As another summer draws to a close, we are hurriedly organising school clothes, shoes and summer homework. And with each year that goes past, I feel less and less organised and panic that I have left something out and that Alex and Ava will be going to school wearing holey shoes and unlabelled jumpers. Whether it’s due to us having more on our plates as the kids get older, or whether it is because of my MS making it difficult to keep organised, I’m not sure. But I think that we are pretty much there, thank goodness.
We’ve had a lovely summer, but it always goes so fast, doesn’t it? Though I love the break from organising pack-ups and after school clubs, it is my husband’s busiest time, what with him being a wedding photographer, and that plus the warm weather can send my symptoms into overdrive, as I have explained in previous posts (see this post). And I’m not going to lie – I love being with the kids, but when they spend too much time together without something to amuse them, it is a recipe for ongoing arguing and household stress. So summer is mainly spent playing with the kids, trying to find things to keep them entertained whilst also encouraging them to find their own ways of relieving boredom
and tearing my hair out.
I view the end of the summer and the new school year with mixed emotions; the kids are getting older, time is going by too fast. It feels like just yesterday Alex could recite all the words to the ‘Chuggington’ theme song and knew every type of lorry and digger that you would see on the road (‘that’s a transporter lorry, Mummy’). But now he’s 8 and into the guitar and playing basketball with his mates. Ava is about to start year 2, and suddenly she has turned from a cuddly, dolly-toting Mummy’s girl into an independent, spirited 6-going-on-16-year-old. I wouldn’t change it for the world, I am so proud of the kind, clever, thoughtful and fun children they have become. But I also think back to those pre-school days and reflect on how different I was; I could walk and had loads of energy to play all day with the kids, to go on long walks, days out and to do endless hours of crafting, baking and playdoughing with them. As they become more independent, things are easier in some respects, but sometimes I worry that I feel so rubbish all the time that I don’t truly appreciate it or them, as much as I should. More and more these days I spend time thinking about how things used to be. Perhaps I view it through rose tinted glasses (it is very easy to forget about the 3am wake-ups and the terrible 2s), but I do remember being able to wake up feeling refreshed after a quick nap, if it was needed, and, perhaps most importantly, the feeling of not feeling permanently worried all the time. Worried about what the future holds in regards to my health, my work, money (as a result of potentially not working) and relationships with both friends and family. Worrying that my worrying may be impacting on my parenting, and this leads to… guilt.
All parents feel guilty at times, I am sure of it. Not being able to treat the kids to the same things that their friends have? Guilt. Plonking them in front of the telly to get an hour’s peace? Guilt. Feeding them fish fingers and potato waffles two night in a row? Guilt. I have all of those, but also the guilt of being a parent who is different. I have written about this before, but I am feeling it a little bit more this school year….it will be the first school year that I will be using a mobility scooter to take my kids for their first day. It makes me reflect on how my health has changed and declined over the past year… and that makes me worry. It is a vicious circle.
I am trying hard to acknowledge these feelings and I think that writing all this down helps in some way… a bit like counselling I suppose. I am also making a conscious effort to try and stick to my meditation and yoga, knowing that when I do them both regularly I feel calmer and more relaxed. It has been tricky over the summer with both of the kids here, but, come Monday, will really try and get back into them both.
So, off to school we go. In hindsight the summer has gone ever so quickly and I wish that I had spent a couple more days out with the kids doing things that they love, rather than hanging about the house. But it’s easy to have regrets; instead, I should be concentrating on the lovely parts: garden picnics, days in the sun and our fab glamping trip. Plus the fact that back to school means back to me having a couple of free days every week when I can rest (and I promise that I won’t feel guilty about it!)