Wednesday 2 May 2018

Watch the step-change

My life is about to change. As of September, I will have two kids at secondary school. I will no longer be a mum of young children. Yikes! Where did those years go? Cue midlife crisis.

Garden statue with her arms raised in jubilation
Freedom at last?
But before I plummet into mourning, I am trying to convince myself that a new, exciting era is about to dawn... Yes! More freedom! I will no longer be wholly defined by my relationship with my children. As they become more autonomous, so will I.

It takes some getting used to. For over a decade, my routines have been centered around mothering. With the kids aged between 10 and 14, we recently hit the parenting sweet-spot. The kids still loved having us around, but the high-maintenance years were done and dusted. Enjoy it while it lasts, a friend advised. And we have! They have been happy, fun-filled years.

Which is why I feel apprehensive about letting my little one go. My role as a parent will be subtly altered. Not so much hands-on as 'Don't be embarassing'. My eldest started secondary school three years ago and now manages her own life quite proficiently. She still needs me and my husband for moral support, but most of the time we watch with pride as she strides out towards adulthood.

One-way road

Now that my son is on the verge of a similar transformation, I don't feel quite so chipper. To be honest, it was nice having a foot in both camps. Cuddles from one and a growth mindset from the other. But there's no point fighting the inevitable. As parents, we are headed down a one-way road with diminishing returns on kisses before bedtime.

Change in itself is a positive force. Getting into a rut - even a comfortable one - can be enervating. As one door closes, another opens, full of possibilities. No doubt when my youngest steps onto that school bus in September, I'll be feeling a bit weepy, but he won't be the only one growing

While he's adapting to Latin, new friends and homework every night, I'll be planning my own transformation. (Not sure what yet, but I'm sure it will come to me 😉.) In the meantime, I'll be cherishing those cuddles for as long as I can...

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