Babies To Toddlers

Preparing For A New Pre-School

Last week Finley had his first morning at the local village Pre-school. This Pre-school is quite old-school and informal. It reminds me of the kind of nursery/ play group that I would have gone to in the 80s. It’s pretty much a free for all, in a huge village hall, with different toys/ games set up and all the kids just crack on and play where they want.

It’s quite charming really. Pretty relaxed and it’s likely that he will be going to school with a lot of these children next year so I want him build some friendships and an association with the actual big school, which is right next door.

I went back to work part time when Finley was ten months old and so he has always been away from us a certain amount of time in the week and is completely used to it. For all he remembers he lives at home with us but has always spent his week days with Grandparents and at his formal Nursery setting. Then when I returned to full time work, he was spending five days a week outside of our home and away from us being cared for by other people, not Mummy and Daddy.

We are both of the opinion that although it was a circumstance bought about by necessity – it has actually benefited him to not be with me all the time. For one thing, to be quite honest with you – I don’t think I’d be a good seven-day a week parent.

Three days, four days, five even but not seven days – twenty four seven.

I have no problem telling you that, I’m not ashamed to say it out loud. I hear your gasp of horror “why did you have a child then?” – lots of reasons actually but it certainly wasn’t to sacrifice myself entirely and hand over every ounce of my being and sanity to another. I have limits and my limits don’t stretch to 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Not because I don’t love him, not because I am more important or have better things to do. Just because it is what it is, you are who you are and well so far, everyone’s been a winner.

I don’t have enough patience and enough fucking crafty-wotsit ideas to fill up seven whole days. We have three tubes of paint, a box of felt tips and some dinosaur stickers in our ‘Craft Box’ and well, that is as good as its ever going to get folks. I can tolerate all that shit for approximately 24 minutes and then I’m begging for a Netflix break. How would I entertain a three year old for seven days a week? There are only so many soft play centres, so many episodes of Topsy and Tim, so many walks in the woods…

Aside from what a shit Mum I’d be, the other benefits of his independence have been his fantastic relationships with both sets of his Grandparents. With whom he spends a full day with each week. His time with them is completely his own and they have their own routines and rituals and ‘in’ jokes that just belong to them. I never had that with my Grandparents, it was all too obligated and contrived but for him its different and he is very lucky.

He has also established a circle of friends at his Nursery most of them he has known since he was a baby. Being at Nursery since a young age has forced him to be sociable, forced him communicate with other kids and adults. He’s developing a quirky sense of humour that just kills me really, he’s such a joker and I’m sure its something that makes him so popular.

And so ‘Preparing for Pre-school’, wasn’t in any way preparing him for being away from us. He can do that standing on his head. It was more preparing him for a new environment with people he had never met and bloody hell, do I know how terrifying that can be. Being a socially awkward and anxious weirdo myself, I have found that I am therefore brilliant at pre-empting his worries and fears.

I’m the kind of person who worries, worries, worries about something – stresses about it for weeks – but doesn’t tell anyone about it or ask questions and then ends up getting a migraine or not going at all because I can’t cope with the stress of it all. This is exactly the kind of person I don’t want him to be, so I make a point of asking him “Have you got any worries?” and I make time for them.

I don’t believe that boys should be toughened up. I don’t believe we should tell our boys to ‘man up’ or to ‘stop being such a girl’. That way danger lies…

We’ve talked about this Pre-school for a good month before we actually went there, so it wasn’t a shock for him. We also walked by a few times, so he could get an idea in his head of what I was talking about. Of course on the day itself, he wasn’t too eager I can’t lie and tell you that he was enthusiastically bounding out of the house to get there. But we didn’t have any tears, we didn’t have any desperate clinging to my leg or screaming Mummy don’t leave me. After a kiss goodbye he let me go and I went quickly (the worst thing you can do is drag it all out), they told me he had a few wobbles but he was happy enough.

He won’t be too thrilled about going the second or third time I shouldn’t think. I’m anticipating a bit of anxiety but he’ll go and he’ll make the best of it and in time he’ll love going there and make friends and have fun.

And in the meantime we’ll keep talking about it.



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  1. Totally get it.
    However, reading this I got teary. My 2yo starts pre-school/playgroup in January. I work but she has been home with her nanny ( common thing to do in South Africa) for 2 years and they have the most special bond. She sees her big brother going to school and wants to join in, she is so ready. Although I know there will be tears on the 1st day when I leave her in a strange place with strangers for the 1st time.

  2. O get you, I’ve never been a 7 day a week parent. I worked 3 days a week from when my daughter was 8 months and that increased to 4 days by the time she was 3. It was because of necessity but I understood quit quickly that I couldn’t stay at home 7 days a week anyway! Hope he enjoys his pre-school I think it’s a great idea to spend time with the kids he’ll be at school with, we found this helped massively. #stayclassymama

  3. I agree with Lydia’s comment above we are & days a week 24 hours a day parents even when we are not with them, our worrying never stops, our love is constant even when we are driven nuts. I stayed at home with mine but trust me I was not crafty at all, in fact mention playdoh and I’ll freak out! But it was hard, I felt I lost a lot of my identity and my independence. I missed warming an income that made me feel like I was contributing. I know I contributed in other ways and I was busy, but it is different, I was very busy and went to loads of activities with them, but I felt like my brain was shrinking. I think it is great you knew what was best for you. I truly believe that when we feel empowered and happy we are better mum’s. I wouldn’t change my time at home with my kids, but when I started working again I did feel so much better about myself. We all do or at least try to do what we believe is best for our family, for me though I somehow forgot to do what was truly best for me. I realised a couple of years ago that what people say is so true, that we need to put our needs first in order to be the best mum we can be. Once I became happier so did my hubby and our kids. Great post! #stayclassymama

  4. You are always a 7 day a week parent, even when they’re 21 and living out of home…it never stops.
    They love preschool, and those big group games can never be replicated one on one….

  5. This is always a challenge. My daughter went to nursery at 10months when I went back to work. Sounds like you handled this very well. And as above, every child is different and every family routine/environment is different. As long as your child is happy and healthy, your doing a good job! #stayclassymama

  6. I’m totally with you on not being a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week parent. I did that for 12 months while I was on mat leave and it was HARD. And, let’s be honest, often boring. I wish I worked fewer hours so I had a better work-life balance, but I definitely need time out of the house to do my own thing. I think it makes me a better parent, because I appreciate my time with my daughter so much more. #stayclassymama

  7. Glad to hear he is settling in okay. And thank you for admitting that you couldn’t do it 24/7. I’m not sure anybody really can – even super mums must need a break every now and again or the cracks would start to show. #Stayclassymama

  8. Gosh this phase is all so long ago for me. My first breezed through nursery/preschool/school. My second was a bit more anxious but it lasted about three days but my third was a lot trickier (which I found weird as the youngest is usually the bravest and most get-on-with-it). Bottom line, they all get there in the end. Hallelujah for your candour by the way. I love my kids but I’m no Pinterest perfect mum and erm…every November my heart sinks because two of them have birthdays. And I even told them my heart sinks. See? You’re more earth mother than me lol, you socially awkward anxious weirdo 🙂 (Loved the grandparents relationship bit. I never had that either.) #stayclassymama

  9. Awww, your son sounds amazing. How lovely that he has a close relationship with his grandparents too #stayclassymama

  10. I love this, and admire your honesty. I AM a 24/7 parent and that’s my choice, and kind of born out of necessity really, but I know that for many, for most even, it isn’t the choice they make. I hope that he adjusts to pre-school, we are currently going through hell with Eva hating school, and with our youngest starting five hours a week at nursery tomorrow, I’m hoping he wont add to my worries! #stayclassymama

    1. sarahaslett6 says:

      Thanks hun. I’ve been writing a piece actually about if one kid is enough for me and could I cope with more and I was thinking of you and how you do it and how lovely your big family is! Hope things get better for Eva x

  11. It sounds as if you’ve got it sorted. You have to know your own limits. I’m not an earth mother type either – craft? That’s what Grandparents were for. Sitting on the floor playing with them? That’s what their friends and siblings were for. Alison x #StayClassyMama

  12. Oooo such a new time for you all, good luck, I’m sure he’ll adjust, kids are best at adapting ! #stayclassymama

  13. I am a SAHM and I totally get you. Everyone does it their own way but if I’m totally honest I miss work so, so much!!


    1. sarahaslett6 says:

      Ah but the grass is always greener lol!

  14. Hi, I think it’s great for kids to learn that it’s ok to be away from their parents. They develop such a security when they realize that Mommy or Daddy will leave them somewhere but then always come back. I work at a preschool and the kids that have a sort of quiet confidence that comes from feeling so secure in their lives, always have a MUCH easier time.

  15. I am with you, I am currently a 24/7 mum for finacial reasons but I dont feel very good at it! I hate the sodding crafty things and at no point have I even looked at such torture on pinterest (why would I when I can look at shoes and cakes?). I can’t wait for my youngest to be able to go to preschool so I can have a few hours of something other than ‘Mummy’. We all parent in our own way. I just need more me time than I get.
    Good luck with the settling in! I’m sure everything will be fine after a few days. The first day certainly seemed to go as well as you could hope.

  16. My daughter attends a nursery and has done since she was 8 months old, but the village pre-school is on the cards for next September when she’ll get a space. I think it’s great to be a SAHM, or a working Mum, or like me (and probably a lot of your blog followers), a bit of both. Do what works for you and your kids. I certainly feel that I was the one that found it harder for her to be at nursery, not the other way around. She loves her time there and has definitely learned so much more than she would have done with just me at home. I hope he loves it, and you continue to feel good about your childcare decisions – it’s half the battle! #stayclassymama

  17. I’m not a 7 day a week parent either. Well, I am for now as I am taking our daughter to work with me, but when she is old enough to be apart from me I will also want to work. I agree that it’s good for children to form bonds with other important people in their lives – grandparents, fathers, friends, etc. #StayClassyMama

  18. So pleased to hear your son is so sociable. We are looking at nursery 4 days a week with one day at home with Dad – and it might be that I spend a few months full time before going to four days. We’ll have to see…. I think ultimately parents have to do what works!

    1. sarahaslett6 says:

      Totally agree, what works best FOR YOUR FAMILY is what is best x

  19. “Just because it is what it is and you are who you are”
    That really resonated with me. Everything you said about how you feel about motherhood is absolutely how I feel. I have worried so much about it and even questions whether I should ever have had kids but to read that makes me feel normal. Hope your little guy loves pre school and that when he makes the transition to school, he loves that too xx

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