Friday, 27 June 2014

End of term madness -- and mindfulness...

End of school madness has descended on the Nappy Valley household. Having two children at two different schools (thank god, only for another few days) makes things even more "interesting" than usual. This week has seen my presence at one school or the other on no less than four days out of five: for school plays, sports days, visiting mornings for new schools and information evenings for parents. Next week is only a three day school week, but our diary includes a school carnival, a school trip, a Leavers' Party and a Leavers' Service (after which we will be speeding down the French autoroutes towards Spain and a much-needed holiday).

Despite having (so I thought) read all the school mailings religiously all year, on three occasions I have found myself almost missing crucial events because of letters being mislaid, not sent out etc.  I was also informed midweek that Littleboy 1 needed a fancy dress costume for Monday. After my experience with the fez, I found this infuriating -- in fact I think working parents need to go on strike about this sort of thing. It ALL gets dumped on the mothers -- the Doctor just laughed about it when he heard, and in a relaxed fashion just told me not to bother. But he won't be the one who has to stand there cringing when the little darlings go on their carnival parade and our child is the only one in boring school uniform....

One of the reasons I work from home is so that I CAN go to all these school events, do pickups at different times of day and help the children with homework that, increasingly, seems to require adult involvement such as looking things up on the computer and printing things out. (Yes, I know a nine year old can use Google as well as I can, but select appropriate images and print them? I can't even get our printer to work half the time...).

I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for the mothers who work in an office five days a week and only see their children after after-school club in the evening. Most of them do seem to make it to the events, but they're always checking their watches and running for the train as soon as it's over, and looking harried and hassled.

I don't recall my parents having this level of involvement when I was at school, although maybe I'm wrong (my Dad is the only one who's around, and he doesn't remember it). In a way it's lovely, because you do get to see what they're doing and to cheer them on at everything and meet the teachers on a very regular basis. And yes, God knows employers ought to be sympathetic about letting working parents go to these sorts of events. But I bet not all of them are. And it depends what you do -- The Doctor, for instance, can't cancel clinics because of a school sports day, and there are only so many swaps you can do with colleagues.

Anyway, coupled with all this running around is the rather sad realisation that another school year has gone by. When you are a child, the end of the school year is fun and exciting. But when you are a mother, it's just a marker of the passing of time -- that your children (and you) are another year older and that these are precious moments that must be captured -- and enjoyed -- in the bittersweet moment. I'll try to carry that end of term mindfulness with me as I rush off to the next school event....


Was Living Down Under said...

I hear you sister!!

I'm at work and rushing off at lunch. (taking the afternoon off as it's the last day of school and I want to say goodbye to the teachers).

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who misplaces letter and forgets stuff. I've started writing it on our wall calendar because google calendar wasn't cutting it. And still things get forgotten.

Will be glad for next week. Summer camps start - a whole new set of things to remember :)

Enjoy the next week - it really is a luxury for us to be able to participate with our children. Even though it doesn't feel like it sometimes!

Expat mum said...

My mother was here for all our end of year school stuff (at the beginning of June) and can't believe how much parental involvement there is now. She was a teacher so even less able to take time off than many workers, but then again, there was hardly anything to do.

'Cross the Pond said...

I'm going through the same thing right now. X is leaving nursery and will be starting school with Cate this September. I have no babies left. It's sad and exciting at the same time!

MsCaroline said...

Ugh. I remember those days clearly - I hated May and June because they were so packed with activities - it got even worse when I went back to teaching and had to juggle the boys' activities and things at my own school. Nonetheless - you're wise to be mindful - it does pass so quickly.

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'Cross the Pond said...
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