It's week two of the new school term. Week one is always fun. There's new shiny shoes! Shirts that are too big! Beaming smiles in photos taken outside front doors! Chats after school about teachers, school dinners and who they are sitting next to. It's great. An exciting way to start September. But then week two hits and it's back to normal with a bang. Shouting "GET YOUR SHOES ON!", being an eternal taxi driver from dance class to beavers to dentists to hastily picking up presents for weekend birthday parties. The parenting juggle starts and the struggle is real.
It's around this time of year when it dawns on me after eight years of being a Mum I still haven't quite got my sh*t together. That my husband and I are still never quite on the same page no matter how hard we try. And that bloody washing basket is eternally full. We have a computerised diary, the children have reward charts and I methodically add in each and every thing from the school calendar to our calendar. Yet someone always forgets to take toast money in and the other day I lost our house keys at 8:42am. They were found in a random trainer after much whisper swearing from me.
I often make it to the school gate with two minutes to spare and am in utter awe of those parents who seem to have their act together. Violin in one hand, packed lunch in the other. And if their daughter has a french plait I am GOBSMACKED as I struggle to get my little girls hair in a pony tail (adds 'learn french plait' to notes on phone). I can't quite tell if they are faking it till they are making it. Or if I am just a little bit of a disaster. Or perhaps it's a bit of both. This week my husband and I had to have a sit down chat about the washing machine. Or rather who the hell does the washing and "WHY IS IT ALWAYS ME?!". Oddly we both thought it was always us. Yet that god damn basket is still full.
Perhaps I just need to embrace that this is just what parenting is like for us. And quite possibly by the time I have wrapped my head around school routines, clubs, parties, homework, fancy dress days, trip money and so on. My children will be off to secondary school and I'll be in for another whole world of things to learn. Whilst trying to juggle work and those tricky teenage hormones (shudder). But when I look back at this time. When I am old and grey and Stephen and I only have to do two loads of washing a week. I will know in my heart this.
I tried my best. I wake up each morning thinking "TODAY I AM GOING TO BE A GREAT MUM!". And yeah sometimes I wasn't. Sometimes I was a crap Mum and a quite frankly lack lustre wife. But other times I am a fantastic Mum. Once every six weeks the washing basket is inexplicably empty. We get to school ten minutes early and I not only remember toast money but manage to shove a love note in their school bag too. The worry, the guilt, the feeling less than 100% is because I know my family deserve the very best. And I'll keep on trying to do that every day for the rest of my life.