Life After the Preschool Years

© Kat Molesworth

Around this time eight years ago I was walking across the fields with a tiny, properly tiny, Milla snug in a sling on my chest. I can remember that early Autumn air so well, it had the same gentle bite that caught my throat this morning.

In all honesty I was a bit lost back then. I adored being a mother, I wasn’t too sure if I was doing the best job, I felt like I had to apologise for myself, I had no idea how I was going to navigate being home for our children and not make us bankrupt. I spent so much time obsessing about every last detail, sometimes with good reason and others because my head was filled with nothing else in that way it is when you have very tiny babies.

It all came back to me this morning as I realised that the pre-school years are fully behind us. Betsy started school this month and has been doing full days for a couple of weeks now. I’ve literally been too busy to give it a second’s thought.

Eight years can pass quickly and slowly all at once. Those endless days which stretched out through the long weeks turn into swiftly disappearing years. The cliches, you realise, are cliches because they come to pass as surely as the new day dawns.

I’m not sure how I feel about this passing; I was both willing its end and yearning for the days before school this summer. It feels like just as we have created and met three people, we have grown into ourselves. So much has changed for us in the last eight years that I sometimes wonder if early parenthood is always a metamorphosis.

This has been a period linked forever with the most turbulent times in our careers (I hope). The worry, drama and drive that only a parent with children depending on a home and food can recognise punctuated these last few years. Despite extremes of stress, it forced on us the opportunity to create something bigger than we might otherwise have dreamed. We reach beyond the aspirations we once held for ourselves and work for a life that nurtures us all.

So here we are, eight years on. Three not so new people brought in the world and forging their own paths. A weekly scramble of deadlines, school bells and clubs which passes in a flurry. And the pre-school years are over.

PS – I know I should let that end and stand as it is but I really want to tell you about the picture at the top. The light and the smoke were just perfect but the children weren’t into having their picture taken. I tried to bribe them with lunch if they played along, but Milla still wouldn’t look at me. I was maddened and filled with pride.

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  • Reply Caroljs September 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I really love that photo! I have two more years before Little Miss starts school and even though juggling work around her three mornings at playgroup and OH’s day off I am trying not to wish it away. In mind I think ‘oh it will be easier when they are both at school to work’ but I know a new set of challenges will present themselves!
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  • Reply Abi September 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Love this Kat. Rings so true for me too.

  • Reply Jen September 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    This post touched my heart. I remember those early days feeling so unsure of my mothering and also the day that Mini started full time school. It was such a milestone in my life and theirs too. I thought (wrongly) that the boys wouldn’t need me as much as they got older, but at nine and ten, they need me more than I could have ever imagines. Here’s to lots more years of not being sure of my parenting (that has never changed, but at least I rock the good enough mothering now) and to enjoying each season of motherhood. The days are long, but the years are short.
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  • Reply Sarah Knight September 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Although my youngest child has started Year 2 I can still relate to this and remember how it felt. (I also remember thinking I would have so much more time when they were both at school – ha!) Anyway I had to leave a comment to say how much I love that photo – it’s priceless! x
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  • Reply Amanda R. September 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I totally understand this! I have am in the process of weaning are 2-year old. I loved nursing, but I’m also ready to have my body be my own. It is bittersweet. On to new challenges and adventures while remembering what is past and cannot be experienced again. (also, love the pic!)

  • Reply Muddling Along September 24, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I love this post – the leap to having all of them at school (for at least part of the day for at least part of the year) is a big change

    Hoping that the next 8 years are less stressful but exciting and creative and fulfilling
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  • Reply Amber September 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Oh, don’t..! It fills me with terror that the preschool years are looming, never mind soon to be behind. It goes so quickly, doesn’t it. You look at them and they’re completely different children and you’ve lost the babies that you had. FOREVER.

    P.S. I want you to sell me ALL of your children’s clothes when you’re done with them! That picture is ace.
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  • Reply Lianne September 25, 2015 at 10:59 am

    beautiful post, Kat, I recognise so much…thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts and feelings…all 5 of you are ace xxx

  • Reply Chris @thinlyspread September 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    What a lovely post. I read it sitting at my desk in a pool of light with my chin resting in the palm of my hand – how I long for those preschool days and for the days which came after! Each leap forward into the next bit of motherhood is challenging and rewarding in, more or less, equal measure and I love it. That photo is terrific and the story behind it is a gem.
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