Elsie started preschool today.
She couldn’t have been more ready as she hopped from foot to foot whilst helping me prepare her first ever packed lunch. However, last night it felt like I’d had a massive wake up call that my last day with Elsie had gone. Of course, it hasn’t and we have many days ahead, but it’s not the same is it? Those early days when they rely solely on you and don’t have any real expectations – they’re the days we won’t get back.
It made me wonder, had I made those days fun enough? Had I encouraged her as much as I could of? Did we spend too long in the house? After all, she spent those early days with me, for the most part, whilst Matt was at work.
I feel this enormous pressure, as a stay at home mum, to turn out well rounded, healthy children. Did I give in to ‘chuck it in the oven meals’ too many times? It feels like it’s on me and if Elsie struggles or doesn’t enjoy preschool maybe it’s because I haven’t developed her love of learning the way I should have?!
Even typing that, I can see that I sound ridiculous. But it doesn’t stop the guilt. As I fell asleep last night (which didn’t take long) I thought back to her birth, our breastfeeding journey, how she hated nursery when I was pregnant with Mabel and struggling, her first birthday, learning to walk whilst in Fuerteventura, burning her hand and hearing her scream in pain as the nurse peeled the remains of her palm from her hand…and everything thereafter. And it made me realise, Elsie has done A LOT OF STUFF.
Not every day has been sunshine and rainbows but, on the whole, Elsie has had an amazing childhood…so far. She’s had her mum home with her for her whole life (lucky her!), she’s grown up with brothers and sisters, she’s got a nice home and garden, she’s been to playgroups, she’s been abroad more times than probably many adults…remember this…
…we’ve baked, she’s learnt to ride a bike, she rides a scooter better than most 5 year olds and she’s hilariously funny. Elsie’s life is not bad and, if anything, she’s luckier than a lot of children who haven’t or can’t have the same experiences that she’s been fortunate enough to have.
So, if you’re feeling the same, please remember that whilst everyday might not have been amazing. You did your best. They don’t remember the days you plonked them in front of the TV just to get the washing done or downloaded an app to give you half an hour to sit in silence before you lost your shit. The memories of the happy times, the photographs and the stories you tell them of their younger days will be what they remember.
I can’t wait to hear about her day!