It’s a misconception to think parents send their children off to school without experiencing nostalgia and a feeling of emptiness or sadness. The end of summer brings back memories of summer fun and you may wish you’d played more and worked less. Or maybe you wish you’d been more understanding and less demanding. Your child has been under your protection for so long, you feel their vulnerability of going to school and facing new friends, new teachers, and a new environment that you can no longer secure. Your children give you purpose and their first day of school reminds you that you won’t be the only one influencing them anymore. Are they too little, will they be okay, will others be sensitive to their needs? These and a thousand more questions come to mind and it doesn’t matter how old or what grade your child is entering. You sense their anxiety and as you calm them, you feel your own.
Things are different after school begins. A new routine, early wake up calls, early and hurried breakfast, more stress and less calm. This adds to your sadness and feeling blue about beginning the school year. That feeling of emptiness is common, and it’s normal, but you are your child’s best mentor. Living your life totally dependent on your child being there isn’t good for you or your marriage. Kids look to parents for strength and encouragement and you’ll be able to give that more effectively if you live your life doing the things that make it meaningful.
When your kids go back to school, look at your schedule and begin filling it with things you’ve put off because of the kids.
- Get organized.
- Take a class you’ve been wanting to take.
- Take on an extra project at work or school that will help you feel as though you are achieving something meaningful.
- Focus on preparing a healthy meal for your children. Family dinners promote communication, and children benefit when they can share their day with mom and dad.
- Consider doing volunteer work or helping out an organization you believe in.
A feeling is just a feeling and it will pass, as will your sense of emptiness with your child going back to school. Your children benefit when they see you doing what you love and living a full life.