With school beginning in Australia this week, even though we now live in the UK, I am reminded of when Thane and Ardyn started primary school. Both of these occasions were intense, exciting, emotional times for us all. I found it particularly confronting personally when Ardyn, my youngest started school.
There where of course the practical and emotional things I wanted to be certain to have in place to ensure Ardyn had as easy a transition as possible. (This post from Mumsnet, ‘Starting primary school’ might be helpful for those of you with children starting primary school for the first time. You have probably thought of most of these items already, but it can’t hurt to check everything is in place). But the less talked about and bigger unknown was my changing role.
I find it interesting that this is the mumsnet advice around this point of how we feel as mums is …
“It can feel horribly empty if your child has always been around for some of the day and then they’re gone for all of it. Well, you can get a hobby, go for tea with other mothers, shave your legs again, get a job or work more hours. And there’s always the holidays.”
I feel this is a big gap. It’s really not that simple, at least I didn’t find it that simple – which is why I work with mums (and dads) to help with their decisions about what is next for them moving into new phases of family life.
For me, to this point, my entire existence for the past 7 years had revolved around our two sons… who was I now? I was a different person, and it was time to start a new phase in my own life now that the intense baby / toddler years had come to an end. It was an enormous opportunity to reinvent myself, of course I had been thinking of this often over the years and in fact I was enrolled to start a masters of teaching (which I had deferred the year before because my Dad got cancer) but it still didn’t feel like quite the right thing to be doing…I felt the pressure of needing to make the ‘right’ choice now…
The prospect of a few child-free hours a day can be very exciting, especially if it is your youngest child starting school. But it can also be daunting, as you deal with all the expectations both you and other people have of what you will ‘do’ now, (as if running a household with young children isn’t enough). Many of my clients use this time to really look hard at what they want do next in their own life.
This is a fantastic opportunity to start something new for yourself – but it is often difficult to decide what that will be, as it needs to fit around the family. Give yourself time and space to deeply contemplate this. A coach can be incredibly useful right now, as we can often get stuck with so many options and our fears around each of them (I know I did!) The most important thing is not to rush it and jump into the first thing that comes along… you may feel pressured to ‘fill the void’, to be seen to doing something useful, but I encourage you to give yourself time to really consider the bigger picture. What is the right direction for you and your family right now? What is the right direction considering that the children will eventually leave home? Take this chance to really create the life you want to be living for the next 50 years!
For those of you in the Northern hemisphere it is a good time to start preparing for September…
If you would like to explore how coaching may help. Please contact me; I would love to show you what is possible. Many of my clients are from far afield, as coaching over the telephone or via Skype is very common, and amazingly effective!
UPDATE on 7th of February: Today we have launched the Online version of The Revitalise Programme – this is a fantastic opportunity to work with other mums I encourage you to check it out, it may be just what you need right now!
Yours in juggling