First day of school and the rest of the shit that comes with lifing.

Walking through a new school, crying my eyes out

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While I betray the little boy who would never betray me. Arlo. Happy days.

Arlo has separation anxiety, he is the happiest, most social, caring and full of adventure kid… Until you force him to spend time away from me. Then shit hits the fan.

 

On the school holidays we moved house. Well we moved cities and are now living in Margaret River, 3 hours south of Perth in the most beautiful place we have ever been to.

The move was always coming, I don’t know how permanent it will be but we have been coming here most weekends to stay with friends for years and have always thought that if we didn’t need to rely so heavily on Bills work we’d make the move.

Now that I am working too and can do it from home, a bit of pressure is off.

I was the driving force behind the move, I want more community for my kids, more nature, less of the locked doors that the city requires. We have lived in our house in Perth for 6 years and I haven’t ever been inside one of my neighbours houses.

I’d never let one of my kids roam the streets to explore or find new friends because it didn’t feel safe. Our neighbours were all lovely people, but cars sometimes hooned down the street, smashed bottles on the weekends and occasional break ins made me feel really uneasy letting my kids out of my sight.

Im not saying that moving to a coastal town will solve any of that but there is a pile of kids playing on the road in the evenings, a short walk to the river and a very welcoming neighbour vibe certainly feels more like what I have always envisioned my kids childhood to look like.. Not to mention real estate is half the price and with the size of our family a big house in Perth was going to equate to a mortgage that my great grand kids will be paying off.

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So this move made sense….

There is something else… Bill and I need space, like loads of space. Like he might stay in Perth kind of space.

I thought that space would be good for us, absence makes the heart grow fonder etc etc but as it appears we are both enjoying the space a little too much and feeling resentment, unable to get on at all when we are with each other.

So Bill has spent a lot of time in Perth lately, I have spent a lot of time in Margaret River, we have shared the kids, I haven’t mentioned anything publicly because I don’t know what it is, have we moved or will we return? Is he coming? Have we separated? I don’t know. I cant label us, all I know is that things are changing.


So this brings me back to today. Today is the first day that the kids started their new school, they have never done that before, its nerve racking for me because I feel every single one of their emotions 10 fold.
Bill drove down last night from Perth so that the kids felt strong going to class with both of us by their sides.
Billie-Violet is a Brave Heart who loves girls and just wants to make new friends and be a naughty and rebel against society with a crew. I walk out of her class room feeling strong and proud and capable.

Arlo……

The only way that I could even get Arlo dressed this morning is by promising that I wouldn’t leave him today. I was going to school with Arlo, he needed me to.

He hates all institutions, not just school. He hates doctors and play groups and anywhere that he can’t just live in a tree or skateboard his life away. He’s a physical kid, not so much a mental one. Like his mum concentration isn’t his strong point.

But you have never seen a 5-year-old with his skills, he draws a crowd with how high his tree climbing is, he makes new friends the second he gets to a park, he feeds his little siblings their food if they drop it. He really is a special soul, from a special world.

So I took him to his first day of pre-primary, dressed in his uniform he began to ignore all adults, this is very unlike Arlo, he’s Mr have a chat most of the time but when he feels like he’s about to be ripped away from his mum he turns into someone else, someone shy and withdrawn.

I look to teachers for guidance and they recommended I just go. Which has been the only success I’ve had in the past and I am torn in half with the decision.


So after sitting with him, trying to read him a book and talk to him about his new class, I pried his little fingers from my waist and looked deeply into his eyes, so full of panic, so full of fear. I tried to tell him I would be straight back but he completely lost control and started to scream the school down. The teachers told me to walk outside where I could hear him screaming. Every inch of my heart remained well and truly inside that pre-primary class, screaming alongside him.

Outside the world closed in on me, all of the new faces that I had earlier so desperately wanted to seem to have my shit together in front of were now confronted by the anxious mess that was me.
I turned to Bill and I felt all of our unhappiness bubbling to the surface at that point and I could no longer be strong and burst into tears.

Being alone is less lonely than being in an unhappy relationship.

What a realisation point for both of us, I felt so alone standing at a new school with him and I know he must have too. People change, over the holidays we couldn’t be in the same room without arguing, simple decisions turn into huge fights.

I have a lot of love for the man, I just feel like we have tried everything. We are happy for .05% of the time and fighting for the rest.

Is that the voice of love that I want to be ringing into my kids hearts when they start to form relationships?

So I scurried out of the school, betraying Arlo my little soldier, I called my mum crying my eyes out and walked home alone.


Waiting for the school to call me and tell me that I can pick up my Arlo man and consider home schooling him, maybe that’s our answer. If something feels so incredibly unnatural to him and I maybe it is just wrong?
Or maybe he will be absolutely fine and I need to persevere.

Is my drive to not fuck my kids up going to be the very one thing that does?

Bill has returned back to Perth now and I am going to spend my morning googling separation anxiety. Thanks for listening Queens xxx

Anyone with any experience with children and separation anxiety your advice in the comments would be greatly appreciated.

Con xxx

45 Comments
  1. Profile photo of Jennie
    Jennie 3 weeks ago

    My son had terrible separation anxiety when he was little (now 15) and we tried everything to toughen him up as my parents would say. There was no magic cure and no quick fix (sorry to say), but it became about familiarity and safety. He n red to know everything about the location, the people, the schedule whT would happen and whT to expect. Not in a crazy Rainman kind of way just a reassurance that he could cope with changes.

    He went to the same school all of primary school and started in high school in Melbourne. He actually ran out of the gate in his first day of high school and I had to chase whim down with tears streaming down his face. It was harder than the first day of primary school. But we did the best thing for him we ever could, we moved to the US (ok maybe the location isn’t what it was 3years ago). We put him in 7th grade honking that would make him feel safer to be the oldest, but poor kid rang rings around the American educated babies, so he changed schools again. Then we faught to have him pushed up a year and he ended up testing up to 9th grade.
    Two schools later and I think this kid might be an expert at learning the scope of a new environment and working though the anxiety. He still has it- it doesn’t go away but we work on it together. Working through what will happen, good and bad – don’t be too woosie, be firm but loving, and honest- knowing what to expect helps. I’m certain you’ll pick up Arlo and it may not be today but one day soon you will catch them smiling and laughing and coping just fine – right until they see you and become mush again! Mine still does at 15 😉

    best of luck. Xx alone or with Bill you have the strength to be the best mum ever.

  2. Profile photo of Lisa H
    Lisa H 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con,

    While I’m not an expert on separation anxiety, I am a teacher to a bunch of kick ass 7 year olds (30 of them to be exact!). I think there is a fine line between pushing kids to challenge themselves (e.g. Mum leaving class and 5 minutes later they are fine) and pushing kids when they are just not ready (where the risk is that they will hate school). If Arlo was in my class, I would be suggesting you stay with him for an hour each morning, and then take him home. It will take away his fear of school, and make it far more approachable. After a couple of days, ask him if you can run to the bathroom – tell him you’re busting and it would be a big help if he could be ok for 5 minutes. Then go back to him after the 5 minutes. Maybe one day shoot out for a coffee, maybe tell him you need to catch up on emails in the car for 15 minutes. My suggestion would be to stay honest with him – be truthful, and if you say 15 minutes, actually mean it (to the minute – you could even leave him with a stop watch). You know him better than anyone – see how he goes, adapt to his needs. Mondays might be bad – stay with him the whole time. On a random Wednesday he might be excited about something happening and ask if he can stay longer, even better he might offer to do it on his own. Eventually he will stay longer, and form those long-term relationships that mean he feels safe (while nowhere near the role of a Mum, there is a reason teachers are often called ‘Mum’ accidentally by students) . You might be surprised by how quickly he adapts, but also it might take a few months – and ultimately this isn’t a lot of time to set up a future 10+ years of happy schooling. When he does have a setback, or feels anxious, just revert back to the system. He will then know, no matter what, he has this security.

    I would also work out a plan with the teacher to make sure he has a physical/outdoor release – I have a boy in my class who needs to be outdoors, every afternoon when it gets too much he is sent outside with a pair of scissors to trim the hedge in my class garden (the rules are, I have to be able to see him, and he has to show respect to other students in the area).

    Don’t let school swallow him whole. xx Teacher/Queen

    • Profile photo of JicyJac
      JicyJac 3 weeks ago

      What beautiful advice Lisa. teachers in general are all hero’s but you Lisa I would say really stand out in the pack. They are 30 very lucky 7 year olds in your class.

    • Profile photo of Sarah
      Sarah 3 weeks ago

      Lisa,
      This is the most wonderful advice. 🙌🏻

    • Profile photo of Lisa Calvert
      Lisa Calvert 3 weeks ago

      What she said! Two out of three of mine suffered in the same way, one coped with the quick exit strategy the other didn’t. I ended up volunteering in the school, firstly in her classroom where I’d take small groups (not always including her but she was always allowed to be in the first group) and do an activity with them like cooking. Gradually she relaxed, made friends and I was able to go into different classes, she was just happy knowing I was in the building even though she had to share me! Start small, lots of rewards and do what suits you and Arlo. Good luck xx

    • Profile photo of Tegan
      Tegan 3 weeks ago

      Whoever you are, you’re amazing, I wish you were my daughters teacher xx

    • Profile photo of Sonia
      Sonia 3 weeks ago

      What fantastic advice!

    • Profile photo of Eileen
      Eileen 3 weeks ago

      Amazing advice Lisa. What a fantastic teacher you are xx

    • Profile photo of ElanorJ
      ElanorJ 3 weeks ago

      Love this Lisa! Thanks for being a great teacher!! I was a kid like Arlo and tough love only makes the anxiety worse. Your kind approach may take time, flexibility and patience but will avoid a lot of problems down the track! I’m lucky that my Mum took the patient persistent road with me and I built the resilience I needed to go onto enjoy and excel in school and academic life.

    • Profile photo of Bianca
      Bianca 3 weeks ago

      I’m a teacher too and to
      Me this is great advice!!!

    • Profile photo of Ang
      Ang 3 weeks ago

      Great advise! I wish the public schools in the US would be willing to treat our children as individuals. I would have been told “just leave he will be fine.”

    • Profile photo of foxinsox
      foxinsox 2 weeks ago

      Best advice ever! I wish my son was lucky enough to have had a teacher like you.

    • Profile photo of Wanita1970
      Wanita1970 1 week ago

      That was such a fantastic reply – so supportive, supportive for both mum and child. You rock Teacher Queen xx

  3. Profile photo of Marg
    Marg 3 weeks ago

    Feeling for you Con. I adopted my son at aged 2 and he always needs to know where I am. Prep was okay but he struggled in grade 1 last year. Broke my heart. He is a beautiful special soul who just wants to experience the world. A structured classroom is just not his thing. The School started to understand him a little more later in the year but now we start again with a new teach and it is more than a little daunting! I can’t offer much advice as our School experience is still a work in progress but know that you are not alone with what you and Arlo are going through. Much love xoxo

  4. Profile photo of Jessica
    Jessica 3 weeks ago

    My daughter was exactly the same. She started a new school hours away from where she went to kinder so didn’t know anyone in her class. Every day for 6 months if not longer school drop off was a struggle with her crying and holding onto me. Begging me to stay but I couldn’t. As time passed and the more friends she made it got easier.
    It takes time and patience but there is a light at the end of the tunnel until the next obstacle comes along like a sub teacher that your child doesn’t like. There is always something with kids 😊😊

  5. Profile photo of TheDancingEinstein
    TheDancingEinstein 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con. Having had with separation anxiety as a kid myself (and not knowing that I had it until well into adulthood!), and now going through the experience again with my little 5 year old nephew who is also diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum (very high functioning) and ADHD, my two cents is to let Arlo decide. As in, if you see that his anxiety is the same after a couple more tries, then either actually do stay with him (particularly if you promise him that you will) until he feels safe enough to release you, or home-school him and start taking trips together to the school for a little bit (longer) every day and then come back so that he is being introduced to the environment gradually. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Continue to shine light on your fears, you have a whole army behind you 🙂

  6. Profile photo of Ellen
    Ellen 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con

    My kids didn’t have much in the way of separation anxiety- thankfully, they just had moments from time to time.

    I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you through your difficult time and hope things improve. You do so much to vocalise what so many people are thinking and are too afraid to say or admit to and you deserve the best for helping out others that feel they are alone.

    Hugs, kisses and best wishes are being sent to you.

    Stay strong.

  7. Profile photo of Lauren
    Lauren 3 weeks ago

    Con,

    My little girl suffers so terribly with separation anxiety too for, like, ever… (as did I when I was a kid, I didn’t have a sleep over until I was about 15, so I know the feeling… it is suffocating…) this has helped her so much – she still has her moments when she has other things going on, but this is a lifesaver for us – I have a little tin in her school bag and each night after she’s asleep, I write a note and I draw a little picture on a little river pebble and pop them in her tin – In the morning when she gets to school, she knows that when she says good bye to me, she can go to her bag with her teacher (or maybe if they have a buddy system at school, that could help Arlo) and she reads her the note, and she gets to put the new stone in her pocket, she calls them her “worry stones” – and it reminds her that I’m missing her as much as she is missing me, and that we’ll be together again in the afternoon. The notes usually mention a great memory we had together from the day before, or something that I love about her, so that she has something good to think about when I’m leaving. If I could post pictures here, I would, they sometimes send me photos of her holding her note and the smile on her face is all I need to know she’s A-OK!! Something to think about. xox

  8. Profile photo of Rebekah Johnston
    Rebekah Johnston 3 weeks ago

    Here’s the kicker doll…. separation anxiety is a bitch. Little man has it, you have it, the whole world is just right eff’d up. There is no magic cure, just love.
    I’m in a similar spot. My 5 year old is suffering from the changes I had to make on my marriage and life for me and our future.
    Be strong, be loving, and learn tools to help you cope with the changes and in turn help your boy. Hang tough and maybe put special surprises in his lunch bag and back pack?

  9. Profile photo of Sarah
    Sarah 3 weeks ago

    I love what Lisa H wrote – (second commend) sounds spot on to me..
    So hard.. but keep thinking – your mum was the first person you called, and she answered — when you’re feeling your worst, you want your mum – just like Arlo wanted you when he felt most uncomfortable..
    I’m all for not rushing things and helping our babies.. I don’t think tough love helps with true separation anxiety..
    Much love to you & Bill with all that you’re going through..

  10. Profile photo of Mon
    Mon 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con
    I have 3 beautiful babies (13, 10 and 7.5 – not really babies anymore, but they’ll always be my babies!) and 2 out of 3 had separation anxiety. It’s not natural for a mother to make their child stay somewhere that they don’t want to be. Unfortunately school is different and somewhere they need to go.
    With my first, they were peeling his fingers from my shoulders and I was making a mad dash out of the classroom only to make it to the front door of the classroom before the tears would start and I would feel totally awful and mean for leaving him there. Like you I could hear his cries from outside the classroom. Sure enough the lovely teacher would contact me not long after to say all was well.
    There were lots of days like this but they did eventually get better. I just kept saying to him, you are going to be fine – you’ve got this and I love you. The teacher helped a lot by taking him from me and doing a “special job” together each morning. He eventually let go of my hand and took the teachers hand willingly and off they went.

    My 3rd was a shocker. The more I forced her to stay, the more she feared and hated school. It just got harder and harder getting her to go. She would lock herself in the car and move around the car so that I couldn’t reach her – and I refused to drag her into the school screaming. Her fear was real and I needed to deal with it.

    The thing that helped the most was doing something similar to what the teacher above (Lisa H) has suggested which I actually found so helpful. I would stay for the first hour of class but this was on agreement that she had to participate in the classroom and I would sit in the corner and watch. If she didn’t participate and kept coming over to me, then I didn’t stay for the hour. The big thing for her was when she “clicked” with someone. I immediately arrange with the parent of the other child, for both kids to stay after school a bit longer, a couple of days a week so they could play and bond. This lead to play dates etc etc. As she formed a bond and friendships with kids she was easier and easier to drop off.

    We move from New Zealand to Australia and there was nothing familiar for my youngest. So new country, new school, no family, no friends…………..I’d have separation anxiety too!!! LOL
    Arlo is dealing with moving home, and starting a new school. I’m sure he is processing it all and still finding his feet. I know it tears your heart out when you leave him – but as he finds his feet, I’m sure he’ll be a star in no time!

  11. Profile photo of Ange
    Ange 3 weeks ago

    Wow, feeling your pain, my boy is 15 this year, school has been no picnic for either of us, but he started college last year and seems to having finally found his groove. Have no helpful advice or insight to offer, but am sending my love & all the best good jujus your way. You’re an amazing & inspiring woman & your kids could have no better role model x

  12. Profile photo of Natalie
    Natalie 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con,

    I am sending you so much love. I know what it is to feel torn to pieces by anxiety, to have a child with separation anxiety, to have had it myself, to feel like your children and you are almost inhabiting the same soul space, that which if put under duress feels like your heart is being ripped out along with theirs.

    But I came to realise something through my parenting journey, something incredible. That separation can be healed, and can be overcome. There are very strong strategies that can be used; these take the for of games, and tears.

    I won’t go into it deeply, but there exist what are called “attachment games,” for separation anxiety you can play games that are based on separation, making them silly, and getting him laughing. Laughing a lot! Doing this as often as possible will help him to release his fear through laughter, regarding the subject matter (separation) in a “safe” way.

    The other suggestion I have; don’t stop any form if crying. In our culture we are so quick to try and stop our children, ourselves, our friends, any one we love; from crying. In fact we see stopping the crying to almost be the solution to the problem itself. But what if I told you that when we have a cry with the presence of someone who is willing to simply listen and give us empathy (without judgment, or trying to fix anything) is what provides healing? You see there is a biochemist by the name of William Frey who is a world expert on tears. Frey found that emotional tears (there are three types of tears, chemically speaking, and emotional tears are cried when there is an emotive stimulus) when cried actually secret stress hormones. This lead to the conclusion that emotional tears are actually the natural biological process for our bodies to rid themselves of stored stress hormones. Dr Judith Orloff expanded on this and asserted that the greatest benefit is when we cry with the presence of an empathic listener.

    Thus this leads to one thing; laughter and tears (when cried with an empathic listener) combine to create the biological recipe to overcome and heal from trauma we experience in our lives. However, I want to note that this takes time. The more stress hormones that our systems have stored over time, the longer this can take. But it is possible, and children have the advantage of fewer years of stored stress, as well as their natural inclination to share and trust those closest to them, which lends itself to healing.

    Anyway, that is just another perspective, and perhaps some information that you may find useful. But regardless of what you do, you’re an amazing mum, and your love for you babies is the greatest thing they could ever have.

    Much love to you xoxo

    • Profile photo of Natalie
      Natalie 3 weeks ago

      I just want to add that I could easily write an essay on these two concepts alone (and have done so), however the best information is always the source right? So I thought I’d mention the two best books on these subjects, both written by Dr Aletha Solter; “Tears and Tantrums” and another of her books “Attachment Play.”

  13. Profile photo of Em
    Em 3 weeks ago

    Hiya,
    Long time reader, first time commenter (commentator? bah whatever!). I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. Today my daughter started year 1 and it’s the first time for a first day of school (other being kindy & pp) that I left without her (or me!) crying. What an achievement! My kid is an introvert around anyone who is not immediate family. For 9months of Kindy, every single day she melted down when I went to leave. Perfectly fine while we were in there reading or using play doh but I’d say goodbye and she’d latch on and launch into hysterical crying. No bribery seemed to work. The teacher assured me that within 5mins of me leaving she was perfectly fine in class. (Maybe check with the teacher to see how long it took Arlo to settle down?) In 4th term I had a talk to her teacher and she asked me not to stay in the morning. To bring her in, wait as she wrote her name, then hand her over to the teacher and walk out and don’t look back. I told my daughter that while she carried on I wouldn’t be able to stay in the class in the morning til the bell or help in the class occasionally. If she didn’t carry on for a week I would try and stay a little longer but she seemed to revert back. The same thing happened at her dancing class – she’d flip out and wouldn’t dance if her little friend wasn’t there that day (even if I would day). When she started PP the same thing happened in PP for the first few weeks. I told her that I would go back to dropping her and leaving and she gradually got better. She still had issues on days I helped out til lunchtime or if I watched assembly. So I didn’t tell her when that was happening. By about halfway through the year she told me I could just drop her at the gate! I told her that I would walk her to class thanks! My point being is that my kid just wasn’t as emotionally mature as some other kids. But that it did develop and improve with time. As heartbreaking as it was and how I felt like a mean horrible bitch sometimes, I didn’t buy into her crap. All her teachers assured me she calmed down very quickly as soon as I left. I also took her to an occupational therapist to help with her tools to cope with her emotions and I really think that it helped a lot. Even at home she will take herself off to have quiet time if things are getting overwhelming. Maybe Arlo’s emotional maturity just hasn’t developed yet. He might be picking up the vibes between you and your husband and maybe it’s affecting him too. I’d suggest get some help like an OT and talk to his teachers about how it goes once you leave. Don’t make any big decisions about home schooling based on a day in a new school in a new town.

    Good luck, you’re a good person and a good mum.

    Em 🙂

  14. Profile photo of Ceejay75
    Ceejay75 3 weeks ago

    Listen to your heart and your gut, you know deep down what’s best for your child. Don’t be rash, move deliberately and cautiously in all your decision making when it comes to your children – listen to the opinion of those who you respect. Be strong and confident – not for yourself, but for Arlo. You’ve got this.

  15. Profile photo of NattyWhite
    NattyWhite 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con,

    My only experience with separation anxiety is me.
    A little background:
    When I was 1 my parents separated. They used to fight all the time and it was better this way.
    I stayed a lot with my grandparents who lived in the same house and I loved it.
    My mom went to work, sometimes all day. My 3 years older brother would freak out and scream, I really didn’t give a shit. My grandma and me had a very special connection.
    Following my brother everywhere with complete trust, I loved going to kindy, because he did.
    But one day something changed.
    I had a lot of nightmares in which my family died (I was like 4 or 5) and I was scared.
    So I didn’t want to go to kindy anymore. I wanted to stay home with grandma.
    She let me. I stayed home for 3 weeks, because she thought I would get the idea to go again by myself. (In Germany Kindy is not mandatory).
    Well, I didn’t and at a certain point they brought me again. My grandma did it amazing. She brought me inside and stayed with me while I met all my friends who told me they missed me. It felt amazing.
    Then she was supposed to leave.
    I felt a wave of panic rush through me. She kneeled down and said: “You don’t worry. I’m gonna go, because I have to, but I’ll only go right in front of the fence. I will be right there. You just play a while with your friends and come looking whenever you miss me.”
    The kindy teachers promised they would let me outside whenever I needed to see my grandma.
    I played for maybe an hour and then I wanted to see her. They didn’t let me. They restrained me physically by holding me around my waist.
    This was by far the most traumatic experience of my childhood.
    When I got home at noon I didn’t talk anymore. To no one. My brother eventually got out of me what happened.
    I don’t know who called the kindy (I think it was my grandpa) but that person must have readjusted their arseholes. They never did that again.
    My grandma and me for some time did the same routine. Yes, she really stayed three to four hours every day in front of the kindy just so I could look out and see her walking whenever I needed to.
    To this day, I can not thank her enough.
    She built up my trust in others again, and took my anxiety. She gave me back my freedom and in my own way.
    Look, I’m not saying you have to do this. I’m sure there are a lot of smarter people than me out there who will tell you that what she did was really bad.
    But I see it this way (and please don’t feel judged!): you and Bill went through a lot of phases. You separated more than once. I don’t have to ask myself where Arlos separation anxiety is coming from. Now, my brother was left screaming when my mom left for work. But with my grandma. It didn’t seem to help but he turned out fine anyways.
    But what i would definitely recommend is: trust your instinct!
    You are a great mom! One of the best I know (and I don’t even really know you), because you do everything for the right reason: love.
    I would try finding out if there is anything that can make it a little easier on him. And I would do it, whatever’s possible. He loves climbing trees and making friends. He’s not a soft egg. (German expression there. Someone who’s not used to ever having to be brave.) So it’s not like he needs to learn to ever do something without you. It’s probably just the finality of being left there for a certain time that freaks him out.
    Me, after a couple of days I didn’t go so often to check anymore if grandma was there. And eventually I stopped completely. And she went home. And there never was a problem again.
    Love is the answer, Con. And you know it.
    Don’t you forget it, my love soldier! You can do this!

  16. Profile photo of #fromonequeentoanother

    Oh precious mama how I feel you…my 13 year old daughter who is athletic and arty had THE worst year at school last year – girls can be so damn mean. Last night as she lay crying in my arms begging me to homeschool her my heart tore in two… I have been feeling sick all day 😔 here is to our precious free spirited parentally attached babes – may they find their place in the world outside of our education system…❤❤❤

    Ps my relationship of 25 years is fucked too!!! Walpole is his “mancation” and possibly go live without me one day location 🌈

  17. Profile photo of Lindsay Thorpe
    Lindsay Thorpe 3 weeks ago

    Home educating my son, Fraser, was originally all about separation anxiety. He went to preschool for 7 and a half hours, and it destroyed him. It took me months to make him feel secure again, and get him back to the quietly confident little wild thing that he really was. But now, home education is my passion, we have tons of friends who do it, and every day is like the holidays! 🙂

  18. Profile photo of Melissa
    Melissa 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con,
    Sorry to hear that your lives are so full of uncertainty at the moment! I’m shit at relationship advice sorry, but I do know a lot about children. Brain research tells us a lot about how kids tick and relationships are fundamental in ensuring children feel safe, secure and trusting in new spaces. I would suggest talking with his teacher(s) and coming up with a plan on how to best support him. If there is more than one teacher, ask that just one of them steps forward to become a “key teacher” for Arlo. Over the coming week build up this relationship slowly. Maybe he just does one hour with you there tomorrow so he can watch from the safety of your arms and see that this is a safe place. The next day ask his “key teacher” to spend a little more time with him in a relaxed way. The following day maybe you pop out to get a coffee and come straight back. The next day you might leave him for an hour… I think you probably get the picture. The idea is that you give him time to build a relationship with the new teachers in his life so that he feels safe and secure in the environment. Only when our hearts feel safe do our minds run free! Good luck to you all, Kia kaha! Be strong!

  19. Profile photo of Sbh
    Sbh 3 weeks ago

    Sorry you’ve had a shit time lately.

    Your little man might benefit from a bodytalk. I’ve been taking my kids for the last 12 years and it’s cured all our emotional, psychological, physical-you name it-issues.
    If you google bodytalk Australia you should be able to find a practitioner close to you and find out more.
    It really is magical.

  20. Profile photo of Jeanine
    Jeanine 3 weeks ago

    I am currently in the same boat as you and many queens are. My youngest starts kindy soon and even though i know she will be fine (because i raised her to be strong) im not sure if i will be. My marriage is also in all sorts of turmoil and her being my last baby has made feel useless now that she is not going to need me for at least 5 hours a day. I am unable to get a job in this small town of mine so i focused just on them and now im feeling like “now what?”. It does help that there are others in the same boat but it doesn’t help with the loneliness. We moved from the city for all the same reasons as you and my kids are thriving and so is hubby but i have no real friends to speak of and because im going all out to save my marriage i cant really talk to anyone without it being a thing. Feeling so alone atm

    • Profile photo of Alex
      Alex 3 weeks ago

      Hey Con, my little 3 year old queen has separation anxiety but that isn’t what I want to comment about.
      You and Bill…… me and my “bill” have been there, lived apart while being together, I use that term “together” loosely. We lived apart for 1 year until we ended up hating each other so much we split up AGAIN! We had some time apart but proper time not meeting up and shagging then being apart again time but proper separate time when only talking about the children. But guess what! We missed each other, really really missed each other. Realised that we love each other a stupid amount and we couldn’t be apart anymore, so we moved in together. And all the things we used to fight about have gone, we still fight but differently and we make up a whole lot quicker.
      I don’t know what the solution for you and Bill would be be that’s my experience, take from it what you like.
      Masses of love, Alex. Xx

  21. Profile photo of Kate
    Kate 3 weeks ago

    I’ve been where you are with my eldest son. Separation anxiety, anxiety in the classroom, anxiety the on a sunday night because of school the next day. I have been treated for anxiety my whole adult life and wish I had been as a child. So eventually I just went to the doc, who gave him 10mg of fluoxitine a day. Maybe I’m wrong to medicate, but seriously, so much is expected of these little kids and the world is a scary place for them these days. A few weeks later and he runs into school and hugs his teacher, he plays ball with the other kids and enjoys himself. Sometimes he still feels anxious, but it is no longer out of control. I’m not saying it’s what you should do Contance, or anyone else, but for me – who has 3 kids, one with anxiety issues, one with severe ADHD/Aspergers, and one only 12 months old, its the best that I can do. And all I actually want is for my kids to be okay. He has also started therapy with the school psychologist so that he learns some coping skills and won’t need meds his whole life if he doesn’t want them. He is 7 years old. He is okay. This is the best I can do right now.

  22. Profile photo of Sarah75
    Sarah75 3 weeks ago

    My 9 year old doesn’t just have separation anxiety it is total anxiety he worries and stresses over everything.
    He will have a practical panic attack if the petrol light comes on!!
    It can be hard exhausting and I hate to say it when I am having a no kind of patience day it winds me up so get snappy then get guilty
    However on the good days when I can deal with it I am calm and actually talk him through it explaining that not everything has to be worried about by him it’s my job as his mum to worry if needs be and if I am not stressing about it then he is fine
    I know if I am having bad days (relationship problems pregnancy problems just general shitty day issue)
    He senses this and goes into overdrive so I am having to change how I deal with it in order to try and help him.

    I am sure Arlo will settle soon enough it might even take more than just a day but you have made the right decision Con for your family it’s just change and you all need time to adjust to it
    As soon as your back to YOUR normal routine I am sure Arlo will be fine especially as you say he is a doer so that space that freedom will really benefit him.
    I think as mothers we always try to second guess our gut instincts which makes us doubt our decisions
    Trust and believe in yourself your wonderfully xx

  23. Profile photo of ElanorJ
    ElanorJ 3 weeks ago

    I was just like Arlo as a kid!! My mum didn’t know what she was going to do (poor thing!). I was having difficulty adjusting to the environment of the main school in our area. Unfortunately a hard-love approach (which she did tried) did not work on me but only made things worse. She tried lots of schools and found an alternative very small school (out of town in the bush) with mixed year classrooms which was a situation I coped way better in. I had no trouble almost immediately a changed kid!! The curriculum was more arts, nature and sports driven I was right at home!!! One-on-one exchanges with some of the kids before and after school and joining in for half days and just single classes to start out allowed me to warm up and build the trust I needed to cope with the full days. After 4 years there I joined the large school without any problems!

    I’m pretty sure I’ll go through the same thing with my little boy, he’s pretty similar to me. Aint karma a bitch 😉

  24. Profile photo of Kay
    Kay 3 weeks ago

    Con, my two are clingy but manageable, so I think I don’t have much practical advice for you. But just wanted to send you some love – mummy guilt is the worst thing ever, and I feel terrible for you.

    As always – I think you are a great mum, I know you will work with the school to help Arlo settle in at his own pace, and fingers crossed it all clicks into place soon. Your new home sounds AMAZING, and rural settings are so good for children. I think you have made a good move.

    As for Bill – none of my business, but thank you for sharing that with us, and I hope that everything works out to a situation where everyone is happy xxx

  25. Profile photo of SamLinde
    SamLinde 3 weeks ago

    Hey Con. Ps. Lisa u are awesome.
    Just wanted to let u know we have also moved cities and spent the majority of the holidays fighting and near breaking up. It’s really tough. We are somehow kind of getting along again but I know there’s lots of work. Just take a day at a time. It’s all u can do. Good luck with Arlo. My boys have had flecks of separation anxiety and I’m a bit nervous about my boy starting kindy and hope he is brave!!! Wish us luck. Thinking of u xxxx

  26. Profile photo of Heather
    Heather 3 weeks ago

    Hi Con
    Firstly welcome to Margaret River….we all knew you’d eventually move here.
    Secondly great advice and stories from everyone thanks everyone for sharing.
    Thirdly what a great primary school for your beautiful kids to experience it has some of the greatest teachers and staff you will ever come across. My two girls thoroughly enjoyed their time there and have become confident, friendly and well rounded young teenagers now over at the high school.
    I think at the beginning of their schoolling I was the one with separation anxiety and struggled to walk away having spent every day of their young lives together, even today dropping them off to high school a tear was shed…..then off to get a take away coffee and home to enjoy the peace and quiet till they come home again off the bus.
    Con head down to the beach take in your new surrounds forget the housework grab a coffee at the cafe and breathe…. tomorrow is a new day. Might even see you down there when I take my own advice!!
    xxxx

  27. Profile photo of Kira Elliott
    Kira Elliott 3 weeks ago

    Bit of a shit sandwich eh!

    My eldest (6 next week) was horrendous with her seperation anxiety up until the day she started preschool a few months after she turned 3. I mean literally she wouldn’t go anywhere without me, even her dad wasn’t allowed to put her to bed, it was draining for all of us (especially me!). I wanted, like you, to just go with how they felt, home school if needs be… but for whatever reason, we couldn’t get her into the preschool i’d have liked and this one didn’t let parents stay. Six weeks on of a few tears and screaming and then she couldn’t wait to get there! This.. the girl who wouldn’t leave my lap!! Now she’s super confident and couldn’t give two shits if i left her lol it sounds like Arlo hasn’t learnt that you’ll be back yet.. which sounds daft as he’s old enough but it’s really about getting his confidence up about that. He’ll soon learn that he is totally fine without you and you’ll both be more relaxed after a time.

    Do you think he’s picking up on your general anxiety about life at the mo? Moving and separation are fucking major things to be going through at the same time! You really have to up your ‘looking after me’ game at times like this! I’m in the process of divorce at the minute – it’s only been 4 months but the dick’s moved on already. Every time i get sad i have to remember why i was unhappy in the first place. It wasn’t healthy. After all this time of grieving and cracking on with life, i’m finally starting to feel good again. Bill will always be in your life regardless and you can take some comfort from that. You didn’t randomly choose this guy to help spawn your kids, and that’s why it’ll be more bareable to have him as an ex. It’s sad, really fucking sad but with all the support you can muster, you’ll be fine! And i mean that.

  28. Profile photo of Jane Danger
    Jane Danger 3 weeks ago

    I had separation anxiety as a kid. I think I nearly drove my mum completely insane as she dragged me to school every day. I’m sure she left in tears most days. In the end she worked out that is was easier (Though still not easy) to have someone else walk me to school when she could. I’m so so glad she made me go. I don’t remember what age it stopped, but it did. I grew into a secure, independent teen and adult. I think it was important for me to learn how to adapt to the outside world. She also did a great job of teaching me to stand out and rebel, and when it is useful to fit in. Keep soldering,warrior mumma, you will find a balance. Sorry about your crap with Bill. I have no advice for that. Life is hard. People are hard. Was it better before kids? It can seem like kids are the whole focus of you life forever, but you really only get 18 years and then you could be married for another 40! Is it worth slogging through? Who knows!

  29. Profile photo of Storm
    Storm 3 weeks ago

    Constance…this was like reading a page from my own diary!! I feel you girl!! all of it!! I’m sitting here..missing my kids…contemplating homeschooling, and realizing my 10 year relationship is probably completely over this time…but I still feel strong…ish…and its because I know I am not alone! so thank you QUEEN for all that you write! I needed this today! you are not alone either Constance <3

  30. Profile photo of susan burch
    susan burch 3 weeks ago

    66 and not a grandmother but… you are doing fine, it is normal, Arlo will be fine, your children will be fine and you and your husband will be fine.. but it might be rough getting to be fine…go through it, tears, hugs but remember, it will be ok just more rocks in the road you have to kick out of your way :)xx

  31. Profile photo of BeckParnham
    BeckParnham 3 weeks ago

    Constance there is a lovely book called ‘The invisible string’ which is great for seperation anxiety as it talks about your hearts being connected by an invisible string no matter where you are so it could be good for going to school and for the kids not having Bill around as much as well.

  32. Profile photo of Katrina ~ They All Call Me Mom .com

    Oh gosh, that’s hard, both things: the relationship situation and your Arlo with the separation anxiety. I’m the mom to ten children and one of my boys was similar to your Arlo. I didn’t fight it and just kept him home with me for another year. He just wasn’t ready to leave my side, and I didn’t want to push it. I gave him 3 weeks, and I did the whole sitting in the class room with with him thing. But he just wasn’t having it. A year made a big difference. He was ready a year later. He’s ten now and school is great. As far as the relationship thing goes…I’ve been married 25 years and it’s not always been fun. In fact, it’s been pretty crappy at times. But it always comes around again. Happy times. Bad times. Medium times. I feel like our relationship is like a quilt, and the squares represent a time or phase in our marriage. Some squares a brightly colored, vibrant and pretty! and then some squares are dark grey and not so pretty. But at the end of it all, when we lay this big quilt out and look at it, all the squares mesh together beautifully to make one strong , warm quilt that we can wrap our family in security with. So my advice to you would be to take a step back and look at this rough patch in your relationship as merely a square in your BIG quilt. It’s not pretty when you look at it all by itself, but it’s kind of beautiful when it’s mixed in with all the rest. (the quilt analogy is not mine, but I read it somewhere a long time ago and it’s always stuck with me)

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