Here in Oxfordshire we are now half way through our half term holiday. At 7.30 yesterday evening I was strolling downstairs in my onesie (yes I own a onesie, yes I put it on well before bed, don't judge me) congratulating myself for an accomplished day. The dinner was in the oven ready to be served piping hot to my husband when he finally made it home, both children were tucked up in bed sleeping soundly. I had just put away my last of three loads of laundry and the toys had all been tidied up. Oddly I had the sensation I had a lot more to do but was able to brush it off as, actually, I didn't. I had done everything on my list so could in fact relax. Why aren't all evenings like this? I can sum it up in one word... School.
As schooling goes we would be considered ameteurs, beginners for sure. My daughter started reception in September, we are not even a year into it and I have already developed a deep self loathing on school days. I get tired of the sound of my own voice;
' Shoes, where are your shoes?'
'Turn the TV off, now is not the time.'
'Why are you not dressed!?'
'Oh my god it's ten past right we are going to be late!'
Beginners we may be, but we are also far enough into the school year for the novelty of school to have really worn off. My daughter has over a mile to walk to school every day. She is SO over sitting down to learn things and very much just wants to play solidly, reading is a chore now she has learnt how to do it and she is constantly ill. I'm not talking about anything major, but the poor kid has picked up every single cold going around since September. She is constantly run down and by the end of each half term has luggage under her eyes and turns into a stroppy teenager, just 8 years too early...
School also has the ability to instil a certain amount of fear into you as a parent. A few weeks ago we were threatened with an attendance letter! Should my daughter have any more days of sick she will drop below 93 percent attendance and will therefore receive a letter. A letter. I am so scared... But honestly, my daughter is. 'I don't want to get a letter mummy, I will go to school'. If schools stopped threatening kids and parents with fines and letters for non attendance then perhaps they would actually stick to the school's 48 hour sickness policy (for non parents- you need to keep your kid off 48 hours after last bout of sickness as they are still contagious in this time). I know most parents don't stick to this and so the vom bug travels through school like wildfire. Thanks! Though can you blame them- if you do stick to it then you darling gets sent home from school with a threatening letter instead. My daughter would not have had so many viruses if other kids were kept off until they were no longer contagious and therefore her attendance would not be so 'bad'.
Tardiness, that's another of their favourite threats and so we endeavour to be on time for school every single day. And this is what turns me into a bad mother. Seriously, I barely ever yelled at my children before school started and now it is a daily occurrence. Trust me, trying to get two small children dressed, fed and out the door by ten past 8 to walk a mile and a half to school in all weathers is not my idea of fun.
So on days like today, half term days, days where we stayed in our pjs until 9.30 and had a pancake flipping contest at breakfast I am a much nicer, calmer, more likeable person. My five year old has been well rested and is back to her jolly, full of life, little self, who I see so rarely these days. She is currently writing a story as I type this- not because she has been forced into it, because she actually wants to. Don't get me wrong, we are by no means perfect. I muttered countless swear words under my breath a moment ago when a delivery driver knocked on the door, making the dog bark and wake the baby from her nap, the parcel wasn't even for us.
'Can you sign for this?' (No, fuck off!)
Luckily for him she went back to sleep.
I have of course had to lose my rag once or twice with the kids too...
'No, you are not going to Narnia right now, I'm trying to clean up your dirty nappy, stop getting poo on the furniture,'
'What do you mean you are desperate for the loo right now? I asked before we left home and we are now miles from any toilet.'
'Stop hitting your sister with that doll, look, now it's lost it's head.'
You get the point... But the nags have been cut in half and I actually have time to do housework AND play with my children AND write a blog post. Days like today make me think about home schooling. Then I remember I would actually have to teach my children, and the lessons don't always consist of how to make pancakes... So perhaps not?