BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES
New shoes, new bag, old routine. F**K! I just spent the last 6 weeks having a blast with my kid and believe me when I confess that I'm the most surprised to be writing that. You see, me and the kid had started to get completely 'out of sync' and I only have one child and he is 5 so I was worried. Worried about my mothering abilities. I was beginning to annihilate myself internally for the guilt over it. Our routine was becoming functional, routine was king and we were living harmoniously, but our days consisted of just getting from A to B with matching socks, shoes and pants on. Those days were miraculous, but there was no time in the gaps between school run and actually running because we were now too late to revel in it.
I'd drop him off, go to work, have a coffee, spend the afternoon feeling guilty about the mornings functional routine, question where the 'fun bit' was and promise to do better, promise that 'I'd be better' at pick up. Pick up is like a bundle of emotion coming at you depending on the events in his day, which you have no warning of until they fly at you with a lunch box to the tit. Whatever flies your way you deal with, but you better have a snack and a plan if you want to walk home. Get home, have tea, beg him to eat a vegetable, fight over bathing and negotiate 3 books before sleep.
Rest and promise to do better tomorrow.
The week leading up to the 'big' summer holidays aka the end of the school run for 6 blissful weeks - I was starting to get scared, scared of my inability to have fun with my kid anymore. How was I supposed to fill his day? I am not a Butlins red coat! I'm depressed. I can 'extrovert' when I need to, but 6 weeks is a long time for me to wear the mask without a slip. The kid has seen the mask fall, but "Mummy is a bit sad" isn't reason enough not to go to the park and kick a ball about. It is simple when you're 5.
So I'm bloody ecstatic to report we played, we danced, we ate, we coloured, we saw stuff, touched nature, ran everywhere, swam in warm seas, laughed and had a great summer holiday. The very thing that I was scared of was the very thing I needed, we needed. We synced up, we started our own routine and FUN was the top priority and it was easy, it was nice and I remembered the complete awe of being 5 years old, of seeing the world in the light and I found joy in being silly together and as the 'back to school' date looms I can hear that old fear creeping in...those voices that tell you "you aren't good enough" trying to shout at me from deep within.
Now he is one week into year one, the kid is back to school and I am back to the 'life bench'. Here when he calls on me or needs me to advise, play, charge his iPad and have a snack. I'm suddenly left with myself again and my demons are pretty pissed off that I handled the very shit I shouldn't have, so the new story I'm telling myself is the kid is my light and that I need him to feel it. Without him I'm dark, miserable and lack purpose which is a crock of shit and only by having this mask free time do I have the clarity to call it for what it is. Depression lies to you. Depression only exists when you believe the lies it tells you.
Right here, right now I am feeling sad that my best mate is busy in the day, but I'm enjoying the time I have to reflect, pat myself on the back and set new goals with FUN being the top priority.
To all the MUTHAs starting their school journey - you got this!
To all the MUTHAs tit deep in routine, negotiations and bribery - you got this!
See you at the gate.
Written by Natasha Bailie
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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.