Starting School

Oliver started school just under a week ago so I thought I’d share what that’s actually meant for us all as a family, the reality of my 4 year old beginning the biggest chapter of his little life. I’d love to hear your experiences too in the comments…


Here’s (possibly) what to expect when your kids starts school…

You have first day nerves as much as they do.

I stayed up late the night before going over everything over and over again.

Was every piece of uniform along with his bag and water bottle named and laid out? Had I signed the forms I was sent months earlier at the start of the summer? Was breakfast prepared for the following day? Really! I even placed cereal in a bowl ready for the morning just in case we were in a crazy rush and forgot to eat!!!

I might have also laid out the clothes I was going to be wearing too (first day school gate pressure)!

Talking of my wardrobe…my am drop off uniform is usually ‘good intention gym kit’ (even though I’m yet to make the gym or even the treadmill in the garage most days) but running gear is so easy to throw on at 8 am… I then usually change into a floral frock for pick up, post days out with the toddler (nice to give Alexander my time solo) or meetings.

Anyway, back to the first day-

Those pre-first day at school pictures take at least 10 minutes so schedule that into your morning before the bell goes, we grabbed a few shots and are so pleased we did!

…The walk up to the school gates is rather nerve wracking- your heart will accelerate and drop off will happen in a blur.

You’ll most likely find yourself welling up as your little one sets off on this new journey so take tissues (lots of tissues).

You will then no doubt feel a little bit lost when you get back home. As do siblings.

Alexander, 2 spent a lot of last week kissing and hugging photos of Oliver around the house and saying, “me, school, me school”. Heart melt.

At least they’re both happy to see each other at pick up!

I must add the time from pick up to bedtime actually flies by. I stop work at pick up and don’t start until the kids are asleep and it feels like it all goes too quickly for me! I miss my boy!

He misses me too and I’ve noticed he’s much more clingy than usual but with that comes lots of precious moments, stroking Oliver’s hair to sleep, more kisses and cuddles than usual (and there’s always a lot in this house), excited discussions of new friends and toys played with, seeds grown and nuts cracked. It’s a truly magical time!

It’s also an emotional time, Oliver complained just this morning that the day is too long, “It’s ages until I come home again and lunch takes half an hour”.

School is tiring, mentally and physically (for you both). I welled up myself this morning when Oliver cried at the school gates. I know as soon as he gets into the classroom, he will be fine but it’s still tough going!

The good news is all this tiredness means a restful sleep. Oliver has been going to bed earlier than ever and even a teething toddler hasn’t woken him up!

I must mention too that Oliver has always been the lightest of sleepers yet since school started, he’s slept through uninterrupted every night. Long may it continue!

So that was our week…

School is a huge, make that a MASSIVE change for the whole family. It’s brought us routine after a relaxed summer, (early to dinner and bed), more structured afternoons and a greater sense of balance for me with my working hours.

More than anything, I feel more like a grown up. No longer a big kid myself just pretending to be a parent. I feel like a fully grown mum who has a child at school. Wow, a child at school. That really does feel grown up (for us both)!


Photo of pens by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Buy my bestselling book in paperback or audio

My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.

Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home
(UK 2nd Edition)

Available on Amazon or Audible

MUMBOSS by Vicki Psarias

The Working Mom: Your Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home
(US/Canada Edition)

Available September 8th 2020. Order now on Amazon

The Working Mom by Vicki Psarias

Like what you've read? Then why not follow Vicki on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram

Never Miss A Post!

Subscribe to HonestMum for my weekly email newsletter where I share my new blog posts, blogging tips, event invitations, competitions and news about my new book. I never share your personal data with third parties.

77 Responses

  1. Franglaise Mummy

    I have to say that I found L starting school a huge relief – as a full-time working mum (at the time) my childcare bills were enormous and her being at school full-time meant a massive drop-off in these and didn’t change much for me as I was at work all day, in fact I didn’t even make her first day in Reception due to work. However fast forward a few years and I’m a work at home mum, meaning I’m round both my kids so much more and I was upset waving her off into juniors a couple of weeks ago, and when C starts school I’ll be in bits I’m sure!
    P.S. With our eldest in Year 3 I still feel like a fake with all the other grown-ups at the school gates 😉

    • honestmum

      Aw thanks for your lovely comment hun, sounds like school was a big relief and totally get how upsetting it can feel when you work from home as I do, I was in bits today when Alexander started nursery! Love you still feel a fake, maybe we’ll all feel it until we’re 90! x

  2. John Adams

    Oh yes Vicky, having a child start school is a massive change for the whole family! Glad it all seems to have gone well. I’m sure Oliver will do very well.

    And don’t for one second think us stay at home dads don’t think long and hard about what to wear at the school gates. Well, this one does anyway! It’s a nightmare deciding what to wear.

  3. Shannon

    Well done. The idea of my girl going off to school makes my tummy do some serious spinning. I mean, she’s only 7mo, but time is flying by so fast as it is! *sniff*

  4. Hurrah For Gin

    Ahhh Vicki it sounds like he is doing so well! It is so hard isn’t it but ultimately i think they will love it. F is in every day this week but just until lunch, next week is full time though so no idea how he will cope with that!
    Crazy how tired they get isn’t it? I would never have expected it to make such a difference xxx

  5. Claire

    My eldest has just started school. He’s loving it but I feel like the new girl. I had it sorted at Playgroup, I knew all the mum’s and the staff. Now I’m starting again with new faces in the playground! I’m pretending I know what I’m doing but it hasn’t really sunk in yet that my kid is at school!

  6. You Baby Me Mummy

    Oh such a great post hun. I already know that I am going to be a wreck, when it is Baby’s turn. Bless you putting the cereal out. Kissing the photo’s, now that is so cute! x #BrillBlogPosts

  7. Sam - Up All Hours

    Such a big change. Sounds like you are all adjusting great. We have all this come next September and frankly I am dreading it! Reading posts like this are a great reassurance. x

  8. Jane

    Huge steps for you both. My second daughter had to be man handled by the teacher so I could leave the classroom on her first day, then she spent the entire 6 hours hiding under a table. The next morning a fellow classmate said to her, ‘are you going to hide under the table all day today?’ ‘No,’ she replied and didn’t! It’s never easy.

  9. Heledd - Running in Lavender

    Glad I wasn’t the only crazy mother, double and triple checking everything the night before ‘the big day’. To be honest, I think it’s much bigger for us mums!

    My little (almost) 2yo is really missing her big sister too and bounces up with excitement when I say ‘c’mon then, lets go and get Lili’ at the end of the day.


  10. Kerry Brind

    Oh he looks so cute! Little Miss B starts school next year – she’s already raring to go. Thankfully as we live in a teeny village and she’s already at the pre-school next door I already know all the mums and teachers so at least the pressure is off me! I’m going to be sad, but I’m also excited for her! And hey, if it means she sleeps better then bring on the ‘big’ school!

  11. Lifeasourlittlefamily

    Lovely sweet post. We’re a kiss and cuddle type house. We call them snuggles. It sounds like you have both adapted so well & excellent news about the sleep! Long may his journey continue x

  12. Mama and more aka Zaz

    It is a huge leap isn’t it, and feels so grown up indeed. I remember feeling that shift in routine when our girl started last year. We loved the summer break but it was good to be back to routine (although I can’t wait for the half term rest!!) xxx

  13. Dave (The DADventurer)

    Nice post and it sounds like everyone is comping well with this huge change. Love the idea that mums choose outfits to impress others when they meet at the school gates. I was hoping to just pick Baby L up in my superhero pj’s when she goes to school in a few years 🙂

  14. Notmyyearoff

    Awww I just want to hug you both. He sounds like he’s doing really well to settle in but it does sound so tiring. I hope it’s all a good new normal really soon. I’m already nervous about next year when Z will start. I will definitely have to take lots of tissues xx

    • honestmum

      Aw need a hug or three this week, thanks chick, really has been an emotional time but he’s happy and it’s now time for wine x

  15. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Lovely post sweetpea! Gosh I can’t imagine how emotional it must be, and as you say, such a huge change for you all. A wonderful but challenging milestone no doubt. Well done to all of you for surviving the first week! And I’m delighted to hear from one knackered mother to another, that he is sleeping well! Hurrah! xxx

    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, been a funny ol’ week and really emotional but we made it, the first week is done and O is happy and I’ve got wine! I’ve waited 4 1/2 years for him to sleep properly-yay! xxx

  16. Lucas James

    Wait till you’re dropping off at secondary school – even made me feel like a grown up!
    Sounds like it’s going really well, so pleased for you all.
    Take care

  17. Emma

    It’s such a big change for everyone isn’t it, this year was not so bad for us as Leo at 5 is still only at Prodimodiki, with the same teacher as last year and doesn’t start primary school until next September as he missed it by about 3 months. I’m not really looking forward to that, feels all big and scary to me, especially with all the homework I’m hearing about – I’d better get on with learning the language!

  18. PottyMouthedMummy

    Oh this made me well up a little. I can only imagine the change but it all seems good so far and long may that continue! I’m already feeling emotional and I’ve got another 2 years to go!!! lovely post xxx

  19. Kat @ Beau Twins

    This got me all emotional! Found myself laughing one minute and then out loud going “Ahhhh” So pleased to hear it’s gone well and things are structured and happy. Such a great read. X

  20. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    I’ve managed to avoid the tears so far, thankfully! Both boys were so ready to start school when the time came, they don’t give me a backward glance in the mornings! The 5yo has been going to bed very early too, it is exhausting for them while they get into a routine. The wee girl is really missing her brothers though, she asks regularly throughout the day when we can go and get them 🙂

    • honestmum

      Oh so sweet, Alexander is a little bit lost. Oliver was so ready but today out of tiredness had a little cry. Was happy on collection x

  21. Mummy's to do list

    Ah, such an emotional time. The bit about Oliver’s little brother kissing photos of him at home while he’s out at school made my heart melt. I may be about to cry now as I’m already in hormonal new(ish) mum mode! We’ve got all this to come in a few years time. Good to hear that he’s enjoying it though. And that you’ve had the added bonus of a bit more shut-eye!

  22. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    It’s such a shock to the system going from the endless days and slack routines of Summer to the schedule of the school run isn’t it? And I mean for everyone, me included! MY eldest has settled much better this year, moving up to year 1. Familiarity no doubt and she loves her school friends. We do a ‘kiss and drop off’ in the car now on some days – she’s so grown up jumping out of the car and waving goodbye!

  23. ghostwritermummy

    Starting school is such an emotional time! I actually took maternity leave early when I was having Luka because Eva was having to go to school club and she just wasn’t settling. THis time though has been so different. Luka is a lot more confident than Eva and has really settled in so well. He is full of it in fact! And I’m loving the new school too- a lot more friendly and I actually look forward to the school run now as there are so many friendly faces to chat to. Going from an unfriendly playground to a welcoming community is amazing! My tip, from experience, would be to take a moment to say hello to other parents that are waiting alone, as sometimes the school gate can be a really lonely place x x x

    • honestmum

      Really relate to this and drop off and pick up has felt strange and despite knowing a few people, not being close to other mums there, but tonight I met a fab mum and you are so right, saying hello can make all the difference x

  24. Katy {What Katy Said}

    It is weird having moments feeling like a grown up isn’t it? I am not quite there yet although my creaking bones would tell me otherwise!
    Sort of lovely that he is more clingy, would be worse if he just loved it immediately and didn’t miss you! 🙂 xx

  25. Ebabee

    We had similar last year. Although no tears from Anya thankfully; she was raring to go to school and was very excited about going to ‘big’ school. There were tears from me though! I agree, it’a a big step and a whole new routine to get used to. I even feel like that this year after the long Summer break. It felt like we had to get used to it all over again. Gorgeous picture and great insights for parents who still have it all to do x

    • honestmum

      Thanks darling and Oliver was the same on his first day but today he was so tired and emotional. Was so happy on collection though and he even kissed and cuddled his brother in front of everyone, they really are missing each other x

  26. Yvette

    You paint the picture so well… I hadn’t thought about how much there is to prepare for the first morning and the photos and everything – such a special time on such a nervewracking day!! I hope Oliver is settling in well and great news on the sleep. Fingers crossed you will all be into the swing of a new routine soon, even if does feel like such a grown up thing for everyone! #brilliantblogposts

    • honestmum

      Thanks Yvette, we really feel like we have a stronger routine and are both getting used to our new lives, thanks for your lovely comment x

  27. Vicki Montague

    Oh yes, the first day of school! Seems ages ago since my first went and last year was the year my youngest went. Unfortuntely going to school for my two means an over-active brain at bed time and both end up going to bed much too late as they cannot switch off. I am glad this hasn’t happened for you because it is really sad to watch…exhausted children that just cannot go off 🙁

  28. Tim

    Toby started this week, following in the footsteps of his brother two years ago. In both cases, I think we were more anxious about the day than the boys themselves – with Isaac because he was our first and with Toby because he hadn’t coped well with his trial sessions at school. But in both cases they sailed through the day, although like Oliver they both struggled with doing full days. It took Isaac most of the first term to come to terms with the tiredness – hopefully Toby will be quicker.

    In both cases, though, we’ve been so lucky that they have both enjoyed school and are thriving. It’s amazing to watch them adapt to the change.

    • honestmum

      That is lovely Tim and Oliver is coping well overall but today he felt so tired and emotional and it was hard to see. He was fine minutes later but I was in tears myself. No one prepares you for how hard it can be for you! It’s a wonderful little school though and I know soon enough we will all be used to it x

  29. Mel

    It is a huge change, isn’t it? I can relate to the ‘get everything ready the night before’ just in case of a crisis in the morning. It is Crevette’s 3rd year at school and I still lay out everyone’s clothes (mine included) the night before. How sweet of Alexander to be kissing pics of Oliver! Your two are such little darlings xxx

  30. Beth Twinderelmo

    I definitely think we as parents underestimate how we will feel as they head off to embark on the next chapter. It does get easier but it takes a lot of adjusting. Then before you know it they’re in year one!! x thanks for hosting x

  31. mummytries

    I felt like this last year hon. One of my besties daughters started the year before my eldest and told me to brace myself for the exhaustion. She said it was such a shock as her daughter (like mine) had been going to nurserythree days a week all day long since a year old. The first two weeks o half days hit my girl like a ton of bricks! If I’m honest she didn’t properly settle into reception until the Summer term. That might have been because we had a third baby though…

    Sounds like Oliver’s doing fab though my dear, and hurrah in particular for him sleepingbetter xxx

    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, this morning was tough when he cried but overall he seems really happy. Good to know it can take until summer to settle, such a huge change for them x

  32. brummymummyof2

    Oh God hun – my girl started pre-school this week and it very nearly killed me. It’s in a proper school so I have to do the whole school gate thing and I think that is the hardest thing to do.To try and make chums and be all super friendly when you are so tired! However you are right both of mine are so tired now after all the drop offs and pick ups. Sob! xxx

  33. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Oh bless him, he looks adorable! Great post, it’s good to hear from someone who’s going through it a year before we’ll be walking towards those school gates. Freddie has just upped his hours at preschool and is now doing 2 full days and 1 half day, instead of 1 full and 2 halves. Even that feels weird now, dropping him off this morning and knowing it’s just me and Sasha for the rest of the day- he can drive me mad but I still miss him like crazy by 4pm! x

  34. Mummy Says

    Oh I can’t believe how adorable he looks! What a big change for you all. I love that you now feel more grown up. Im a couple of years away from school with Milin, but this post is a lovely little insight into how things might be. Thank you for sharing it lovely, so honest and touching! And, you must be so proud of Oliver xx

  35. Izzie Anderton

    Seems like only yesterday that I dropped my 2 off at first school and now they’re all grown up and at uni. I remember them both being incredibly tired after a full day at school and needing some down time to recover. And you’re so right the time from getting in from school and bed time absolutely flies.
    Thinking of you x


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.