On the mornings I head into town for work I usually leave for the train at the same time that all the teeny weeny primary school children are being walked up to to our local school. These days my morning stress consists of racing my daughter to the bathroom before work and making us both a cup of tea. Getting myself dressed and out of the house is all that is required and I still struggle to do it with time to spare.
So I’m using the image of snowdrops to suggest that after school drop off you should try and reconvene with nature in some way shape or form just to remind yourself of the passing of time and the beauty of being in the moment. Time, is racing by so bloody fast, I’m tempted to ask to get off for a minute. It won’t be long before I turn into one of those old weirdo’s who sits on a brick wall and waves at all the parents and children on their long trudge up to school shouting words of encouragement like “don’t give up!!” and “you can do it!!” and “way to go!” from afar. Not that I’ve ever seen a weirdo that does that by the way. Maybe I’ll be the first. This will be with the best of intentions you understand – sometimes you need cheerleaders along your path of life – those little legs are going to be doing that trudge up to school and then university or work or both for a long time to come. It needs to be enjoyable and sometimes you need encouragement.
I may not have had a successful career, thanks to taking several extended breaks to look after the children, but when I think about how hard the job of looking after children is, I’m not at all sorry about my choices and am in awe and admiration of all the parents plodding up the road with their children every day and I salute you. It takes superhuman efforts to get yourself and your children up and out of the house every day to be educated for all those years – unless of course you were my mother who I don’t recall ever taking us to school – this was her almost exactly – I’m pretty sure I had a boiled egg with soldiers for supper every night (although she of course denies it) :-
It fills me with joy to see those tiny hands clinging on to grown-up hands. Freshly clean clothes, shiny shoes, brushed hair. Some of the children look apprehensive, others miserable, but mostly they positively skippedy-do-da up the road to immerse themselves in their little organised lives. The parents’s display a similar array of emotions (mostly mothers) – some a little dishevelled and harried whilst other’s look totally in control, wearing full on makeup and shiny clothes with not a pair of slippers or pyjama bottoms in sight.
It takes me right back to the rush hour of my life, trying to get three children to three different schools (MOSTLY ON MY OWN BY THE WAY). The morning stress with children during term time is awful. No time for relaxed family time that’s for sure. The getting up bit was awful, once you’d managed to get yourself up and out of bed it generally took three or four attempts to get them all out of bed, trying to find school uniform and helping them get dressed, trying to stuff breakfast down their throats, when the youngest one wasn’t causing an explosion of porridge oats on his own, finding two shoes that looked the same and getting the shoes actually on wriggly feet (let alone the socks), finding school bags, homework, getting my make-up on, brushing their hair (and sometimes mine), cleaning their teeth (and sometimes mine), dealing with unexpected loss of item or small tantrum, or large tantrum….how we ever got up and out every single morning I will never know. I had two children who skipped happily up the street on a daily basis and one that clung to every tree on the way up forcing me to prize his arms off the trunk and drag him through the school gates. Once or twice he pretended he was blind and getting him up the road on those days was even more challenging than usual.
So really this leads on to a genuine wish that we had better childcare support in the UK….but that’s another story.