Just like the Parenting Olympics, the beginning of a new school year means mothers (and fathers, credit where it’s due) up and down the country are limbering up, getting fully prepared, for that all important first day back. Basically, its the only day of the whole school year that I can guarantee I’ve got every single thing they may need to hand. It’s all clean, ironed, labelled, bagged, polished and packed ready to see action.
Nature is very cruel and has made this mammoth operation of preparation coincide with looking after the little darlings. If you’ve a will of iron, you may drag them around the shops to hunt and gather uniform the traditional way. This will naturally evoke a public tantrum of epic proportions from someone (maybe even you) but it adds an exciting element of public judgement that you don’t get from the typical backdrop of losing your shit at home.
Even the most internet savvy mama ordering online is up against it. You can shop but you still have to keep them entertained, feed them nutritionally balanced, organic snacks, ensure they are educationally stimulated, conjure up creative activities on demand and keep them emotionally happy by providing clear boundaries, the whole time smothering them with coconut oil (raw obvs).
The final purchases made, now is the time to dust off the iron/sharpie and get some names in these pristine brand new uniforms. I haven’t even washed them first like I usually do as I want to preserve the newness factor for as long as possible.
I adore my children but I just cannot WAIT to bundle their little bums back to full time education. The average five year old asks about 400 questions a day, my boy must be going for some kind of record. He will repeat the exact same sentence whether you reply or not and I’m not talking once, multiple times every time. You can’t even answer one question before the next is fired.
My lovely little girl is being held hostage by hideous hormones that have turned her into a stinky, tweenage, bath-dodger with an even stinkier permafrown. The most terrifying part is that she’s only eleven, we haven’t even hit the eye of the storm yet. Buckle up, bitches!
We have made some truly wonderful memories this summer. Laughed, baked, created things and even travelled a bit. The posts I see where parents mention how they don’t want the six weeks holidays to end do make me feel a bit guilty...but mostly I think, “Pfft! Liars.”
My summer may be a little different to most peoples. I’m a lone parent and I’m self employed which means every single day for six weeks is ‘Bring your kids to work” day and it’s equally a blessing and a curse. No childminding required. No time off work to be booked in. You can work and feel guilty because you’re working and then if you don’t work you still get to feel guilty because you should be working - its so much fun!
A happy medium is a tall order for any working parent but if you get the balance wrong you can end up with mega guilt because you are so distracted from work, achieving nothing, whilst simultaneously not giving your children the attention you’d like to.
My lifelong resistance to routines and timetables disappears in early September and I crave the structure and order of settling back into good habits. September is the parental equivalent of New Year’s Eve when a whole new year of potential opens up at your feet. Oh the rooms you will de-clutter! The serenity of the ‘Big Shop’ in gloriously solitude. The 10Ks I’m going to run. Every message returned almost instantly and not within 5-10 working days. This is it! You can be anything you want to be and your brain shall function at near full capacity without having to filter out constant requests for snacks and the PJ Masks theme tune.
That all said, the big day came and they happily skipped to school, bright as buttons and I cried. I thought about that ABBA song from Mama Mia about them “slipping through my fingers” and then I ‘ugly cried’. Snot and everything.
These are without doubt the best years of our lives, I cherish them them with all my heart and feel blessed every single day to raise these beautiful humans... but I can also do that in silence (with a cup of coffee that’s still hot). ❤️