This week was a big week in my house. I officially went up a bra size, we had our first dinner at the beach for the season, I successfully plucked all grey hairs from the crown of my head and my oldest boy had his first play date at primary school. Big week.
I’ve never really stressed too much about picking schools for the kids. I always thought that that was something grownups did. When it came to my time to be a grown up I’d call my mum and ask her what to do. Turns out it doesn’t work like that. I’ve been told by so many parents what a tricky decision it can be. Private or public? Religious or not? Home school or sanity?
Now, #hothusband and I are big supporters of the public school system and always thought that would be the way we would go, no questions asked. My step-daughters are at public schools. My husband went through the public school system. I tried public schools but the teachers soon realised that I needed lots of ‘special attention’, so my parents moved me quick smart. But here’s the thing, we are zoned out for the public school we were excited about getting second-hand uniforms for. The school we are zoned for, well it would be easier and cheaper if we cut out the middle man and sent our kids straight to the local meth lab.
After many conversations with anyone that would listen, we decided the Catholic school down the road was the school for our first boy. Even though we aren’t super religious, this school seemed to tick all the boxes. It’s down the road, smaller, down the road, a few of his friends from preschool are going there and it’s down the road.
I never really dreamt of having kids. I did, however, dream of walking them to and from school if I did ever have them. I’d walk my kids to school each morning, in flattering activewear as they rode their bikes in the sunshine and we waved to other attractive, well-put-together mums. We would talk about our hopes and dreams for the day, in a caring way with no one yelling “GET OFF THE F—ING ROAD!” I would give my boys a big hug and kiss at the school gate then drop off the homemade gluten, nut, dairy and sugar-free cupcakes to the canteen ladies. I would continue my lovely walk home. There I would sit and wait to hear the school bell from my kitchen bench, as the school is down the road.
Well, didn’t this all go to shit on Wednesday? I begged everyone I knew to look after my 2-year-old so I wouldn’t be that mother running around after a toddler in a helmet, gumboots and nappy. Instead I found myself at the first orientation of the year with a keen-as-mustard 5-year-old and a semi-clad toddler.
It was the longest walk to school in the history of the world. The 5-year-old was tired, hungry and over my attitude. The toddler was completely devastated that riding head first into oncoming traffic wasn’t as well-received as he had hoped, and I was flat out trying to remember why I ever decided to ever have children ever.
I now know why mums have such massive cars, because doing anything outside of the house with your kids requires a goddamned spaceship to avoid ever allowing your children to run free.
I love my kids and I love having hopes and dreams for them, but from now on, I will be strapping them into my car to drive them three minutes down the road. I may as well have picked the top school in Darwin to drive them to each morning because we are NEVER WALKING ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN.