The uniform has been bought, buddies met and orientation days done. We’re off to school this week.
I have a strange hole in my heart about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for Mr Meat & Potatoes who has been keen to catch up to his big sister, but I’m also feeling a little empty for myself and what this means for our little family idyll. I’m feeling now that I am no longer needed (between 9-3) and I don’t know what will happen next. Once all of the kids are at school, there’s an expectation that we need to head off and ‘get a life’ (as if we are slightly sad, useless creatures), but only one that fits around everyone else’s busy schedules – mums are never entirely free, are we?
I guess I am lucky – Vegie Smugglers has bought in a good part-time income and kept my CV interesting rather than gappy. It’s only 2 years since I worked regularly as a magazine designer and my skills are still pretty relevant. It’s not the case for many women. At the tea & coffee table on the final orientation day, I got chatting to a woman who is farewelling her third (and last) child. The others are in year 3 and 5. She was looking anguished.
“Time to go back to work?” I asked.
“But what would I do, I have no skills”, she said, “Well, maybe deep down I have some skill somewhere, but nothing important”.
I was shocked. A beautifully turned out, friendly woman who has a track record of 12 years of loyal service, compassion and strength, thinks her future is bleak since her most recent experience is just being ‘a mum’.
I can’t express how angry I am about the relegation of the most crucial role in our society. Being a financier who can fill in forms and read spreadsheets, now THERE are skills. But a woman who can mentally, logistically and emotionally hold together a family for 12 years deems herself ‘useless’.
Another woman recently confided to me that sending her youngest off to kindy was followed by a good 3 months of depression as she shifted to her new life.
Ironically, the transition to motherhood triggered depression for me and I’m not eager to relive it as I mourn my babies growing up and leaving me. So I’m keen to hear from wise women who’ve been through this transition and can advise how to keep it as positive and smooth as possible.
So words of wisdom… please….
2/2/12 UPDATE: Yay! First day done and dusted. All went well – a bit of a relief to get things all underway. Thanks to everyone for your lovely emails and posts. My best friend took this pic this morning without me knowing and I love it – my little boy and me both heading off into our futures…