parents

"Everywhere I turn children are the same - a little glassy-eyed, a little bedraggled. So tired."

Is this what your home is like at the moment?

I looked to the ceiling and spoke to a higher being this morning – begging for patience. I’m not sure who I was hoping would answer, but the moment was enough to give me strength before I snapped.

“Just get me through this morning”, I begged.

My kids are exhausted. Are yours?

It wasn’t an unusual morning. Just the normal bedlam of get-your-shoes-on, find-your-school-bag, where’s-your-homework? But three of the participants made me realise the true meaning of dragging your heels.

My four-year-old daughter was lying on her floor, tears streaming, fists pounding the glitter-strewn carpet because SHE wanted to open the drawer where her Elsa undies were kept, not me.

My six-year-old son – also on the floor half-asleep in his school shirt – was shouting, and half-sobbing that he wanted his advent calendar chocolate now and didn’t want to wait until AFTER BREAKFAST.

HE WANTED IT NOW.

My eight-year-old, hiding under the covers of his bed with a contraband iPad (usually taboo on a school morning) was calling out for the two of them to be quiet because he couldn’t hear the high-pitched tones of some British YouTube millionaire discussing the pros and cons of zombies and slime.

And there I was pretending not to notice the strains of Minecraft coming out from under the sheets, prodding my kindergarten boy with my feet debating just giving him the chocolate to stop his begging, and desperately telling myself not to shout at the two of them (and that British guy) to just BE QUIET.

“Get me through this morning. Get me through the next seven. Get me to the holidays because these kids are a wreck.”

We shuffle them from activity to activity, from school to ballet to tennis to piano.

Are yours?

And really who can blame them?  We shuffle them from activity to activity, from school to ballet to tennis to piano, to daycare and playgroup to swimming to soccer. There is gymnastics and drama and in the mix is homework and parties and playdates and, our work which more and more often is at home on our devices. And somewhere, just somewhere this little thing we like to call family life.

It’s a constant rush of picks-ups and drop-offs, a mish-mash of who’s got who and where and when, of packing Tupperware boxes filled with cut-up cubes of fruit and crackers.

It’s a never-ending cycle of concerts and performances, of classroom Christmas parties and end-of-year assemblies. There are award nights and picnic days and endless trips to Woollies when you realise you have once again forgotten to “bring something to share”.

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No wonder they are crying over Elsa undies and advent calendar chocolates.

I’m exhausted, let alone the little people who I drag around the shops on a Saturday to get the wrapping paper for the office Secret Santa.

Everywhere I turn children are the same, looking a little glassy-eyed, a little bedraggled, they’ve lost their freshness.

They are tired.

This year my six-year-old started school for the first time. He learned to count to 200 and to keep his letters together when he writes a sentence. He learned to stand in a line and to sing the national anthem. He got up each and every day and dressed himself in his golden school top and his bottle green shorts and opened his mind to a world of education.

But after 40 weeks of school he just needs a rest.

But after 40 weeks of school he just needs a rest.

It’s hard to remember this as we adults mentally cross off that Christmas “to do list”. It’s hard to remember this as we rush through our lives trying to also co-ordinate theirs.

But I am trying to.

I am trying to picture what it’s like to be six years old and so bone achingly exhausted that you fall asleep under your mother’s desk. I am trying to remember what it’s like to be the third child of two big brothers and be dragged from pillar to post each day a cog in the wheel of their busy lives.

I am trying to remember being eight-years old and having the holidays finger-touchingly close.

I am trying to remember being eight years old and having the holidays finger-touchingly close but just having a few more days to get through.

There is only a week to go for my kids before the holidays hit and for the next week the guards are down. Homework is being left aside, dinners are being eaten in the garden, tennis and ballet and gymnastics and cricket can wait till next year. The Tupperware has been put away.

And those chocolates from the advent calendar, it’s time they are eaten before breakfast every single day till the 24th.

It’s time for a break.

What’s it like in your house? Are your children exhausted?

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