My eldest son is starting school this coming Thursday. We've been a very attached family, always keeping our children close. We love doing everything together and have our own little rhythm to our lives. The downside no one warned me about with being so attached is just how much it's breaking my heart for him to go to school.
Each member of our family is an integral part, DH works full time, I work 2 days a week - on those 2 days our boys were in family day care with a mum that treated them as her own. The other 5 days of the week we'd spend the days swimming, adventuring in the bush, visiting, sitting up late on hot nights to watch the stars together, we snuggle together in bed each morning reading and then cook breakfast together. DS has such an amazing imagination he is often directing a lot of the play and adventuring. I just can't imagine not having him be a part of all our adventuring anymore. And having to fit our lives around a school day now.
It's not just the time he's away - then there will be home work, and making sure he gets to bed at a normal time so he's not too tired for school. No more spontaniety and spur of the moment day trips.
Why did no one warn me that by creating such an attached little family unit it'd break my heart to send him to school?
And please tell me your stories of how your family stayed connected when your children started school and how you found a balance between school life and family life.
My dd and I always had a routine to our lives and staying attached has never meant leaving the house to do things so it was easy to fit daycare after my divorce then school when dd was five into our lives and still stay attached. I find that attachment comes for us when we read together, when we talk and I truly listen to what dd is telling me, and when I make an effort to spend time doing what dd asks to do whether it is a day staying only at home or a day out at the zoo. Starting school is tough for everyone, there are a lot of books written on the subject for kids and it is generally a time when kids do better with the separation than the adults. Starting school doesn't mean that you won't have time to snuggle and read together, cook together, take walks, swim, have late nights, or stop letting him direct play. It just means you shift the timing of the things that go on daily a bit and have adventures on the weekends and holidays. Homeschooling may also be something to consider if traditional school won't fit into your schedules.
It is a little tough to see them head out into the world, no doubt. I enjoyed watching them grow and develop as their world expanded though. I also made a lot of effort to keep myself involved in that new, larger world.
I volunteered in the classroom and at the school, made friends with other parents and families in the school community, and kept myself involved in their learning. There is no reason you can't remain attached just because they have attend school for a few hours every day. Best wishes with finding that balance.
Thanks for the replies. I'm feeling a little calmer about it today. I'm not good with big changes either and have never liked being away from my boys so combine the two and I'm having a few freak outs. I've thought about it a lot and realised that school life doesn't have to change so much about our family. We can still cook breakfast together, just get up a little earlier and be organised. There's still time for visits to the park and beach and bush after school. I'll do things like housework and grocery shopping while he's at school and switch off the computer on the weekends to make the most of our time together. I'm sure there are plenty of families that maintain a very close little family with parents working and children at school. It may take a little more effort than it has when he's been home with us, but definitely possible.
And thanks for the suggestion of being involved with his school. It's a lovely little school with a strong focus on community so there will be plenty of opportunities.