So how’s back to school going in your house?
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a really personal blog post but now the kids are back at school after Lockdown 3 I’ve finally had a chance to draw breath and have a much-needed brain dump.
If you’re a regular follower of the blog (if you’re new – hello!) you’ll know I finished work to go on maternity leave with baby number four the day schools and nurseries closed for Lockdown 1 in March 2020. And if that wasn’t bad enough (and it was!) I finished maternity leave to go back to work the day schools closed for Lockdown 3 in January 2021.
Owing to the various lockdowns and tiers in between all in all I had just three months of my expected nine months maternity leave at home with Violet being ‘just’ a mum.
The other six months were a crazy and completely unsustainable mix of home learning grids, nappy changing, fronted adverbials, improper fractions, ‘teaching’ from the sofa while breastfeeding, shouting at the printer and trying to supress an inner rage which started building well before 9am every weekday. I even shouted at Alexa (and she’s usually my sidekick) and I was even driven to telling the Chancellor of the Exchequer to eff off in alpabites after he had the audacity to thank mums for juggling homeschooling with everything else, as though it’s ‘women’s work’ (the rage started particularly early that day).
Now the older two are back at school (again) after Lockdown 3 and my maternity leave is over it’s time to find a new normal as a working mama of four – and I don’t know about you, but after everything the last year has thrown at us I don’t know where to start!
Finding our new normal after Lockdown 3
To say I feel robbed of what is without a doubt my last maternity leave – the one where I was supposed to draw on everything I’ve learnt after having four babies and sleep when the baby sleeps and do all the things they tell you to do but you don’t – is an understatement. But at the same time I know so many people have been robbed of so much more.
Now it’s just Violet and me at home again I’ve realised so much changed during Lockdown 3, and life will never be quite the same again. They say you never remember the last time you change a nappy or the last time you wipe down a highchair, but I remember exactly the last time I climbed back into bed with a cup of tea and lay Violet by my side after getting her older brother and sisters off to school and nursery in the morning. It was December 18, 2020, the day school and nursery broke up for Christmas.
Little did I know it would be almost three months until we had the chance to do that again, and that when that time came we wouldn’t be able to because she’s grown too big. During Lockdown 3 Violet has not only learnt to roll and sit up but she’s crawling too, and there’s absolutely no chance of laying her anywhere for more than two seconds before she’s off and onto the next thing. She doesn’t even fit on my chest anymore.
Of course it’s wonderful seeing her grow and develop, but I can’t help but mourn all the time we didn’t have together. The little moments like snuggling in bed before she was mobile when instead I was grappling with ‘new maths’ and trying to get my head around the bus stop method (I swear they’ve made it more complicated than it needs to be).
But it is what it is and here we are, home alone again and keeping our fingers and toes crossed that the kids’ school bubbles don’t burst any time soon. It’s fair to say the kids are loving being back at school, and I’m loving not having to teach them. For the first time in months we’ve all had a chance to miss each other and come three o’clock I’m happy to hear all about fronted adverbials and improper fractions until the cows come home.
At the time of writing it’s day two of our new normal and I’ll be honest: I still feel quite shell shocked by everything that’s happened in the last year and am still reeling from the awfulness of it all. In some ways it feels like a horrible dream. Which brings me back to my first question: how’s back to school going in your house? Are you getting to grips with a new normal after Lockdown 3 too? Tell me everything – I won’t judge!