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Why I won’t be crying at the school gates

Next week, my little girl will start school.  Every day I read another blog post or Facebook status about what an emotional experience it is seeing them off for that first day.  But I won’t be sad.  And I know you already think less of me for it, you’ve got me down as a bad mother.  The type that doesn’t care about my little girl.  Doesn’t worry about how she’ll get on and won’t miss her when she’s not around every day.

But you’re wrong, I do care.  I care enough to have looked around all the local schools and found the one that was right for her.  I care enough to make a 45 minute round trip morning and afternoon because the class sizes are small and they help children with the sort of difficulties that she’s likely to experience.

And I will miss her.  I’ll miss her enough to have given up my career when she was just five months old to allow us to have four amazing years together.  I’ll miss the days we’ve spent going to playgroups, trampolining, ballet lessons, soft play, cafés, walking, running, cycling and just being at home together.The amazing achievements of children. Thursday photo #117My daughter is young for her year.  She has problems with her eyes and in the past she’s been heartbroken when parents turned a blind eye to their children being unkind to her.  She can’t catch a ball or run very fast and she’s soft-natured and has no idea what to do in the face of bullying.  I have every reason to worry about her and shed a tear as she embarks on school life.

But I won’t, because it’s not about me.  When I wave her off at those school gates, I’ll be kissing goodbye to a happy, excited little girl who can’t wait to get in there.  A child that wants to learn, make friends, get stuck into the school messy play and get to know her teachers.  She’ll always be my baby but she’s not a baby anymore, she’s her own person.

And the little person she has become is someone who relishes all the opportunities school presents her with.  By allowing myself to let my emotions get in the way of her happiness I’d not only be imposing my own feelings onto her, but I’d be allowing negativity to creep into a positive, optimistic, open little mind.20160829_122147-01I am an adult, as are all those other parents waving to their children at the school gates.  We all have our own thoughts and feelings about our children’s impending school days.  But we have no right to show them.  As grown-ups, it’s our responsibility to put our children’s needs before our own.

I know my daughter well enough to know that she needs positive words of encouragement, a quick hug and a big smile as I walk away.  And that’s what she’ll get, because I’m genuinely happy for her as she embarks on the next exciting chapter of her life.Back to School with House of Fraser



  1. September 3, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    I think you may surprise yourself, though. I’m not a big crier, and I didn’t cry when I dropped my daughter off for her first day of school, but I did feel tearful as I walked out of school without her – it was something that hit me without me expecting it – just the thought of realising I was leaving her, for the first time, in someone else’s care, for an entire day, and I was worried about her. Same thing for her last day of primary school, when I felt a bit tearful but hadn’t expected to AT all.

    • September 3, 2016 / 7:14 pm

      Eek I hope not! I’ll hold it together when I’m with her, that’s the important part.x

  2. September 3, 2016 / 5:30 pm

    What a lovely post and a refreshing attitude to have. You’re so right, so many posts on starting school are about the parents’ needs and feelings and not what is right for the child. I shed a few tears when all of mine started school, but not until I was halfway up the road and out of sight of the kids.

    • September 3, 2016 / 7:14 pm

      Thank you Sarah. I think that crying up the road is perfectly acceptable, as long as they don’t see you getting upset they’re more likely to be fine.x

  3. September 3, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    This is such a lovely post and she will be all the more confident and happy because of your attitude towards school for her. She looks like such a little sweetheart and I wish her all the best in her new adventure. I was very emotional with Sophia starting I have always found it hard to let her go i am so sensitive I cry at anything but I agree with how you say to not put those feelings on your children as it really will make it harder for them. Sophia is actually looking so forward to going back to school on Monday. She has so much to tell her friends about her summer. Lovely post lovely I really enjoyed reading it xx

    • September 3, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      Oh thank you so much Tanita. I’m glad Sophia is looking forward to going back to school, I hope it all goes brilliantly for her.x

  4. September 3, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    I love this. I felt exactly the same about Harrison starting reception last year – I wasn’t worried in the slightest and was excited for him because I knew how he would thrive there. Not a single tear was shed from either of us in the morning. In fact, he cried after school because he didn’t want to come home. My middle one starts nursery in a couple of weeks and he is so excited and I feel exactly the same about him. Great post, and I hope she gets on well – it sounds like she will love it at school!

    • September 3, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      Ah I’m so glad i’ts not just me! Funny that he cried because he didn’t want to come home! Good luck to them all for the new term.x

  5. September 3, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    Thanks Mel and I think Libby will be exactly the same, she can’t wait!xx

  6. September 3, 2016 / 7:34 pm

    This is a beautifully written post. I have to confess I am feeling emotional about my son starting school. I also wish children started later in this country. I may shed a tear. But my son will not see/hear this. He will have nothing but my support and excitement for him. The rest is for me to feel but not to put on him. I hope your lovely daughter does well at school xx

  7. September 3, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    I completely agree. She’s ready for school, she’ll have a great time and although we’ll miss our kids being around – this is their time. We need to let them embrace it without them seeing us moping about it x

  8. September 3, 2016 / 9:21 pm

    A beautiful post. And it is so true. I was so excited for mine as they started school- they were so ready. And they do all love school.
    I did cry though, I cried when the boys started, like their big sister they had to be told to say ‘good bye’ to me by their teacher, so happy were they do be at ‘big school’. Tears of happiness for them and relief that it had gone as expected.
    My daughter’s going into year 3 on Monday, she got dressed in her uniform this morning thinking the day had arrived already. She’s never not wanted to go to school- and your daughter sounds the same- the best time is ahead. x

  9. Agent Spitback
    September 3, 2016 / 11:55 pm

    I loved this post! The first day of school is about our children, embarking on a major milestone and they need us to give them what they need or need to hear to get through that first day.

  10. @BySarahMostly
    September 4, 2016 / 8:12 am

    For me that first day was always so bittersweet. All of my children were excited to start school and I did everything I could to help them be prepared so I couldn’t help but be happy for them. But I think sometimes the emotional bit can creep up on you quite unexpectedly. It did with me anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t cling to them crying in the playground. They never saw anything but a huge grin from me. But starting school is a big deal. Even when they are ready for it, even when you have found the best school, even when you are excited for this new phase. Don’t be too tough on yourself if it does hit you harder than you think. You can be a big bit happy but a tiny bit sad all at the same time without this being negatively passed on to your child x

  11. September 4, 2016 / 8:40 am

    Lovely to read as I feel the same. I’m sure I will feel a bit emotional after I have dropped Monkey off but I won’t cry, as I’m not a big crier, and I certainly won’t show Monkey any emotion other than excitement and happiness and encouragement. I know he will be nervous enough anyway as that’s part of who he is and it’s about him, not me xx

  12. September 5, 2016 / 6:42 am

    Fabulous post! I wasn’t in the least bit emotional as my two went off to school for the first time. To be honest, my youngest is an October baby and had been ready for school for a long, long time before she started, so it was a huge relief when she went trotting off. I just about managed to refrain from putting up the bunting and throwing a party! But, back to your main point, yes you’re absolutely right when you say it’s an exciting time for them and we should make sure we support that. Please do remind me of this next year, when my baby will go off to secondary school 😉 Although, I do have the list of ‘alternative tips’ on my blog to refer to. Love the photos of your gorgeous little girl, she is adorable x

  13. September 5, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    I’m not so secretly dreading next year, I feel like I’m not ready to let Oliver go. But I know he’s done amazingly well in his preschool and was actually really gutted that he’s not going to ‘big’ school too. I thought I’d feel sad that he was gone today, but I think it was just lovely that he was going back to the same staff he left behind. When he started in January I felt a little bit emotional, but I kept it together til I was back in the car. I’ve only cried once and that was because Oliver had already got himself worked up and R was away, which is emotionally draining enough. At least if Oliver gets in to our closest school I won’t have to drive in rush hour traffic any more. Haha.

    I hope Libby’s has an awesome time at school this week. The bonus is that you might have more time to work in the day meaning more quality time in the long run 🙂 (what I tell myself!)

  14. September 12, 2016 / 8:32 am

    Hi Natalie, I think you’ve summed perfectly what it is to be a parent. It’s not about us, it’s about our children and what is best for them. By the time children are of an age to go to school, they are ready to go forth and mix and learn.

    I hope Libby had a fantastic first week and that she’s settling in nicely to the school you have so carefully chosen for her.


  15. September 16, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    …after reading this post the only line I could focus on is ‘parents turning a blind eye to their children being unkind’. I cannot bear this. Sometimes I think some parents want their children to be liked, or popular rather than the kind one. So upsetting and almost infuriating! …not to mention worrying. What a sweet girl you have and she’s so luck to have you as a mum xx

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