Back To School and A Parenting Milestone

(AD - Contains Gifted Content) Today is a major milestone in my motherhood journey. It is a milestone that was meant to take place back in January and to be felt with more optimism that I feel, but it has finally happened. For the first time both of my daughters are at school and my son is at nursery. I am sitting here in a fairly quiet house with an hour before nursery pick up and I don’t have to be listening out for anyone.

Two sisters standing next to each other in school uniform, the younger one is jumping up and down. They both have Smiggle Galaxy Attach backpacks on received to review.
One child was far more excited to go back to school than the other

BB was a difficult baby
and while I am very grateful we successfully managed to have a third child, but he was with me pretty much 24 hours a day, he still is. I soon began to look forward to the point he would start nursery and I could finally get time for me again. I have a business I am planning to build up alongside my blog, but it has been sidelined for the last couple of years while I haven’t had the time or energy to devote to it.

I was meant to take BB into nursery, hang his coat up, give him a kiss and skip off home to an empty house for a two and a half hours focused work before picking him up again. Instead this morning I watched him toddle through the nursery gate without looking back (we are no longer allowed into nursery) and went home to the house where G is working away in our Boffice (Bedroom Office). The change though is unlike for the first couple of months of BB’s nursery experience I haven’t had to rush back home to homeschool his sisters. I did a (beginner) workout to shift some of the effects of lockdown then had a shower without anyone needing to come in and ask me a hugely important question like “Can I have biscuit?” or “Can I go on YT kids?”.

I don’t feel I can throw myself into work in the same way as long hoped though; I don’t feel able to make plans because even if the schools don’t close again chances are a good chunk of the rest of the school year will have at least one child home with illness or burst bubbles.

Two sisters and a brother watching something on an ipad while cuddled up together
I think the siblings will miss spending so much time together

Today isn’t really about BB being at nursery though, the big difference today is about the girls being back to school.

It is 9 weeks since we last did the stressful school run, and I have almost forgotton what to take on the school run.  A huge amount of time. Little was super excited to go back and woke up at 3am this morning. Luckily she was persuaded back to sleep for a few hours, but from the moment I was up she kept asking if it was time to go to school. The return is even more exciting for her because Reception are having a party today to make up for the Christmas party they missed. She has gone in dressed as a pirate with a big smile on her face.

My eldest was more reluctant to go back. She doesn’t like change. She said this morning she wanted to be homeschooled forever, to which I pointed out that she should have shown some interest in actually doing the work for the last couple of months if she wanted me to take that comment seriously. She always has an uneasy relationship with school because she struggles to form strong friendships, but most of the time she enjoys it so I wasn’t surprised that when the bell rang she raced across the playground to go in.

Back to school after so long is going to mean unfamiliar routines, getting up earlier, going out far more than we have been and spending less time on the iPad. They need it though. The girls learning has progressed while they are at home, but not as well as it would have. I decided to read Little’s school book with her yesterday after last reading it mid December. She still struggled with some of the words 3 months later. When at school we would get her to read her reading book most days. With homeschooling none of us had any energy for that sort of thing by the time the set work was done.

Siblings in school uniform and Smiggle review backpacks playfighting
There has been a fair bit of fighting, but they love each other really

The biggest change in both my daughters though I have noticed in the last couple of months (a cumulative affect from the last year) has been their fitness levels. With the cold weather and lockdown we have hidden inside. It has been a challenge to get them out for walks so we have generally only been out once a week. In the Summer they spent hours playing in the garden, but other than when it snowed, this weekend is the first time it has been dry enough for them to spend any real time in the garden for months.

Yesterday morning M went for a run with me. It was week 1 of a couch to 5km programme and considerably more walking than running. M struggled with it. She last went running with me last year when she kept on sprinting way ahead of me. She ran low on energy later on because of not pacing herself, but overall she ran lots. In contrast yesterday she had none of that energy. She has lost some of her muscle tone too without general exercise at school and karate, but I’m confident that will build back up now she is at school again.

My middle one has a different body type to her big sister. While M is lean, Little is more solid. She has never had all the restless energy of her sister and is generally calmer. This combined with not going out much has lead to weight gain. She is 4 years younger than her sister but her waist, legs and arms are all the same size or wider. She will never be as lean as her sister and we aren’t mentioning her size to her, but we will be making more of an effort to get her active again. This will be helped just by being at school as well as hopefully her dance and karate classes starting again in April.

It’s hard to know what the long term affects of this lockdown, social distancing and school closures will have on our children. While I’m sure they have benefitted from more time with their parents and siblings, I’m even more sure they will benefit from being back at school. Even if it’s not quite the same experience as they should have had. 

I know I am going to benefit from having time for me too and hopefully it will make me a more attentive and patient mother in the time I have with my children.

Get Classroom Ready With Smiggle

To help with the excitement of back to school we choose these great backpacks and initial keyrings from the Smiggle website. There are always lots of great offers and my children love the fun designs. Both the backpacks and the keyrings are scented and the prints are amazing. In the Galaxy Attach Backpack range there are 5 different prints so there is something for most personalities; we chose Dino and Animal. The name is because the lunchpack (sold separately) clips on the front.

The bags are a great size. The large main section has a padded pocket suitable for a laptop or similar. There are 2 more zipped sections on the front as well as a pocket on either side of the bag suitable for water bottles.  The back and shoulder straps are padded and adjustable and there is a carry handle too. 

The bags are £35 rrp but keep an eye out for bundle deals and offers on the Smiggle website.

View from behind of sisters wearing Smiggle Galaxy Attach gifted backpacks in Dino and animal print
AD Smiggle Galaxy Attach Backpacks were gifted

***Disclosure: The Backpacks and key rings were bought with a voucher kindly gifted from Smiggle as part of their Back To The Classroom campaign.***

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