The Silent Shame of the Angry Mother

The Silent Shame of the Angry Mother

It’s 3am, an exhausted, sleep deprived mother stands over the crib of her screaming infant, the baby’s cries have been non-stop for hours. She’s tried everything. Everything. She doesn’t know what else to do. She snaps.

“Just go the f*#k to sleep!!!” she screams at her tiny, defenseless baby.

A moment later, realising what she’s just done, she slumps to the floor sobbing. Ashamed of herself, scared of what she’s become.

Who is it you empathise with more in this situation – the tiny baby, whose only crime was simply being a dependent infant? Or the mother at the end of her tether?

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The answer to that question is likely to hinge on whether you’ve ever been that mother. Whether you’ve ever found yourself so completely overwhelmed, so completely under-resourced, so entirely depleted and so unwillingly consumed with rage, that you no longer feel in control of anything anymore. Least of all your tiny baby. Or your emotions.

I’ve heard it said that you don’t truly experience unconditional love until you become a mother. The same could also be said for this other of life’s most intense emotions: Anger. Rage. Fury.

Personally, I never experienced true rage until I had my own children. Certainly I got my knickers in a twist over many a situation – and I experienced anger – at myself, my parents, my partners, my family. But rage against your peers, or your elders is rarely seen as a source of shame. In fact, at those times, our anger is easily justifiable, the teenager raging against the impossibly strict rules of her parents, a grown woman crying hot tears of anger over a partner who cheated on her, an employee venting to a colleague about an incompetent boss. That kind of anger is understood and openly discussed – and in many cases welcomed – anger is good – it provokes you to fight back, to stand up for your rights, or to advocate for someone less fortunate than you. We can support, or at least understand, when a person’s anger is directed at someone who slighted, deceived, hurt or manipulated them.

But what happens when the source and target of your rage is a tiny infant, or a toddler, or any child? A tiny human whose only crime is simply crying too much, or refusing to sleep, or smearing finger paint over a wall, or losing their school hat for the 18th time this week?

How many mothers do you think would feel comfortable telling another person that they quite literally screamed at their baby, or stormed out of the room on their toddler, slamming the door behind them, or threw their child’s favourite toy in the bin, because they wanted to punish them so badly. It’s a difficult truth to face. And when it happens it generally brings with it mountains of shame, self-judgement and self-hatred. The women I’ve spoken to who have experienced these intermittent episodes of rage don’t intend to behave this way. When I’ve had women explain it to me they tell me of how they “just snapped”, and how petrified they are of something similar happening again. These are not mothers who are systematically abusing their children. These are wonderful, caring mothers who wholeheartedly love their children, would do anything for them. But they’re just not coping. They snap, and then they berate themselves for being a terrible mother, because “how could any mother treat their child that way?”, they believe they’re all alone in their rage, and wonder how it is that they became so unhinged. If this is how a woman sees herself after an episode of motherhood-triggered rage, just imagine what they believe others are thinking of them.

Is it any wonder they won’t admit publicly to this silent rage they’re feeling?

But if this is you. If you’re an ‘Angry Mother’, I want you to know this:

It is okay to feel angry at your child.

Anger is simply an emotion, albeit an incredibly intense one. But emotions are never inherently “good” or “bad” – not even those emotions commonly acknowledged to be negative – anger, jealousy, shame, resentment. We are entitled to feel and experience the broad spectrum of our emotions. We can’t really expect motherhood to bring us only joy and wonder. Anger is going to be inevitable at times. We’re only human.

But it’s what we do, how we act, in response to those feelings of anger that makes the difference.

Being angry is okay. Taking your anger out on your child (or any other person really) is not. That distinction is important.

So no, it’s not really okay to scream at your child, or to hit them, or to lock them away because you’re angry with them. I’m certainly not advocating for that. But what I’m saying is that these things can and do happen – to the best of us – but if we find ourselves in that situation, what we need to do is seek support to lessen the chances of it happening again, not hide away from it due to shame and fear.

It’s okay to admit to yourself how much anger you’re experiencing as a result of motherhood. In fact, acknowledging your emotions is the first step in dealing with them. Being conscious and mindful of your anger is one of your greatest protections against not letting that anger manifest into aggressive, hurtful and potentially dangerous behaviour.

What we need is a more open discourse on the emotion of anger in motherhood. Because it’s there – hidden away behind closed doors and walls of shame, fear and self-loathing. Why is it happening? Now, today, in our western society where women and mothers have even more freedom and rights than ever before? That’s an enormous question, and perhaps one for another blog post. But my focus for today’s post is to help women understand what’s happening inside their brain and body during these rage moments – so that they might be able to prevent them from happening again.

Anger is multi-faceted, and it’s origins are often misunderstood. The good news is that “lashing out” when angry isn’t an inevitability. To avoid it, it helps to have a better understanding of what’s behind a moment of rage filled behaviour.

There’s several factors at play when it comes to why we get angry:

1) The trigger. This is generally what we blame our rage on – that driver cut me off, my husband forgot to buy milk, my boss made me work late, my baby won’t stop crying. But the trigger is rarely enough to create a rage response in itself. If it were, we’d all be flying off the handle at any and every slight against us. This isn’t how the majority of us behave on a regular basis.

2) Our pre-existing personalities. We all know people who are more prone to rage than others, who are more laid back, more highly strung, more glass is half full, or more “the world is out to get me” – often these personality traits are set while we’re quite young, and are influenced by the events,  environments and relationships we experience as infants and children. (Which is not to say they are fixed, but personalities are deeply ingrained and not easily changed).

3) Our emotional and physical state at the time of the trigger. Our response to triggers will change depending on these factors. So we’re potentially more likely to act on our anger if we’re tired, sick, stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, scared, anxious or sleep deprived (sound familiar? Hello Motherhood!) These factors can turn even small incidents into huge explosions.

4) The breadth of skills we have to deal with unpleasant emotions and feelings. Our generation didn’t get taught this stuff. We never had mindfulness lessons or yoga classes at school – it’s great to see this happening more and more in schools today. But for those of us born before the turn of the century, unless you’ve studied a health profession, or undertaken formal counselling or therapy, it’s unlikely you were ever given explicit information about how your emotions work – about how they can impact your behaviour. Emotions just were. Some people had more trouble with them. That’s about all we knew. But we now know there’s so much we can do to better address our anger, so that it doesn’t take control of us.

So what can you do? How can you better manage anger?

1) Improve your awareness of your anger.  Be more mindful of times when your anger appears, and start to make connections between your emotions, your thoughts and the physical feelings in your body. Awareness is the first step.

2) Do what you can to make positive steps on a daily basis. Check out this article from the American Psychological Society for “Strategies to Keep Anger at Bay”. Finding stress management, self care and relaxation strategies that work for you is also a helpful option, such as learning how to start a mindfulness practice.

3) Seek support. Be open and honest with someone you trust about your anger experiences and concerns, perhaps your partner, or an understanding friend or family member. If you feel like you need further support a counsellor, Occupational Therapist or psychologist can help provide you with strategies to support yourself.

Remember – managing your anger better is an entirely achievable goal. Even though it may seem overwhelming and especially traumatic when you’re in the grip of “mother-anger” it’s crucial to seek support – for your own sake, and that of your children, your family, and your relationships and connection with each other.

Until next time,

Sarah

Motherhood and architecture

Motherhood and architecture

Do you ever have random thoughts crop up at you from nowhere?

I most certainly do. And so it was that last night, I was lying awake in bed, watching the rhythmic rise and fall of my three year old’s chest when my thoughts, as they tend to do, turned towards the concept of motherhood. Anyone who knows me or has read a few of my blogs would know that I’m fascinated by the topic of motherhood. It intrigues me – the politics, the intrigue, the martyrdom, the drudgery, the misconceptions, the mummy wars. All of it. I often find it consumes my thoughts and, perhaps I’m simply a boring conversationalist, but yes, my conversations with people generally tend to navigate back towards motherhood too. It doesn’t help that my work revolves around motherhood and mothers. So I’m surrounded by it. Obsessed, my husband says.

But back to last night. At 2.30am, I was for some reason, comparing in my mind motherhood to other formal professions. And I came up with this random analogy of the role of a mother in comparison to an architect.

Bear with me here.

I was thinking about the theories, concepts and rules that underpin all those things good mothers “should” do. And I began to wonder about how many of these “shoulds” are actually 100pc essential, must have, must do, non-negotiables. And how much of motherhood is completely up to us? Totally at our own discretion, upon which to exert our own creative licence, to adorn with our own preferences and beliefs, and to orchestrate according to our own wants and needs.

And it made me think of architecture.

Granted, most of my architectural knowledge comes from binge watching Kevin McCloud on Grand Designs, but here’s how I see it:

Architects have a few rules they MUST stick by. They have to make sure the creation they design abides by the laws of physics, that it is structurally sound and safe. That it’s stable, and won’t all come crashing down with the first winter downpour.

But apart from that, they have creative licence. They can do what they want. And they are applauded and lauded for it. In architecture, creativity and design flair are commended. Sure an architect works to a brief set down by their client. But within that brief they can go for broke. Try something out. Client doesn’t like it? Grab your eraser and try something different.

So why not Mums?

What are the rules of motherhood?

What are the rules of motherhood?

Why can’t we value and express our individuality and creativity. Why can’t we curate our own style of motherhood and implement it with confidence and flair? We have clients too. In our case, the clients are our children. And bet your bottom dollar your child will let you know if they don’t like your style of motherhood.

But I have a feeling that most of us never let our creative motherhood flag fly. Not for fear of what our pint-sized clients might say. But for concern about going against what the “experts” recommend, getting some cardinal rule of motherhood wrong, and being judged harshly by the “Mummy Mafia” – whoever they are.

We’ve lost our ability to mother intuitively, from our own hearts and minds, and so defer our parenting decisions to others. Why?

It’s because we don’t have rules. Sure we have morality and tradition and research and guidelines galore. But all of those things differ across the globe, and have so many motherhood theories have been muddied and altered and bent and broken over the decades. Certainly there are some theories that hold more weight than others – I often speak about them here on this blog. But theories aren’t rules. And they are still always open to interpretation.

So as it stands there are no set rules in motherhood.

And there’s the major difference between architects and mothers – at least the major difference in regard to this analogy. An architect’s “musts” are set in stone. I’m sure there’s a bunch of engineers and some sort of giant building quality standards rule-book document that outlines beyond a shadow of a doubt just what it takes to ensure a structurally sound design under the laws of physics. (Because unlike the “laws” of motherhood, the laws of physics haven’t changed at all in the past few centuries). Here’s another difference. Architects have a bunch of useful tools to help them abide by their musts, to check all the necessary angles and physics calculations, to make sure their design is up to scratch. Those fancy calculators, the good old protractor, and don’t forget all those computer assisted drafting software programs. And then I bet they have to get whatever they design checked off by someone before it gets built. I don’t know the name of the man or woman with the red rubber stamp. But I know they’re there. Giving a definitive yes or no.

Mothers never get a definitive yes or no.

That’s what makes motherhood hard.

Sure, there will be an expert for every situation to give you an absolute yes or no. But take two steps to your left and you’ll find some other expert who will give you the exact opposite response for that particular situation.

There’s very few “musts” that 100 percent of experts can agree on when it comes to motherhood. And that’s what makes motherhood hard.

So in an effort to make it a little easier for you, here’s my list of motherhood “musts”:

1: You MUST figure out what works for you and your family – try a hundred things – always with the best of intentions – and figure out what does and doesn’t work.

2: You MUST go into motherhood with an enormous sense of compassion – for yourself, for your child, for your husband or partner, for your own parents, for the family dog. For everyone. Compassion is like magic dust. Worth it’s weight in gold.

3: You MUST realise that no one thing works for 100pc of people, 100pc of the time – nothing.

4: You MUST live a life according to your values – those guiding principles by which you aim to create a richer, fuller, more meaningful life, for you and your family – figure out what the are and live by them in all that you do – including parenthood.

5: You MUST have confidence in your ability to know what’s right for you – you’re the expert in your own life. After all it is YOUR life.

6: You MAY disregard any of the above advice – because, see point one again.

So there you have my “musts”. I hope they help. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go check ABC iview for the latest episode of Grand Designs.

Until next time,

Sarah xx

My lost Mother’s Group

My lost Mother’s Group

Something interesting popped up on my personal Facebook feed today, it was a memory from three years ago of the little announcement I made about us moving from our hometown at the time, Yeppoon, Queensland, back to my old home town of Adelaide.
 
Apart from the cane toads, flying cockroaches and biannual tropical cyclones. My husband and I loved living in Queensland. The weather was amazing for eight months of the year, our lifestyle was super laid back and we both had stable jobs.

More importantly for me, it was where I became a mother.

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Yeppoon. Birthplace of Sarah, the mother.

So in a sense, Sarah, mother of two, was born in Yeppoon. It was here that my metamorphosis from woman to ‘woman and mother’ occurred.
It was where I met and connected with the amazing group of women from my mother’s group. The friendships I made during that period, in that sleepy little coastal town, were something different to any other friendships I’d experienced until, or since, that time. I still remember our first mother’s group session, run by the gorgeous child health nurse, Tracey. I dressed Ella in her cutest little ruffled outfit. I watched as the new Mums around me fumbled with maternity bras and squirming babies, and I second guessed my decision to put Ella down on a blanket on the floor, ‘everyone else is just holding their baby, am I allowed to put mind on the floor???’
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First day of Mothers Group – must choose extremely cute, but highly impractical outfit…

There’s something unique about the friends you make while deep in the trenches of early motherhood.

A shared, but largely unspoken bond. Those women had an enormous influence on my experience of new motherhood. Whether they knew it or not, it was their presence that carried me through the rough days and the sleepless nights and the intense feeling of not knowing what the hell I was doing. Knowing I could turn up to our regular Friday morning catch up at the park and have a sympathetic ear to hear my struggle made all the difference. It got me through every single week. Especially the hard ones.
 
When my husband and I made the decision to move home to Adelaide after our three years in Queensland it was for one main reason: we wanted our children to have more opportunities to build close relationships with their extended families here in South Australia. But in making this choice with my children’s future relationships front of mind, I failed to realise that the choice I was making would have profound implications on my own relationships. 
As adults, making decisions is an enormous part of our lives. As a parent, life-decision making is an even greater emotionally charged experience. Weighing up the pros and cons now requires two pro-con lists. One for us, and one for our children – add a third list if your partner and you have differing needs and opionions. It’s a rare moment we can make a life decision where the pros and cons on all of these respective lists line up perfectly. Rarely will a decision support every single one of our wants, needs and desires – as both a human and a parent.
Which brings me back to our decision to move. Though I was excited to be back home closer to my old friends, most of whom now also had their own children, and with whom I was looking forward to now sharing the experience of motherhood, I knew I would be sad to leave my Poon-town mum friends. But I didn’t realise exactly how much of a gaping hole it would leave in my psyche. Firstly, can I say, it’s been amazing to reconnect with my old friends, I love them to bits and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Secondly, I’ve been immensely fortunate to have made wonderful new friends since moving home – mostly other mothers, and mostly from the circles of small business owners in which I now mingle.

So while I’m now surrounded by amazing women, who also happen to be mothers and are also true friends, it’s just not the same.

They weren’t there in the trenches with me in those early days – we didn’t bond over lattes and stories of cracked nipples and leaking boobs. Our children didn’t grow up side by side. We didn’t use each other as important sounding posts around issues such as sleeping routines, introducing solids or which childcare to choose.
 
I didn’t realise how much the loss of my mother’s group would impact me.
The crew

The crew – that’s Ella, in the bottom left corner.

I haven’t been able to re-create a mother’s group situation here in Adelaide. My old friends are spread all across the city so it’s quite an effort to get to each other, and we all work different days, so it’s a rare occasion I connect with more than one other mother at a time. My new friends are from my business life, so we tend to gather sans children to discuss accounting software and world domination. And so I find myself mothers group-less.
Even now, three years on from my move, when I spy other mothers groups at the park (when I’m there alone with my girls), I become envious. A little pang of longing in my belly for my old mama-crew. Some days I want to gatecrash these strangers’ playdates and ask if I can pretty please be their friend.
 

Perhaps I’m romanticising it too much.

Maybe our little crew would have quietly dissolved over the years, as the commitments of work schedules, school drop offs and extra-curricular taxiing of children took hold of our worlds. But maybe not.
 
Maybe this Friday I’d still be wandering down to Appleton Park, oohing and aahing over Steph’s new baby, chatting with Marise about the best online store for ballet shoes and trading Thermomix recipes with Paloma. Maybe Cassie and I would still be running laps of Taranganba, dodging cane toads at dusk. Maybe Di and I would be sipping chilled Sav Blanc on her balcony overlooking the bay while the men-folk tend the barbecue. Surely I’d still be chatting to my neighbour Leanne over the fence, while our girls made faces at each other through gaps in the palings…
 
Maybe not. And if I moved back to Yeppoon tomorrow, could I just pick it all up again – would it be the same. Or is it true that you can never go home?
Maybe it’s not just the mums group that I miss. But what it represents: a different time, a different community, a different lifestyle. Maybe under all of my city girl, business owner bluster I’m just a small town beach bum who’s happiest while on maternity leave and elbow deep in burping rugs and nappy changes? Maybe I’m actually mourning not just the loss of my mums group, but also the loss of my childbearing days, with hubby now on the list to “get ping and pong sorted out”. Either way, there’s a definite sense of loss whenever I think about my mothers group.
 
I’m not quite sure what my point is here today. But I guess I just want to honour that little crew of mine. To remind myself and them of what an important part of my life they were. And to remind other new mums everywhere to, as much as possible, enjoy this special time and this unique relationship with these women who have been catapulted into your life based purely on the fact that you all gave birth around the same time.
And if you do have a wonderful mothers group, let me know just one thing…
Can I join it too?
Until next time,
Sarah xx
Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day

Daughter.

Sister.

Friend.

Student.

Athlete.

Worker.

Confidante.

Non-comformist.

Activist.

Performer.

Lover.

Artist.

Seeker of truth.

Seeker of light.

Traveller.

Adventurer.

Mother.

All those things you were, before you were a mother, you still are.

Just with greater complexity. Additional intensity.

Because you are also a mother.

concept of love and family. hands of mother and baby

And in the very moment you became a mother, the whole world changed.

A change so dramatic it shook your very core for months, perhaps years. Though it was imperceptible to others.

Did it change the way you viewed yourself and all those “before you were a mother” roles? Perhaps you gave them up. Dismissed them as unimportant. Or did you decide they no longer blended into your new filtered world. That the sharp, daring angles of your previous life no longer fit in this surreal new landscape of motherhood.

Because, you became a mother. And you will forever see the world through the lens of motherhood.

At that moment your child entered your life, a filter was thrown across your world view. One that seemed perhaps so uncertain, so strange, so fragile and frightening at the time. But as time passed, you slowly became accustomed to this foreign haze. And now, you barely notice its existence. For that filter is your new normal. And if it were ever torn from your life, the world would suddenly seem unnatural and cold and harsh and a lesser place to be.

Because even though you are still all those things you were, before you were a mother, you are now a mother. And that changes everything.

And that is why we celebrate today.

Because you are a mother – and everything you do, every choice you ever make, will be, in some way, influenced by the fact you are a mother.

But you are also so much more than just a mother. You are still all those things you once were, for as long as you still wish to be. And whatever you else you so desire to become. Because while a filter may change the way you see things, it doesn’t prevent you from seeing them. It doesn’t exclude you from being them.

You can be whatever you want to be. You can be a mother, yet so much more.

Be more. Be you. Just more you.

Happy mothers day to each and every mother.

All my love, Sarah xx

Are we wholly responsible for our own wellbeing?

Are we wholly responsible for our own wellbeing?

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to spend a lot of time talking to women.

Talking one to one to clients, chatting to Facebook followers, communicating over email to women I’ll probably never meet, and also making presentations to small groups on a regular basis. I’m a talker, I love to talk. I get it from my Mum. Who got it from her Mum, but that’s beside the point.

The point is I love talking, especially to other mothers, because it’s how I can best support the clients I work with, how I can get the message I want to share out into the world, but most importantly, it’s how I learn so much about this wonderful client group I work with.

Yesterday I was excited to be the guest speaker at a meeting of the Australian Breastfeeding Association here in Adelaide, where I was asked to talk on the topic of ‘self care for Mums’.

Now it’s true that phrases such as ‘self care’, ‘put yourself first’ and ‘find time for me time’ can often feel like massively cliched buzzwords in today’s motherhood environment. They’re a dime a dozen and I bet they’re sprawled all over the sponsored ads clogging up your news feed on a daily basis. It seems everywhere we turn Mums are being told to take better care of themselves, meditate more and eat more kale. Hey, I’m one of those people saying those things!

And while most people would agree that taking care of your own wellbeing is an exceptionally important task, both for your own sake, and that of your family, there is also another consideration to this ‘make me-time a priority’ message, as one of the women in my presentation yesterday pointed out.

Her comment was that this drive for mothers to prioritise self care can often feel like another big unachievable task on that never-ending ‘to-do’ list. Something that women already know they should be doing, and desperately want to do, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t happen.

What she was questioning was this: why is it just the responsibility of the mother to look after her own wellbeing? Where’s her support squad? Shouldn’t we expect our husbands, partners, parents, friends, aunties, grandmothers, or whoever else we have in our lives, to also step up to the plate. To be there to help us look after ourselves, just as we support everyone around us to look after themselves.

It’s a valid point.

 

Certainly we shouldn’t expect other people to look after us and cater to all of our needs. It’s not the 1950s after all.

But surely we deserve a little bit of consideration? Especially in those early months (or even years) of motherhood. It’s okay to want our village to step up. But here’s the thing. What we might actually need to do first is invite that village in.  To reach out and seek support, to let our tribe know that we’re really focused on supporting our own wellbeing and that we’d love any help they could offer up. They’re not mind readers after all.

I know asking for support is not always on our list of top five favourite things to do. It can leave us feeling open, vulnerable and perhaps even weak. But it can also open us up to truly receiving love and compassion from those around us, and to feel sincere gratitude for those people in our own little village when they step up.

Which brings us back to the question of “are we wholly responsible for our own wellbeing”? Well I guess the answer is yes – because our own wellbeing is too important for us not take the reins. It is ultimately up to us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sub-contract the task out to those we know and trust as well. We just need to have faith that those we ask will respond. But it starts with asking. And that’s on us.

What about you? Do you have people around you who support your wellbeing? How do they do it? How would you like them to help?

Let me know in the comments, pop a note below this post on facebook, or even email me at sarah@bloomwellbeing.com.au

Until next time.

Sarah xx

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What I missed on the starting school checklist

What I missed on the starting school checklist

It’s all happening.

The class allocation letter has arrived, the school uniforms have been procured and the all important lunch box and drink bottle selections have been made. Yes, the excitement of my eldest daughter starting school on Monday is palpable.

I’m excited. Hubby’s excited – he’s even starting late and finishing early on Monday so he can do both school runs. And even though she’s quite literally playing the ‘too cool for school’ card, and insisting she’s not excited at all (to anyone who asks), my big five year old IS in fact super-pumped to be a grown up school girl. A big kid. Deep breaths now.

Uniform. Lunchbox. Drink bottle. What have I forgotten?

Uniform. Lunchbox. Drink bottle. What have I forgotten?

But amid all this excitement and the careful preparations we’ve been making for our big school girl on both a practical and emotional level, there’s something I forgot. One thing which totally slipped under my radar.

My youngest daughter. Her little sister.

She’s in the midst of a transition too. And I’ve completely missed it.

It hit me today – when I dropped her off at childcare alone (as big sis is having a little holiday at Gran’s this week before school starts).

I finally realised that my little three-next-month year old, my precious Moochie, will be facing a very different childcare experience this year from what she is used to. For more than two of her almost three years she’s been dropped off and picked up at childcare with her big sister. They’ve had total access to each other that whole time, even while in different rooms, through the wonderful staff who happily arrange little visits between them on a daily basis.

But now – she’s on her own.

Being the younger child she’s so strongly attached to her big sister – which has always been a benefit. She’s had a ready-made posse of friends to coo over her when they visited her in her room, and to protect her when she’d come to visit them in the their room. She’s never had to navigate childcare alone. Never had to make independent friendships, because she’s always had her big sister there as her cohort.

So this week, when she went in on her own and hid behind me, clinging to my leg, it finally dawned on me how much I hadn’t prepared her for this monumental transition of her big sister starting school – effectively leaving her behind. And she’s moving rooms too. Away from the protected Wallaby room, filled with cooing babies and babbling toddlers, into the big wide world of the Wombat room: super-charged pre-schoolers and screeching kindy kids.

I hadn’t really thought much about the transition of her moving up rooms, because she’s been in that room hundreds of times – but always with her big sister. Until now.

Ironically enough, I happened to measure her height this morning, for the first time in two whole years. As a baby she always measured above the 97th percentile for height and weight – and she’s still pulling in those high numbers. She towers over other children her age.

But today, she seemed like the smallest child in the room, cowered behind my legs, so acutely feeling the absence of her security blanket, her safety shield. Her big sister. “Where me sister?” she asked me.

My poor little Moochie – with her curly strawberry blonde locks, her evil genius laugh and her grumpy little facial expressions. What will she do on her own? How will she manage without her big sister?

How on earth did I so totally drop the ball on this one?

So it was with this thunderbolt of realisation that I left childcare this morning, frantically thinking of all the conversations I should have/will be having with her over the next few weeks.

And then I saw her, as I walked past the window to wave goodbye, I saw her, cuddled in the arms of her carer, with big, fat, lonely tears rolling down her cheeks. It was at that point my heart officially broke – and I got in my car, and I cried at childcare drop off for the first time in a very long time.

I’m sure I won’t cry when my big girl starts school on Monday, and neither will she – because she’s totally too cool for that. But I suspect there’s going to be a few more tears at the kindy window for some time to come.

S xx