Only four days to go. I can hardly believe it. After eight years and 4 months of life at home with pre schoolers I am about to be on my own. How does it feel? Odd certainly. I can’t really let myself get excited just yet. We have three weeks of half days to get through so that’s just like play group really except that I don’t have to go and help.

I remember this time last year. The youngest, the last at home, started nursery for one day a week. A whole day every week. When I say whole it was only a school day so not much more than six hours but nevertheless it was all mine. I stood in town on that first Tuesday and felt completely overwhelmed by the feeling of redundancy. No one there needed me at all. Still, I shook myself out of it and determined to make the most of my new found freedom. The first Tuesday was great. I went shopping on the train. The second one I met a friend for lunch. By the third one I had no particular plan and so came home. What to do? What to do? I had made it a rule that I would not do house work on my day off except in dire emergency but faced with a whole day to myself, I couldn’t think of a single thing to fill the time. Up until this point I had passed hours whilst appearing to be concentrating on a jigsaw or making buns out of play doh dreaming about what I would do when I had time. Play my clarinet, knit, reread my dusty cook books, go for bike rides, take up Italian, But as I stood there in my kitchen with no sound and no prospect of any, my mind went blank and I couldn’t think of a single thing to do. In a blind panic I mopped the kitchen floor.

This was a revelation to me. It frightened me. Had a really lost my capacity to entertain myself? Planning an activity for every Tuesday until Christmas was one thing but what about this time next year when school began. How would I fill five days a week?

This worried me for quite some time and I would get nervous about finding myself some kind of identity. In my head I drew up timetables of activities making sure that I would have plenty to occupy me. Now that the day approaches this all seems unnecessarily controlling. I clearly don’t have enough to occupy my mind but then will that change?