It is alright to cry on your child’s first day of school

There is a certain game of Darwinism played within the circle of mothers which seeks to shame those perceived as being weak and sentimental.  Crying at the school gates is one. Mother shaming takes many forms and this is one that occurs every September. It is the shaming of mothers who cry over their children starting school for the first time in Reception class. I should know. I cried buckets 15 years ago when my daughter started school.

In fact, I cried for a whole year because it meant that we weren’t able to spend glorious days together anymore doing what we pleased when we pleased. The start of school life is basically the take over of your child’s life by an establishment which sets rules. These rules dictate when you can spend time with your child and some of this time will be taken up by homework. I loved spending time with my little girl. She was 4 when she started school.

Of course I bloody cried given all this. People thought I was weird. I was the butt of jokes for years after. Let me point out that I didn’t stand at the school gates and bawl. That would have been traumatic for my daughter.  But I shed tears after waving her off, shed tears on the way to work and shed tears when the sun was shining and she was in school and not running in parks with me.

My daughter is now 19 and hardly wants to spend any time with me. I had prescience 14 years ago about what lay ahead. I was right to cry. Damn the shamers. Mothers, cry if you want. A child starting school is a big milestone in motherhood.



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