It’s getting to that time again. Yes, the public schools are putting on their shiniest faces to entice a whole heap of little people through its doors. This is the time of year when mothers of 4-5 year olds start stashing paper bags in their handbags, gloves boxes and kitchen cupboards, waiting for the moment when the hyperventilation will come on… again.

It only seems like yesterday that my 4 year old wonder was born. Fluffy black hair and dark chocolate eyes. Then came the first smile, word, crawl, step, tantrum and first day of preschool. Oh how the years have flown and I guess I can now call myself a proper parent. I have weathered the sleepless nights, the feeds, the learning and the monotony that comes with the best job in the world. I have dreamed of my baby’s first day at school from when they were born, who they would be and how they would go in such a new place.

I now have one baby at school and one to go next year. Sigh. What is a mother to do when her kiddies have temporarily left the nest? The usual guilt rises of course. Get a job and all that. But then there’s a little voice in my head saying, “take a day off and be free for a while.” Because, my fellow parents, the job is so far from done.

Sure, school is a new world of freedom and independence but they will still need us to be there to watch their plays, dances and hang out with them. My son loves it when I do an hour of ‘reading groups’ at his school. After that half the day is almost done. Then there’s the shopping to do, the cleaning (the what….?) the blogging (yippee) and the hanging out with long lost friends who are also lost in the parenting sphere.

The weekends fill up with parties, sport and general house things and then another week begins. Before you know it you’ll have your little monkeys home for the holidays and it will feel like you’ve gone back to the full-on days of yore. But freak-out-not my dear parents for there is fun to be had with these older kiddies in the holidays: museums, city adventures, climbing – lots of climbing, holidays and movies.

If you are one of the many mummas who is freaking out about next year’s freedom – don’t. It is a new era, a chance to take a breath and find your feet again. Take the time and rest, play and remember what an incredible job you have done so far. And, I believe, the best is yet to come.