As a stay at home parent, I have always wondered if sending my toddler to nursery seems selfish. I worried that people would think I was lazy or didn’t enjoy my time with my daughter. I also worried that if I kept her home with me all of the time, she wouldn’t develop those crucial social skills that she would need in time for starting school in a few short years. I have finally bit the bullet though and my girl starts preschool/nursery (not sure of the difference) this week.
We are starting slow, a morning on a Thursday including lunch club and a school day on a Monday. I am both excited and terrified. Excited because I get a little bit of me time back. Sounds a bit wanky doesn’t it, ‘me time’, but with my husband working the long hours he does I never ever get the opportunity to do anything outside of the house alone. I will no longer have to drag Isabelle round the shops or to the post office. She won’t have to accompany me to do all the boring life admin tasks that take up a reasonable chunk of time when you are dragging a reluctant toddler around with you. I feel like it will mean the time we do spend together, we can do fun stuff. It also means that I will get a little bit of time alone with my husband. He isn’t around in the evenings and so the only time we see each other is for a few hours in the day, when obviously we always have our daughter with us. I’m not complaining about that of course, they have developed the most wonderful relationship recently and they spend hours playing silly games and winding me up for their childish amusement, but I do long for a little bit of 1:1 time with the man I married. We plan on using our Mondays alone to have date days. A trip to the cinema, shopping, a lazy breakfast or long lunch. I really can’t wait, I think it will do wonders for our relationship. Sometimes our marriage gets lost in the chaos of family life doesn’t it, so I can’t wait to put a bit of effort back into it.
Another plus point for me is the dreaded CRAFTS. I loathe crafts. We spend all day colouring and have every type of crayon and colouring book imaginable but I hate all other types of craft. I hate cutting and sticking. I hate painting. I hate glitter and mess. I have the obligatory play doh and all of that jazz but if I can pay someone to do all the messy play with Isabelle that I really don’t want to do then I will definitely make the most of that. I may allow a bit of painting outside once the weather improves, but we have foolishly just ordered white carpets for the lounge and so I will be encouraging her to let her crafty side out at nursery as much as possible.
Of course the main thing is for my girl to develop new relationships. It will be so strange not being there to translate her toddler talk, or direct her the right way throughout her day. It won’t be just me and my husband teaching her how to interact with other adults and make friends with the other children. These are skills she will have to learn to develop on her own. I really hope she plays nicely and listens to what the staff tell her to do. I hope she sees the other children eating their lunch nicely and follows suit. She seems so tiny compared to the others I saw when I went to check the place out and I hope she doesn’t get pushed around.
I have spent ages teaching her to recognise her own name, I have bought her a new back pack and water bottle. She has a pile of new ‘nursery clothes’ ready to put on and I have been going no and on about how fun it will be when she starts ‘school’ with all of the other children. She seems excited. I don’t think she quite understands yet that I will be leaving her there despite me explaining it a few times but I will no doubt be hanging around in the car park for a few minutes after drop off to do the inevitable peep through the window to check she is ok once I have left.
I have even booked myself a nail appointment for while she is there on her first day. Not too far away (just in case) but to keep me busy so I don’t go home and flick through the baby photo albums sobbing into a coffee about how old she is and how guilty I feel. It will be good for her, I just know it. It will be good for me too.