This month I find myself at a parenting junction. My little side kick, my youngest, my baby girl has 'come of age' and is ready to forge headlong into the world and go it alone.
When I look at her I think of her experiencing wonderful new surroundings, exciting new experiences, meeting new friends........No, she’s not starting a new job or leaving home to move into her own house, or emigrating............
...she is three years old and nursery is calling!!
Now in my experience, the parenting camp is a bit divided here. Some of us can't wait for this day to come. You hear things like 'a hot cup of coffee with no interruptions - bliss!' or 'I'm rejoining the gym to go in search of my abdominals - go me!' or “I can’t wait to do something for me”
Others are far more reluctant to accept this as a rite of passage - we cry more than they do at the settle in session and then pretend to be busy, but of course keep one eye on the clock until finally it's pick up time. Honestly, either way, I reckon you feel you're in the wrong.
Either you are deemed unfeeling and flippant or you're a clingy and overbearing mother earth type! So once again, it can feel a bit like we are out there on our own and getting it all back to front (aren't we always as parents?!) But here I was, facing up to the idea that actually it was time to let go...just a little bit and get used to the first step towards an “empty nest”, was I ready??????
When she sobbed huge gloopy tears, head down, pudgy little hand in mine outside the classroom door, I won't lie - I felt like scooping her up and leaving the nursery there and then.
What I actually did even surprised me. I handed her over to the lovely, welcoming, warm and very patient staff member (who clearly had seen it all before, but pretended not to) I then smiled at her squeezed her hand and I left.
I only managed to get as far as the car park, before a deep pull inside caused me to get out my mobile phone to ring and ask someone to covertly check that she wasn't hyperventilating. Was that wrong???????
On learning that she was happily settled at a table creating colouring chaos, and grateful it wasn't my furniture that would suffer the consequences that morning, I took a deep breath put the car into gear and pulled away.
It was actually a day of firsts for both of us. I'd long been advised by family and friends to relax more and do something for me, and so, buoyed up by their enthusiasm, I signed up for a yoga class.
Much as it pained me to admit, perhaps a little break each week might be a very positive and welcome change both for me AND for “Little Legs”.
Dare I say it, but I am tired! Sometimes as a single parent, I do feel isolated and overwhelmed by the responsibilities that comes with raising children.
Being a Mum is my favourite thing in the world, but what happens when you feel like you have very little left in you to give?
I held my head high, took a deep breath, pushed open the door to the yoga class and went to meet MY new 'classmates'.
I broke a proper sweat (I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing?!) And twice I almost fell flat on my face during some sort of position that to me felt my body should never try.... but the instructor reassured me that mastering the practice of yoga takes time...and time is what I have a little more of now ....a small window each week to replenish depleted reserves and nurture myself. It feels good!
Whilst it's a transition for us both, it’s my beautiful little girl who benefits two fold. At nursery gaining valuable life skills, and at home, where I aim to be more chilled out and less of a 'mummy monster' as a result of my new hobby!
Two weeks in and she's already asking each day 'is it my nursery today?' She is excited and looking ahead. I am too - and didn't someone once say that absence actually makes the heart grow fonder?
Oh, and yes, it's nice to know that my abdominals are still in there somewhere too!
To be continued....it is a journey after all.