Life is busy. Work, friends, domestic chores; it’s just one mad dash from place to place. So when you add in the complicated schedules of additional family members, it’s no wonder it becomes a bewildering whirlwind of plans and arrangements.
And it is ever changing. Maybe if there was a nice, comforting consistency, I might be able to keep track, but no week is the same!
Take school, for example. The start of each new week entails military precision planning and a hasty scrabble round the kitchen for dog-eared letters to see what needs to be taken in; what moneys are owed and what homework should have been done (this one is a lost cause in our house: only this evening I found a Year 1 homework sheet hidden under a pile of Moshi monster drawings that was apparently due in a fortnight ago).
Then there are mufti days and dress up as a book character days. Tasks which other mothers appear to breeze through effortlessly: ‘just a quick Gruffalo costume I knitted from scratch last night complete with hand crocheted purple prickles’ kind of puts our ingenious ‘dress like the girl in the ‘Secret Kingdom’ book who has a pink dress and plaits’ strategy to shame.
Towards the end of every term the additional school-related ‘thing to remember’ increases exponentially. PE kits for Sports Day; presents for teachers; cakes for the summer fair – the to do list is never ending.
This year, my eldest has also joined the school choir, who have an impressive schedule of external events to be part of. It’s fabulous to see them involved in so many occasions, but I ashamed to say that I have lost all ability to add new events to our mad summer schedule and the letters about the choir events remain in our kitchen forlorn and unreturned. Better, more efficient parents than I will have to take up the mantle and ensure there is a sufficiency of enthusiastic singing at the remaining events (and to be honest, if the cat’s chorus my girls and I managed to produce in church the other day is anything to go by, they may well be better off without our family’s contribution!).
And then there are parents’ evenings. It would seem that the pressure to ensure I DO NOT MISS this important opportunity to find out how my children are progressing has a strange effect on my time keeping. This year I managed to totally forget my appointment for child number 2, requiring a shame-faced trip to reception to make a new appointment for the second evening.
So eager was I to ensure that this did not happen again, that I wrote the appointment for child number 1 on my hand as an unavoidable reminder when her parents’ evening came round a few weeks later. ‘Ha!’ I thought to myself as we made it to school in plenty of time for my 5pm appointment ‘I’ve got this one covered!’. I was slightly perturbed by the confused reaction of the school receptionist when I announced I was here for my parents’ evening appointment, but she let us in and we headed for the classroom. It was only the sight of the darkened and clearly unoccupied room that stirred a tiny sliver of memory that I may possibly have made a mistake here. By the time we were headed back to reception to confirm my error, I had begun to realise that I may have jumped the gun a bit on this one. And so I found myself, the very NEXT Tuesday, once again, writing a note on my hand to remember my 5pm parents’ evening appointment.
Well, better to go twice than not at all I figure!