Why I have mixed feelings about children going back to school - Catherine Scott

So the children are back at school and we should all be heaving a collective sigh of relief. But I have to admit that part of me actually misses not having them around during the day.

Students arrive at Outwood Academy in Woodlands, Doncaster in Yorkshire, as pupils in England return to school for the first time in two months as part of the first stage of lockdown easing.

Mine are teens so have pretty much been independently home schooling themselves, with me having to do little more than be a shoulder to cry on when it all got too much. I know for many parents of primary age children it has been far more demanding, especially for those who also have been working from home. They, I am sure, were happy to wave their little darlings off at the school gate on Monday and probably did a little skip on their way home.

And has difficult as this most recent lockdown has been, I will actually treasure it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In particular the time spent with my eldest who turned 18 on Sunday. Not the 18th she had planned with a big party or out clubbing with friends, buying her first legal gin and tonic. Instead she was at home, with cocktails, the best fine dining I could achieve, scores of helium balloons, roulette and dancing round the dining room – and us.

But these are precious memories and while I know that she and other teenagers have missed out on so much since she celebrated her 17th just before the first national lockdown, selfishly I have enjoyed having her at home.

We joked at the time that it would all be well over by the time she turned 18 and the world would be back to normal. How wrong could we be?

Instead of being out with her mates all weekend or driving around (she passed her test after the first lockdown) and me worrying what she’s up to and if she’s safe, she has been home. We have enjoyed nightly family meals, played cards and talked. Of course they have spent evening in their bedrooms – we all need our own space – but I will not forget those precious family times that we might not have had if it hadn’t been for the pandemic.

I know once life starts to relax she will be off exploring, as she should be, pushing boundaries and finding her own feet. She has a list of things she wants, in fact needs, to do over the summer from festivals, to holidays to nights out with friends, work and getting ready to fly the nest when she starts university in September. Having had this time together as a family will make it even tougher for us when she does go off to university.

The last year has been difficult in so many ways for everyone, but there will be some positives to have come out of it, there always is. Before Covid we were all so busy juggling our own lives that we didn’t take time to actually spend time as a family as much as I would have liked, the pandemic has give us special time together.