Reuben started playgroup last week. There were many days I wondered if we’d ever get here, or more truthfully if I would be around to see it – read more about that here.
When our babies are little, and we’re sleep deprived, everyone always says “enjoy these days, they will go past too fast”. I remember those quips well. I also remember thinking that no day ever went fast enough! Now I kind of understand, although I’ve promised myself not to utter them to another mum. These past 3 years have been really, really hard, and some days I am not sure whether they have flown by or have dragged on forever, it depends how I’m feeling, I guess.
Anyway, here we are. Reuben has his uniform, his school bag and I have a 3 year old who attends playgroup, 3 mornings a week! AHHHHH!!!
Let’s start with Reuben – he LOVES it! Seriously, he loves every minute of it. He is so ready for this season and to be in a new environment – he loves the news toys, the new friends and all the new adventures. On the first day he cried because he had to COME HOME …with me … he wanted to stay with the “teachers”!! I also happen to think that he looks really cute in his uniform and you have no idea how proud he is, to put in on each morning.
Speaking of proud, I am also proud of Reuben and I am proud of us – we made it! We have survived until this point, in spite of everything, and he is a happy, confident, sociable 3 year old who loves life. As I watch him head off in the class, there is a little bubble of pride bursting inside of me, with each of his steps.
It’s safe to say I have been quite anxious about playgroup – not about Reuben (I have been quite convinced he’d be fine, he’s been asking to go since the open day in March) but about me. It’s another major change in routine for me/us and routine is how I have survived these past years…
“My only survival was a strict routine. If that was broken, all hell broke loose in my head. I was like a Gina Ford machine, but for nothing else other than to try to relieve the pain the fear was causing. I walked twice every day, at certain times with the buggy. Reuben feed, napped, played at very specific times and I could not cope if a knock at the door/phone ringing interrupted my rest during his morning nap. That would set me off course for the whole day. I was a slave to this routine, I see that now. I needed to know of any changes well in advance – I hid this, by pretending Reuben needed to me kept in his pattern, when in fact it was me.” Read more of that post here
But, so far so good. I (mostly) remembered to self-care last week, when I needed to. I have accepted that this week I am exhausted because I have been working so hard to manage and to keep on top of my mental health – that’s okay, I can rest more if I need to. And I have had a few extra naps, which have helped. I’ve tried not to dwell on the ‘new’ but go with the flow a little more, accepting that I will also find a routine in this season, as time goes on. For those of you who know me, I’m not a fan of change… the world doesn’t even sit well with
“It doesn’t matter whether the change is big or small, the best idea or the worst, I am still stubborn and reluctant! The only time it’s remotely different is if it’s something that I have come to a decision about… ALONE!” Read more of that post here
I’ve also written before about how nervous I’ve been about being around other mums, not because of them but because of me…
“I have hidden behind the buggy, walking the pavements, roads and Greenway, for months on end, afraid to slow down or stop. I have avoided ‘Mums and Tots’, playgroups, Rhythm and Rhyme, soft play, play parks or making any new mum friends, for fear that I will be ‘found out’. That others will see me as I see myself – not really a true mum. That they will work out that I have failed to manage the most natural of things- birth and breast feeding – which in my mind are the first ‘mum tests’. I have been terrified that everything I felt internally would emerge externally, and I would be left even more ashamed and alone.” Read more from that post here
I guess that’s been on my mind too, knowing that I’d now begin to meet new mums (or dads) on a regular basis and wonder what they might think of me. But surprisingly I have got over that, somehow! I realised last week they aren’t thinking of me or judging how I am with Reuben – they have other more important things on their mind! Like getting to pick up on time, getting their little ones coat on/off, hearing about their day or checking in with the teacher. I don’t cross their mind at all, in the way I had always feared – as if they would look at me and ‘know’ that I there was something ‘wrong’ with me or how I felt about being a mum. The even better thing in, the other mums are lovely. I have met a few, as we’ve dropped off/picked up, and had a wee chat and they are great. They are just like me. I have heard a little from some of them to know that they also have own struggles and issues with motherhood, parenting, life etc. In truth, who doesn’t? Whether or not it’s PND (or similar) we all have something going on in our lives, it’s important for me to remember that!
So…PND & Playgroup? Well, so far, so good. Reuben is thriving, I am surviving. And I reckon we are going to be more than ok!
How have you found the new term? I’d love to hear you’re stories too!