I always appreciate that bit of moral support, ha! We walked around the building to Caleb's classroom and he held my hand the entire time but as soon as we got there, he dropped my hand, allowed me to kiss him goodbye and went in quite happily! I was so pleased that he was okay and it definitely made it easier for me. Seth looked at me to see if I was okay and I actually was, I didn't cry which I was surprised about as I thought that I would.

Would it have been wrong if I did cry? No, of course it wouldn't, I'm sending my baby to school for the first time and it's a big deal. Is it wrong that I didn't cry? No. It's still a big deal that it's his first day at school, but it just didn't happen and that's fine too.

In the last couple of weeks leading up to Caleb starting school, even though I have tried to avoid it, there have been so many poems, etc. all over social media about children starting school, sending our babies away (as if they were going away forever!) and how we would lose them. One of them I found particularly lovely and horrible at the same time and I bawled my eyes out. It was one of those where the parent is apprehensive about letting her child go and then there is a teacher's response about how she will look after the child. Anyway, it's lovely but it made me sob. I was feeling completely fine about Caleb starting school until I read that. It took me a couple of days and then I was feeling fine again but it did make me think about how much things like that and social media can influence the way we think and wonder if we're doing it right! By "it", I mean motherhood, life, sending kids off to school, all that stuff. Caleb was going to be going to school and that's just what happens when they turn four. I felt a little sentimental and emotional about it but nothing major. Then when I read all of the sentimental stuff, or some friends' statuses saying how sad they are to send their children off to school and I wonder, do I not care enough? Should I be more bothered about this than I actually am? AM I EMOTIONALLY DEAD??!

The conclusion I came to is that it's fine to feel as I am and have been feeling. It doesn't make me a rubbish Mum because I didn't cry as I dropped Caleb off and it doesn't make you a weak Mum if you cried when you dropped your child off. We all just deal with things in different ways and that's okay. Now despite how it may seem, I actually like social media, I use it all the time! I'm on facebook, instagram and twitter (although I still haven't got to grips with how twitter works!), I have a blog, etc. But I think that so often people, including myself can almost use it as a measuring stick to rate their performance. I will look at people's photos of an amazing day out with their children and they all have big smiles on their faces and on that day, I will have had a particularly rubbish day where I have been in a bad mood, the kids have been in a bad mood and everything has gone wrong. And sometimes I look at those pictures and feel like I'm not a great Mum.

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine posted a collage of pictures on facebook of her, her husband and her daughter and what looks like it was a wonderful day out. She had commented that it was a great day, but that she was exhausted as her daughter was teething and running away a lot of the time and at one point in the day, she had been surrounded by loads of wasps. You would never guess that from the picture and her commentary just made me smile because it was so honest! As Seth has said to me before, "the only reason people take pictures of bad things is for insurance purposes" (car accidents, etc. And it's SO TRUE! We don't often see the rough times in those photos that we see. Perhaps I'm as guilty of that as anyone. There's nothing wrong with posting pictures of all the fun times, indeed they should be documented! But what I'm trying to learn is not to judge how I am as a mother by what I see on facebook and instagram. I have good Mum days and bad Mum days. I sometimes shout at my children and they have had cereal for dinner on more than one occasion because on that day I just can't be bothered to cook.  I think that it can be so easy to compare other people's best with our worst and feel inferior and inadequate because of that.

At the end of the day, I've decided that we are all just people, Mums, husbands, wives, whatever, just going about, living our lives and trying to do the best that we can.There's no right or wrong way to do it (unless it's illegal of course, then there is definitely a wrong way to do it!) and no right or wrong way to act in particular circumstances. And again back to the whole starting school thing - it's easy to think that there is a certain way that you should be feeling because that is how some other people might feel but what we do and how we feel is and should be down to us, without anything else influencing us. This post has ended up being a bit of a rant hasn't it?! I guess that what I'm trying to say is just be yourself in how you think and feel and do what is right for you. THE END!
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  1. Very well said Kirsty! X

  2. I love this. Love, love, love it. It's all so true! It's totally fine that you didn't cry! In my case, I cannot wait for Isaac to go to preschool part time. I will miss him, but I know how much he will love it, and I will love having some precious time with Olivia. It's funny how this motherhood thing works!

  3. love this post Kirsty, I loved your confession of cereal!!!! I love a bowl of cereal for tea and we love it when we have beans on toast when Dad is working late!!!