What a difference a week makes...

posted on: Thursday, 14 February 2013

Seems like overnight things went from lovely to downright hard. As if I could have prophesied it, the moment I took my eye off the ball - the ball dropped. In a matter of days!

via crush cul de sac
My youngest is having a hard time at school. We made a choice to move schools last year in the hope that stepping up a gear would give him better opportunities and in summary, if I were to critique that decision; it's been hard. I have times when I want to run back to the cosy, undemanding school he left with my tail between my legs. So much for social climbing.

It's not that it's bad for him, it's just that his little life has become more complex, more competitive, more challenging than it used to be. And he's seven. Surely when you're seven, life shouldn't be those things? I fear that my ability to help him is dwindling with each day of work that I do. I know now - as I have seen both sides of the working mother/stay-at-home mother viewpoint - that there is only so much of me to go around. The working mother simply can not be there to cover every base and soothe every hardship.

I am tired and emotional. And feeling...already...guilty. Is this a reaction? Will this pass? I don't want to welcome back the turmoil that I left behind before. Words of wisdom...are you there?


  1. I feel for you Lou, no easy answer on this one! xxx D

  2. No words of wisdom from me, I'm afraid. I'm sorry you're feeling this way. It's so frightening to be in charge of someone's life, but I'm sure you will feel in your head, heart and stomach exactly what to do. Lots of thoughts from here.

  3. Catching up with you tonight sweetie as I have been reading on my phone so lacking in the comment department. Growing up is so hard now ~ being a kid is hard ~ and raising these kids and knowing what to do as a parent is puzzling to say the least. Go with your gut ~ remember that kids do adapt especially at a younger age ~ and breathe. Hugs and love you!

  4. Such a true quote. I enjoy working outside of the home, but it's often hard to find the perfect balance. I know I'll miss some things, but what I can do is really soak up what I am there for when I can.

  5. Frankly, I don't know how you busy mothers working outside the home or not do it! I salute you. School can be certainly over the top. Is this about the homework routine? Try to stay in the loop with the teacher, explain little things along the way with him or her that might cause stress at home. Quick emails are appreciated too, to a teacher, just to quickly let them know...and to remind them. Don't underestimate the effect a little positive comment or spontaneous praise can have on the child because the teacher was aware of things that might be affecting anxiety levels of class members. If there are bits of homework that are repeatedly set that can't be one without a lot of adult support, let the teacher know. Frankly, homework shouldn't have to rely on parental help too much! My friend jokes that she was graded a B for homework from her son's junior school report! You've probably already got a nice little routine going for some nights a week regarding what area of the school timetable to do. If homework isn't complete send a little note on the occasion to inform the teacher. Remember too, this is a dynamic situation and it will change, it's about being focussed on what can be managed by a happy child and parents. Overall, get more acquainted with the school, if you haven't already! Believe me they will appreciate your communication, I have learnt so much from the parents of my students over the years. Xx

  6. Hi Lou,
    Oh, the difficult times we have when bringing up our children. It's still early days yet ........ your son in his new school and you going back to work are two new things to get your head around, get into new routines and, hasn't your daughter just started senior school ? ..... it all takes a lot of getting used to. Change is difficult and everything doesn't click into place overnight. These situations are all part of family life and it would be a very strange world if everything went smoothly all of the time. It just doesn't work like that !! I am sure that , in a few weeks time, you'll be wondering what you were worrying about or, if things don't settle down, you will do something about it by putting changes in place.
    Don't worry Lou ......... it's all part of being a mum, one who works or not.
    and .......... ON NO ACCOUNT FEEL GUILTY !!!! XXXX

  7. Oh I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I don't have the answer I'm afraid, but I can at least offer up my support and good thoughts. You may not be able to be there for every moment exactly when it happens, but you can still be there for your son, every day. Find time to connect with him, talk with him about how things are going, make sure he knows you're there. It does seem wrong for kids to be dealing with so much stress at such a young age. Above all, don't feel guilty. You're doing the best you can, and I always try to remind myself that the guilty feelings are just a sign that I'm a good mom, working hard to put my kids first.

  8. I know that it is easier to handle challenges at any age when you approach your work with curiosity and the idea that you are capable. Having fun while teaching the coping skill of creativity with your son will help him deal with the stress of his school work--which learning is--it's work. Since he will need to deal with his own hardships and experiences, perhaps you can help him with his learning and creativity skills. My experience is that making things like food or art work offers a task that feels playful but is an excellent place for skill building. Since your time is now limited, teaching him how to approach a problem or task will help him with all types of school work-- and learning creativity is a great tool. You can teach him to break the work into steps, gather materials, brainstorm for new ideas or ways to look at the job, enjoy the work environment (music, a clean space with room to work and focus...,) enjoy the task, problem solve when stuck, ways to get un-stuck, clean-up of the workspace, presentation of the work and the enjoyment of completion. You can gear the creative project to teach what he needs to learn. If he gets bored quickly, think of ways he can keep himself focused and engaged or when it's appropriate to take a break and how to start again. Making cookies, building a toothpick structure or creative writing are all activities that build skills if you have a plan for him and you incorporate it into the activity--make it playful and stress one concept per project and do make it appropriate for his age and interests. For example, when you're thinking about a cooking project--go over the steps--workspace, sourcing ingredients, clean-up...but focus on one aspect like setting up the work environment or shopping for ingredients which can be a wonderful pleasure and a way to spend time together. Make sure that there are some things he can do on his own so he can practice accomplishing tasks that are his own. Make the amount of time appropriate--spend more time on some activities if he is enjoying them. Celebrate with him when he gets something done but do it in a matter of fact way--not as a cheerleader but rather sharing his joy--eating the product--having him share or display it in some way...Have fun♥

  9. I have always said that if my child was not happy I would move them. I suppose that is not what you wanted to hear but I think you also have to give a child time to settle and this will be the best part of a year. My son went from a very small school at national school to a much bigger competitive school it did take him time to settle but he loved it with a passion. It is early days yet and I would say it has nothing to do with your return to work it is what it is. The answer will become clearer over time remember happy child happy mum vis versa. You are also probably tiered and emotional with your return to work.

  10. Hi Lou. I have no words of wisdom. But I am really sorry to hear you are facing challenges and all at once. I am sending positive thoughts for you and your son. Hope it gets easier for you both soon. Whatever you do though, don't feel guilty.

  11. These are not in any way wise words but just the way I see it - he is struggling, he needs you and he will only do so for such a short time - be there for him - whatever you do in the working world will not be as important as what you can do for him.

  12. Dear Lou,

    So sorry to hear that you are sad and worried.
    Talk to your boy, try to find out why things aren't going well, talk to the teachers, eventually to the school psychologist (if there is one in the UK).
    Most important of all: follow your heart!

    Thinking of you and giving you a warm hug, M xx

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  14. This post tugged my heartstrings. I made two big mistakes with my son and his schooling was one of them. He was bright & talented and I searched for 'the best' for him. It turned out (I never knew, no one ever gave me input) that his social issues would be far greater than anything academic or artistic. In hindsight, I should have swallowed all my pride and let him grow up with the same kids, the kids from our neighborhood, low stress, ... in other words, normal, average, basic ... the stuff I wanted to avoid. Over and over I made decisions and choices that turned out to be about me, not him. I sincerely didn't realize that.

  15. There is something about becoming a Mother that no one can teach you, no amount of natural child birth classes can prepare you for the worry and guilt that come in equal measures as soon as they arrive. It is borne out of the fiercely protective feelings that we have for our children. I am sure your son will soon start to feel more confident in his new situation. All we can do is give them the love and security that they expect from us. Try not to be too hard on yourself (easier said than done I know). It will get easier Lou.

    Have a good half term. xxx

  16. Hi Lou,
    I have no magic answers for you, but have been through all sorts that boys and the English education system has to throw.
    Keep doing what your'e doing. I'm a firm believer that Mums have an in-built compass to guide us in the right way.
    It's early days with both school and your return to work, but I'm sure things will settle down and as your son gets older he will be more able to cope with everything school presents him.
    On the flip side, I've never been afraid to change things if they aren't working- but you're a long way from that.
    Hope half term gives you a chance to breathe and re-group.
    Much love,
    Liz x

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