Mr 4 started school last week. I’m still in denial about the whole thing.
As it turns out, so was he, because he hated saying goodbye in the morning and burst into tears during several drop-offs last week. I know that it takes time for kids to get used to the whole idea of “big school” and I absolutely expected there to be tears. But knowing this didn’t make tearing my hand out of his and walking away while he cried any easier. Part of me loves that I can provide him a sense of security and comfort. Another part of me wants him to find his own feet and his own sense of self. I know he will, in time. I know I just need to be patient as we both transition.
Now that we’re starting yet another new chapter of our mother/son journey, I’ve had a few things to adapt to – yet again.
If I’ve learnt anything about being a mother it is that you need to be incredibly agile. There’s no time to faff around and if there’s any part of you that requires perfection, it’s best to find another outlet for it. There is no space for “perfect” when it comes to parenting. The minute you get into any sort of rhythm or schedule, something new will happen. They’ll learn a new skill, they’ll start solids, they’ll start day care, they’ll drop a nap, they’ll start wanting to use the toilet, they’ll start walking, they’ll start playing, they’ll start school, they’ll start something. And whatever rhythm you had going or whatever routine you’d figured out gets thrown out the window and you’ve got to adjust your settings. Again.
And so the last 2 weeks has been me learning what new things are required for a mum of two as one of these little humans starts school.
I survive by making mental check lists of what needs to happen during each phase of the day. It helps to also write those lists down, for days when I am so sleep deprived I can barely remember to put my shoes on, let alone get a toddler out the door with a half-decent lunch in his bag and his shoes on.
Those “lists” on frantic mornings and evenings on weekdays look something like this:
The Morning Hustle:
6:30 AM – Wake up | Feed Mr Z | Take vitamins | Read 5 min morning devotion | Eat some sort of breakfast (I’m trying really hard not to skip this step but I’ll be honest sometimes, the morning actually starts at 7:30, not 6:30)
7:30 AM – Wake up Mr 4 | Get Mr 4 to eat breakfast while I get dressed | Pack Mr Z’s lunch | Take the car out | Get Mr 4 to brush teeth and put on sunscreen (I always forget the sunscreen) | Get Mr 4 to put on school uniform pack his school bag and/or give Mr Z another feed and/or check the baby bag is packed |
8:30 AM – (if we’re lucky) Out the door | Survive school drop off
The morning routines are normally ok, though I don’t quite understand why it takes my son an entire hour to eat breakfast and get dressed. I’m just glad that on most days, Mr Z has been quite content sitting in a bouncer or staring up at the mobile in his cot while we both get ready.
The Afternoon/Evening Hustle:
2:30 PM Leave for school pick up
3:15 PM Get Mr 4 to bring his lunch box to the kitchen and change out of his school uniform | Check bag for notes and reading material
3:30 PM Afternoon tea (usually consists of whatever is left from his lunchbox, fruit and crackers) | Wash lunchbox | Prepare fruit, recess and lunch for next day
4:00 PM Play / read time | Dinner prep time | Get Mr Z down for a final nap
5:30 PM Dinner
6:00 PM Mr Z’s dinner
6:30 PM Mr Z’s bath while Mr 4 has a shower | Brush teeth | Read book |
7:00 PM Mr Z’s last feed | Family prayer with Mr 4 | Bed time for Mr 4
7:30 PM Bed time for Mr Z
8:00 PM Curse the universe if either child is not yet in bed (which is 99% of the time). If they’re actually in bed, 8pm is normally when I start studying, writing or organising the house build. Or, if I didn’t get time to unpack his lunchbox and prepare tomorrow’s lunch, I’ll do it when they’re in bed. It is also the time when I reach for ice cream, Tim Tams or a glass of wine (on nights when the above schedule goes to shit, I reach for all three).
Any money the minute I feel like I’ve got this worked out, I’ll be heading back to office work anyway, so I’ll have to work out our routine all over again.
Here I thought that getting Mr 4 to kindy would afford me more time during the day. Which it does. Sort of. Except that I find the time between 9am and 2:30pm flies by, especially when there’s a 6 month old to feed, play with and negotiate nap times with.
There is some unwritten law with babies which states:
If there is an Important Thing that Mum needs to do by a certain time, you mustn’t nap – even if that Important Thing was planned around your normal nap time AND even if you do somehow fall asleep, the split second Mum is about to start that Important Thing or lays her head down for a nap, you need to wake up and start crying.
Speaking of naps, I’m writing this while sitting in the restaurant at Ikea. Do you think anyone will mind if I lie down in one of those display bedrooms? Oops, nope, too late. Mr Z is waking up. Of course.