Home » All change: a stay-at-home mum’s mixed emotions at the start of pre-school

All change: a stay-at-home mum’s mixed emotions at the start of pre-school

The first week of September social media is always full to the brim with pictures of children either starting pre-school or school, or going back for another term.

And until this year, I’ve always just scrolled through them quickly clicking the odd like on a few friends’ photos. It’s never been a thing I’ve needed to think much about.

Until now.

Now it’s my son’s turn. This week my three year old starts pre-school for two days a week. And suddenly it’s a thing I’m very much thinking about.

I, like pretty much every other mum in the same position, am feeling a bit emotional about the whole thing. In a variety of ways.


He’s hugely excited after visiting a couple of times and discovering a massive box of dinosaurs. That’s basically all he talks about. He asks me constantly if it’s time for him to go to “pre-school and see Karen-My-Keyworker”. He actually thinks that’s her name. I keep having to help him grasp the concept of time – six weeks since his last visit is an eternity to him.

But now it’s just two days away.

I am so excited for him, because I know he’ll love it. We were the last to leave the induction meeting because he was having too much fun, and he cried when I told him it was time to go. I took that as a good sign. The pre-school is just a few doors down from us and he points it out every time we go past. Setting him off talking about all the different dinosaurs there were in the big red box, and what other things he’ll be doing there.


He’s so ready to go, and will love learning. He’s extremely bright (obviously I bloody would say that) – but he really is. His language is incredible, and he can reel off the names of dinosaurs with spot-on prononciation that I’ve not even heard of. Australopithecus or Paraceratherium anyone? No, not a sodding clue. Then he’ll tell you which period they lived in, what they ate, and how tall they grew. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures is a WONDERFUL thing. I actually worry he’ll bore Karen-My-Keyworker to death by the end of the first day to be honest…

He also NEEDS to go. He needs to learn what it’s like to be in a structured environment with other children. To be told what to do by other adults other than parents and grandparents. And how to not have a hissy-fit when he doesn’t get his own way.

He sees different children every day of the week, but he’s never been in any childcare as I don’t work. I took voluntary redundancy from my journalist job whilst I was on mat leave with him. And now with two more to pay for as well, I’d be forking out more than I’d earn on childcare for three. So apart from a day a week with Granny and Grandad (basically his favourite day) he’s with me all the time. ALL the time.

As with all aspects of parenting, there are advantages and disadvantages to that. I feel very lucky (75% of the time!) that I’m in a position to be a stay-at-home mum. And I’ve had the best time with him over the past three years. Other than the times I’d happily work for free just to get some adult-time. Whilst simultaneously selling him on eBay, of course…

Pros and cons

But with all the pros of having a stay-at-home mum, there are obviously the cons. And he’ll not know what’s hit him when I leave him at pre-school this week. For the first time ever in a strange environment not knowing anyone and without that safety net of family around him. I already want to cry just thinking about it.

OR, what’s more likely, and what I’m hoping, is that he won’t give a shit. And it’ll be ME who’ll be a blubbering wreck. It’ll be a scene played out across the country I expect. And one that all you mums with older kids will ‘get’, I’m sure.

My emotions are swinging from worry to happiness every time I think about it. I worry that he’ll be upset, that he won’t be able to open his packed lunch box. That he can’t hold a pencil properly yet, that he’ll be too afraid to ask to go to the toilet. He’s already told my mum he’s just going to wait until he gets home for a wee – he’s there all day! Or that he’ll be boisterous and roar like a dinosaur in some other poor kid’s face and scare the shit out of them.

But then I think about all the things he’ll learn and love, and that makes me happy. Especially the new things he’ll do that I’ve not really done with him at home. Painting, messy play, and basically anything vaguely creative. Partly because I HATE (and am crap at) stuff like that. And partly because I have baby twins who have funnily enough taken up a fair bit of time in the last 14 months. Don’t even get me started on the mum guilt about that.


Then there’s a third emotion – a selfish one on my part – excitement. I get to have some me-time. My parents are going to have the Twins for part of one of the days he’s at pre-school, seeing as they now won’t be having him. I am going to have FIVE WHOLE HOURS child-free and I’m so EXCITED!

I plan to surgically attach myself to my laptop and work on my blog. Moving only to wee, make coffee and fetch biscuits. Feel free to keep me in check when in fact you see me driving at speed towards the local spa. Or sitting in Costa scrolling mindlessly through Facebook for 3.5 hours.

What I’ll PROBABLY do is sit absentmindedly gazing at my laptop wondering how all my babies are and what they’re up to without me.

Well, maybe just for the first hour…

How did I do?

Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my others, so how about you have a read of How To Do The School School Run With Babies In Tow – Without Needing A Lie Down or Getting Your Four Year Old ‘Ready’ to Start School.

Or if you fancy a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. Feel free to join in though. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. And if you fancy sharing your own funnies, come and join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group on Facebook.

If you like what you see, how about you check me out on Instagram and Twitter too. I’m all over the place!

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here, and I’ll get back to you during naptime/screentime (!)


Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee

You may also like


Kirstie Williams 03/09/2018 - 10:24 pm

The tears have started already today for me & can’t bring myself to put his name labels on his things yet! 😞

Good luck to all the mummies and daddies this week! xx

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 03/09/2018 - 10:50 pm

I totally cried whilst writing this. We need to get a grip! I did the name labels today 🙂

Debbie 06/09/2018 - 7:51 am

It will be absolutely fine. By the sound of things he will love it, and if any of the stuff you fear goes wrong- we’ll thats what Karen the key worker is for! Enjoy your guil free time!

Kate - The Mum Conundrum 29/01/2019 - 2:32 pm

That face tho!!

It is weird, when they start school. I’ve been through it twice so far and both times I felt excited because I could finally get some time and space for myself and couldn’t wait… Until about 3 weeks before they actually started, at which point I felt sad, and very guilty, and remorseful and ALL THE THINGS because my baby was going off to school and it was the end of an era.

It is AWESOME having hot coffee in the mornings and being able to get your hair cut without it turning into a military exercise of planning though. ENJOY!!!

#ItsOK xxxx

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 30/01/2019 - 12:21 am

I’m sure I’m wishing it all away far too quickly then I’ll be gutted when they’re all at school. And I’ll have to get a job!

Enda Sheppard 30/01/2019 - 9:13 pm

Yeah, a huge moment … but he is obviously so ready – are yo??! Good luck – both of you! #ItsOK

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 30/01/2019 - 9:31 pm

I think I’m less so! 😂

Tracey Carr 31/01/2019 - 10:17 am

Oh I remember all of this, I did it last year with my own daughter. When you drop them off on that first day you walk away feeling like one of your limbs has been removed – something that is a big part of you is now missing. It’s awful but it’s brilliant and everything in between and there is nothing you can do but just go through the rollercoaster of emotions. In the beginning I used to call the pre-school up if she even had a slight cough and say “sorry she can’t come in today”, all excited because I got to keep her at home with me for the day. Now I almost fire her through the school gates!! “Bye bye love!”. Just keep reminding yourself of how happy he will be there, that’s what gets you through. And those five hours to yourself! So jealous! #itsok

Nicole - Tales from Mamaville 03/02/2019 - 5:58 pm

Absolute mixed emotions on this one, Helen! We’re so proud of this moment, so relieved to get a few hours of child-free time, but then we come home and cry because our babies have grown up so quick and we miss them. But after the first week, the tears dry up;) Bring on the hot coffee!!! #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/02/2019 - 11:07 pm

Too right!

MomOfTwoLittleGirls 04/02/2019 - 10:42 am

You know what? We are all blady hard to please! My girls have been both in school 5 days a week since my youngest was 20 months old. I was due to have my hips replaced and needed her to be in school so that she was not knocking me over whilst I recovered. And they love school. Now on Tuesdays they are both at school until 16.00 and by 14.30 I miss them. I think they deal with it all far better than we do. #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 04/02/2019 - 8:04 pm

Think you could be right!

Crummy Mummy 04/02/2019 - 8:02 pm

All mine went to nursery from the age of one so I didn’t really have such a big wrench when they were older – hope it goes well! #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 04/02/2019 - 8:04 pm

Thank you!


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy