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Your's not back at school yet…. ?

Whilst the rest of the world are returning to sanity because the ‘kids are back at school’, I am still hanging on in there because instead of making use of a perfectly good local primary school, I in my infinite wisdom decided to send my children to an eco farm school that has extremely long holidays.  So while other parents have kids exhausted from the unfamiliar early mornings and sudden academic workload, mine are currently wide awake as we approach nine O’clock at night with no intention of crashing into a deep slumber, while Mummy is focused entirely on getting her head onto a pillow as soon as possible.

Being a single mum can sometimes be a little tiring, but ironically not so much because of the children themselves.  It often involves spending so much time trying to run the house, create a solid financial future and keeping going, that actually spending quality time with the kids can be the biggest challenge of all.

I have sometimes felt jealous of their dad being able to devote a whole day – or even weekend – to just enjoying their company.  Of course no-one is stopping me from taking ‘time out’ to be with them, but I tend to grab time randomly – rather than create a wholesome rhythm – and there can be fall out.

Yesterday’s trip to Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (wonderful, by the way) involved an argument on the train going up which turned into an all out rebellion.  Cries of “We don’t want to go to London” turned into my 12 year old daughter saying she was going to return home alone, my agreeing ‘that’s fine with me’, then her trying to get my 10 year old son to break ranks (so I countered with a tactic of bribing the 8 year old to stay with me and scupper the complete mutiny), and all this being listened to by a train of polite gentlemen and ladies with raised eyebrows.

We finally made peace before London Victoria and had a great day out.  But it occurred to me that ticking the ‘you can’t say I didn’t do anything with you in the holidays’ box by slipping in a bit of Peter Pan just before school starts at the end of a two month school holiday was really not good enough.

Like everything in a busy life, balance is best achieved by writing things down and creating a schedule.  Preferably one that is created along with the children – not something just ‘presented’ as a fait accompli.  This is how I hope to plan for the Xmas holidays, which seem oh so near.

Upstairs my 10 year old is practising his cornet and driving his 8 year old brother insane with the racket – which is the main reason so much music practice has come willingly from a boy who only today suggested we advertise the youngest on Ebay for 10p, with free postage.

The 12 year old is scouring the internet for a dog after I recklessly agreed to us getting one, though my insistence on a rescue dog of a specific breed and particular age range is making the search hard enough to slow down her success.  But her amazing stubborness will ensure ultimate victory whatever obstacles I randomly throw in her way.

So perhaps the first thing I should do when the kids go back to school next week, is take some moments to schedule some time with them that is not based on feeding, cleaning or moving from one place to the next.  And then, maybe, I shall shall schedule in some time just for me as well while I’m at it.

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