Last night I went out for dinner with a group of school mums I hadn’t met before. I was looking forward to meeting the mums of my son’s new friends, but I was also filled with the same sense of dread that I always have meeting mums for the first time.
As I drove to the dinner I could hear myself playing out the conversations we would have in my head, knowing before I even left that the discussion would at some point lead to:
“Home-schooling was the worst.”
“The day I could send my kids back to school was the best day of my life.”
“Eight weeks of school holidays, argh.”
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Sure enough, that’s exactly the script that played out - along with a healthy dose of:
“There isn’t enough wine to get through the school holidays.”
“What camps can I sign up for to get them out of the house?"
Not wanting to have every mum at the table never want to talk to me again, I nodded along, agreeing that yes, home-schooling was a living nightmare and that school holidays are far too long.
At the same time, I was trying to work out if any of the other mums were doing the same, or if everyone truly felt this way and I was the only outlier.
Before you hate on me, I’m no supermum. I don’t spend every minute of my life thinking of how wonderful my children are or indeed wanting to spend every waking moment with them.
They spend more time arguing than agreeing, they drive me and each other nuts. I regularly chose to escape by walking the dog or going for a swim. Some days I want to pack them off for camp and welcome them home at the end of January.
And yet (shhh) I also like my children. I like spending time with them. I like that the school holidays are a chance to slow down, to catch up, to simply hang out. I like seeing them come and go with mates on bikes. I like that they will ring up their grandparents and ask to go and spend the night.