starting school, perfect mum myth, mama disrupt

Is your child starting school, too? A message from one mum to another

In Features, Motherhood, Stories by Nicole Fuge

As mothers, we are conditioned to prepare our children for significant life events – starting school is one of them. But the truth is, are we ever really prepared ourselves?

By Nicole Fuge, Mama Disrupt® Managing Editor

For weeks, I have been a mess. I have written lists and gone over everything in my head to make sure she (I really mean me) is ready for starting school.

We have made sure school uniforms fit just right, shopped for the perfect backpack, been professionally fitted for school shoes and double-checked stationery supplies. We’ve even tried to get on top of sleep routines again. But no amount of physical preparation ever seems to be enough to hold off the emotional weight of these massive milestones.


starting school, mama disrupt

Navigating Mixed Emotions

I am oscillating between joy at seeing my daughter grow, while also worrying about how she will adapt to her new environment. Will she find friends easily? Will she like her teacher? Each question brings its own set of fears and hopes.

I just hope I’ve done enough to prepare her for the world. Which is a strange thing to think about when she’s only five years old. But there is something particularly hard-hitting about these first five years.

I keep looking back at photos and reminiscing (as you do around any rites of passage), wondering have I been a good enough mum? Have I made the most of this time together? I know I’ve done my best, but the guilt still sets in, and it stings.

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Finding Comfort in Letting Go

Watching her walk into her classroom at her new school, with an uncertain but brave smile, I felt a surge of pride mixed with an indescribable sadness. Because this new chapter is as much about my own growth as it is about her’s (especially being my firstborn); a realisation that is both daunting and liberating.

I want to hold onto her so tightly, but also understand that letting go is an act of love. I need to trust her to make her own path, to learn from her experiences, and to become her own person.

And I am (slowly) finding solace in our newfound distance, recognising it as a necessary part of both our journeys.

So to all of you who are walking through the school gates for the first time today, I see you. I am you.

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