As if going back to school isn’t mish-mashed enough with the happy/sadness of it all. We’ve had a staccato kick off to the school year, with days on and days off, early starts, early finishes, junior side, senior side, short days, long days a birthday and even a sick day thrown in! Oh the uncertainty! So when I woke up yesterday to our first full day of our first full week of school for both children, I breathed a sigh of happy relief. Here's why…
1. FINALLY - A ROUTINE!: I always thought I was a pretty cool live-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal, but after having kids, the monotonous value of a routine has taken over. The school holidays knocked me for six. I physically got to the office maybe twice, and spent the rest of my ‘work time’ battling not to be disturbed while working from the end of the dining room table. I certainly didn’t do any not-for-profit blogging!! I don’t think I actually did much with the kids either. In fact, I can’t really remember, it’s all such blur. Now school’s back, and so is the routine! We have times and schedules and shit actually happens. It’s bliss.
2. NO MORE DAILY SUPERMARKET TRIPS: Is it just me, or are you always at the supermarket in the school holidays? I think Coles has an advantage over Woolies purely from my personal contribution to their bottom line. The holidays are a feeding frenzy for my kids – they simply don’t stop eating. We also attract lots of other kids to our home, or we gate crash theirs. Both scenarios require either having food or taking food, hence more shopping. I can’t talk, because during this time, I also do lots of sitting around eating with friends. And drinking. Oops! When school goes back, everyone’s a winner. Me, my waist-line, my wallet. But not Coles.
3. EARLY BED TIMES: My kids wake between 5.30 and 6am most days. I can’t complain, because I often do too. However, when they don’t hit the sack until 9.30 or 10pm, which is often the case in school holidays, they’re pretty gnarly by the end of the day. At least I can hold myself together! When school goes back, they’re so knackered by the end of the day that when I put them to bed at 7.30, they crash, like, immediately. Even in summer when it’s still light outside. And they actually go to bed smiling, which is also amazing. I love school.
4. ME TIME: Most of the time, it’s all about the kids. The minute those critters crawl out of you, you disappear into them. Which is mostly fabulous, but when they’re at school there’s an amazing window of me time just for you. Having spent the last 6 years scheduling my stuff into weird times that don’t interfere with the kids waking hours, I now have several days where I can do ‘me’ things in the middle of the day. Like sitting down to eat. Fancy that. Someone has suggested a matinee movie club. And bike riding. And kayak yoga. I know. It’s crazy. What the hell is it? I don’t know, but I might be able to try it now.
5. SILENCE: This might be the craziest one of all the 5 things. I’m sitting here at lunchtime on a Tuesday afternoon and I can hear the buzzing of the fridge. I can hear rain falling on something made from tin and water dripping through the filter of the fish tank. I can hear the jackhammer of my neighbour’s builder carving into stone and I’m wishing it was mine. The builder that is. Even better, I can’t hear any crying, screaming, fighting or songs from Barbie: the Princess and the Pop Star. And I haven’t heard ‘Muuuuuuum’ for about 3 hours. Now this is living!
I do feel a tad guilty for not been the crying mum who sent her last born off to big school with the wave of a wet tissue, but I can’t help rejoicing just a little for the fact that I no longer have to be the mad, crazy, rushed-off-my-feet mum who forgets things and yells a lot and never feels like any job is quite finished. I’d rather forgo the sentimentality for the serenity, and I have back to school to thank for that.