Have you ever felt like you are driving a school bus? Lots of noise and every corner and every surface covered with stuff. Food stuff, school stuff, rubbish from the food stuff, rubbish from the school stuff. Music in the backseat, music in the front seat and yet the only music in your head is Elton John. Someone save my life tonight sugar bear. Or more to the point Lotto save my life tonight, sugar mamma. That way I can employ my own driver and just wave goodbye at the gate.
You have had 6-8 weeks off and I guarantee there have been moments lately when the anxiety has started to creep in the closer the start of the new school year gets.
Maybe it’s that big list. If you have more than one child at school, it’s a bunch of lists, and then there are the kids at different schools. It’s supposed to be your down time, yet that date is looming, and you must get your head in the game. The school books, the new uniforms, shoes, and the bags and the … , and the … , and the … , and the …, you fill in the blanks, but I’m sure they’re pretty much the same as mine and every other mum’s in the country. No wonder we need a bus.
Every holiday we feel the same: shortness of breath, pains in the gut and it’s not from bad Chinese, it’s because it’s that feeling of having to be “that mum”. It’s not just the list for next year’s schooling, which has arrived already.
Make sure they don’t just sleep all day. Make sure they eat breakfast before 2.00p.m. Make sure they get to do fun stuff and if it’s in the plans, make sure that the holiday is the best that you can deliver. That just brings a whole new set of problems, right? Will the car make it to the destination, did we pack the tent? Will we make it to the airport on time? Did someone remember the passports? The list is long, but you get it. It’s a mum thing. It’s another job to add to that ever-growing list of talents on our resumes. I call this job, “the Cruise Director”.
There is always the perfect mum and then there is the just-in-time mum and more often than not, we are the in-between mum.
I don’t want to be perfect, that just seems way too exhausting to keep up that appearance.
But what’s even worse and who I don’t cope well with is the just-in-time mum. I always have a mini heart attack, hoping she and little Freddy won’t let us down. You know the one: it’s their turn to bring the oranges to the game and just when you are about to jump into your car to race to the shops, they arrive like, hey, no stress, I’m here aren’t I?
I class myself as the in-between mum; a little of column A and a little of column B. I have moments of the best lunches and the uniforms fit and are clean and in the right room with the right socks. These are the weeks when I get up early and things just seem to go smoothly. I like these weeks. I like that I feel like I am in control.
Then there is the But, the big But. As Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you’re going to get”. Forrest is so right! Just when you think everything is ticking along nicely, buzzzzzz, that something not on the schedule throws out its ugly face and puts you in a flat spin out of control.
You have to be the responsible one, the one that wakes up the household, the one that knocks on the bathroom door and says, “come on your sister needs a shower!” 10 minutes in the shower, 20 minutes, why? What are they washing, and do I really want to know the answer? Probably not.
You try hard to have the lunch box full of food that won’t end up in the school rubbish bin and then there’s the pressure of getting them to school on time.
It always makes me laugh when the school sends an email asking the reason why the boys were late.
Does the education Department truly think that we are late on purpose? We are late because we want to add another item to our list of things to do between the school hours, when we are squeezing 8 hours of work into 5. Sending an email to the school to explain why we were late, definitely a priority in my day, I think not!
Late, we slept in, late, the traffic was bad, late, we couldn’t find the right socks, late, we had to turn around because someone forgot their computer. How about we just say late, because shit happens!
We try so hard to be the best parent and we get it right the majority of the time, but there are times we don’t, then we feel like a failure.
I’m not sure how many mums feel this way, but when people say to me, you must be so happy that school is going back soon. I say no.
Don’t get me wrong, I want my boys to get the best education they can.
As a working mum, I love the holidays: no school lunches, no missing socks, no wearing someone else’s uniform because they can’t be bothered to look in the clean washing pile three steps from their bed.
During the holidays, I get to work on time. I get to complete my job without any interruptions (well most of the time) and I get to go home, in a happy head space, playing my music on the way. To arrive home to kids that are not under pressure to finish that assignment or study for that test. The only downside is that there is never enough food in the fridge, and the mess, oh my what do you do about the mess.? Where is Mary when you need her? Well Mary goes on holidays during the holidays. I guess she thinks they sleep all day and eat in between so there isn’t any point in cleaning.
I’m excited not because school is going back, but because that means that Mary is returning this week. The house will be clean and fresh and smell like sugar and spice and all things nice.
So good luck this week! I will be thinking of you. I will probably pass your bus in the traffic and see that look, that we all secretly have, and we will all be thinking; how many days until school holidays?
Life is a journey – it’s not where you end up but how you got there. Thanks for coming on mine.