Tuesday 5 September 2017

7 things I didn't do on the first day of school

The first day of school, the cold hard jolt back to reality after a summer of lazing around, hiding from the rain and visiting various tourist attractions. I had a plan. I was going to be organised and the whole day was going to run like clockwork. Well, that was my aim, obviously, it’s not exactly how things panned out because, well, life. I woke up tired (a constant affliction), realised we didn’t have anything exciting to offer up for breakfast (porridge, anyone?) and gave my daily lecture about the importance of good timekeeping while leaving the house later than planned.

If anything, today served as a reminder that I will never be the organised, well-presented shit-together woman I dream of being. Here are seven things I didn’t do on the first day of school:

1. Shout
Hooray for small mercies, right? I didn’t shout or get exasperated this morning, even as the time ticked away while I scraped porridge from the neck folds of my toddler. I didn’t have to cajole the eldest into getting dressed because she appeared by my bedside fully dressed as an ungodly hour. I didn’t storm around the house lamenting the lack of matching socks because, by some miracle, I had got all the uniform ready the night before.

2. Cry
I didn’t cry from the frustration of always being late or the misery of watching my big girl skip happily into the classroom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she wanted to go. The few days where she hasn’t, my heart has broken as I’ve tried to peel her from my leg and gently push her in the direction of the school gates. And I didn’t cry with relief either. I haven’t been counting down the days until the end of summer, I have loved having her home with me. The past five weeks I have watched the bond between my two kids flourish and strengthen as they have played and giggled and cuddled. I’m not going to say I’ve loved every minute of it, but it has definitely been a pleasure having them both together for so long.

3. Get there on time
I thought I would, truly I did. I thought we’d get up bright and early and be out of the house on time. I was woken up early, but I was far from bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Porridge for breakfast is not a good idea when you’re short on time. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to make porridge and even longer to clean it off a sticky one-year-old. Despite all of the stuff we needed waiting at the front door, it took a long time for us to gather it all up and get out the damn door. We walked out into the street in a cloud of the usual chaos while I moaned and groaned about the stress of being late (again).

4. Tidy the house
I had plans, such big plans. I was going to get the house in order. It was going to be spotless. I did not achieve this dream. Instead, it’s messier than it was this morning. In fact, the only room that is tidy is Ebony’s bedroom, a room that I don’t spend much time in. I did manage to clear the kitchen side though you’d never know it now after Ebony suggested lasagne for dinner (the messiest of meals). I thought perhaps I’d get on top of it tonight after the kids were in bed, but alas, bedtime was so drawn out that I don’t have the energy now. Instead, I will add it to my stresses of tomorrow, along with the laundry and everything else I didn’t do today.

5. Work
After taking a few weeks off for the summer holidays, my to-do list is now scarily long. I have a lot of articles I need to write and I was looking forward to getting stuck into them today. In reality, I managed to write a title before Ember woke up from a ridiculously short cat nap this morning. And then when I put her down for her long nap in the afternoon, I fell asleep myself. We slept like babies, cuddled up under the duvet as the rain tapped against the window. It was lucky I had set an alarm to remind myself to do the school run because otherwise, I wouldn’t have been there to pick her up when the school day finished.

6. Pick her up on time
And that alarm didn’t really account for the fact that I might be asleep. It allowed me enough time to stick Ember in the sling, grab Ebony’s after-school snack and run out of the door. It didn’t give me enough time to wake up, wake Ember up, calm her down (she has inherited my hatred of being woken up), get her dressed, scrape the smudged makeup from under my eyes and find shoes and slings and umbrellas. So, we were late. Luckily, they were late coming out so Ebony had no idea that I wasn’t there when the bell rang otherwise she’d probably have been mad.

7. Get organised for tomorrow

I managed to find some uniform and hang it on Ebony’s door before they eventually fell asleep and I bought something for breakfast in the morning, but I didn’t do any of the other things I wanted to do. I have no idea where her school shoes are, but I would put all of my savings on that they aren’t at the front door where I so need them to be. And I can already feel my long-anticipated early night slipping away from me. And the kitchen is messy so breakfast will be joyless. And I really, really need to do better tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I can get on top of things and be more organised and get to school on time… right?

ps, the photo is Ebony holding a sign saying what she wants to do for a job (an idea I stole from my clever friend Adele from Beautiful Tribe) and it says 'sanctuary' because that's Ebony's dream job.

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