This week social media is alive with pictures of little children smiling at the school gate, clutching brand new book bags and sporting shiny shoes. Tips for parents on how to cope with their child's first day, tales of parents who couldn't wait for this moment and of those who are dreading it fill my news-feed on an hourly basis.
Earlier in the summer, a middle aged husband, lets call him Mr X, wrote an anonymous letter to The Guardian lamenting his wife for refusing to entertain the possibility of a return to work even though both their children have been at full-time school for some time. Indeed, the eldest is about to start college.
I've always been told that parenting is putting the kid's needs before your own, I know I'm going to miss so much about living in Hove; the beach, the coffee shops, the unlimited types of club or activities you can try. I'm actually quite sad to leave but before I know it their childhood is going to go by in a flash so my focus has to be on what they need right now.
I've always been a traditionalist, my friends at school used to laugh at my 'old fashioned ways'. As a parent the educational path of your child is pretty traditional and easy to follow, you have lots of messy fun with them and then off to school until, well pretty much until they leave home. So off we both went on to another stage of our lives.
Working from home is both a privilege and a challenge. When you add two young daughters into the mix, it can be a nightmare. But, thankfully, I'm not the first to travel down this road. There are key habits I've adopted over the past few years that have proven instrumental in my success.
This year, as midnight ticked past on 31st August, and September rolled around again, I felt a tangible sense of relief. I was finally sure that my soon-to-arrive grandchild, whose due date is in early September, had crossed the school starting age barrier between September 2020 and September 2021
I like being right ... in fact, I love being right, and probably even more so than this, if I'm truly honest with myself, I really don't like being wrong. So, when a conversation happened last night with one of my girls and I had to step back and accept that actually her view was far more beautiful than mine, something she said really resonated.
As it is increasingly difficult for children to fly the nest and move into their own property, more and more families are finding they need extra space at home to accommodate their older children. As garden rooms can be installed within 15-20 days and don't usually require planning permission they are becoming popular solutions for over-stretched households
Dear Mrs Griffiths, I regret to inform you that I have been unsuccessful in fulfilling some/any of your Summer holiday homework tasks, due to my misjudging the speed at which these six weeks have now whizzed past. Not quite the life sentence I had anticipated..
Like that child who made me mother 10 years ago is slipping through my hands. There are things I want to teach you, things I want you to know. Things I want you to be as certain of as your heartbeat.
You have four kids. Set realistic expectations for yourself, and start accepting what your heart has already has embraced--that you need sleep at night, and your children need you. You will one day get more restful sleep when your kids are sleeping away at college, or in their own apartments. And you'll miss those tiny arms around your neck at night.
So, do those of us with 'different families' feel any additional anxiety surrounding their children starting school? Should we take be taking further steps in settling our children (and us) into the school community?
Although we have two adult daughters, we have never been troubled by empty nest syndrome. We became foster carers when our girls were teens, and our home has never stopped being a hub of family life. Throw in a rascal of a grandchild and you will get a sense of the gentle chaos that is our home life.
There is no time to lose. The crisis is already upon the sector, and it is vital that the new Education Secretary, Justine Greening, and the Childcare Minister, Caroline Dinenage, get to work immediately to address the problems left behind by their predecessors and ensure our childcare sector is properly staffed to deliver on important childcare support for parents.
Parenting is hard work and when faced with entertaining our little people for six whole weeks it can make us a little crazy. Factor in the financial burden as well and this time of year can become more expensive than christmas.
Sociologists typically look at the sandwich generation as an ageing phenomenon but, for me, the experience hit me too young. It is only recently that life has started to re-find its equilibrium. Mum's recovery has been slow and taken huge bravery on her part.