This was today’s thought after I dropped off my three children at school for their first day back (so before I even had the chance to visit the usual place). My stomach was in knots, my eyes tingly and the thought of returning to an empty house was almost (not quite almost) unbearable. I’d had a bad night’s sleep interrupted by a banging headache, a churning stomach and a restless cat. Was I ill? No, I was suffering from first day back nerves.
So why, when I was not doing anything much different from yesterday except getting dressed before 11am, was I feeling so anxious? I know that I am not alone in my first day back anxiety. Facebook has been littered with emotional statuses from parents about children starting infants, juniors, Year 5, secondary school, Year 8, Year 10 or whatever.
I wonder how nervous the children feel? I’m sure some feel nervous. My eldest gets a bit worried after the long break. My youngest, who was starting school today, seemed nonplussed about the significance of today. As far as he was concerned, he was just going back to the same building as where nursery is, albeit in a different classroom.
Perhaps it is partly the memory of how I used to feel going back to school that makes me feel the anxiety of new starts for my children. I used to get very anxious as a child. Maybe it is the smell of new school uniforms, or the way my children look so clean and shiny (incidentally, teachers, please note my great idea of the day: arrange for school photos to be taken on the first day back as that is when the children are at their smartest).
I vividly remember that ‘first day’ feeling of being in a different classroom and being expected to act more grown up, having a new teacher and having to do more challenging work, and worrying about whether everyone would be nice to you or mean to you.
Whatever the reason for my nerves, I found today quite tough. The house was too quiet with just the cat for company. I just hope tomorrow feels a little more normal.