Has there been enough backyard fun already these holidays?
Has there been enough backyard fun already these holidays?

Why I’m not excited for school to go back

THE bags are packed, the lunches made, the uniforms cleaned and ready … school is officially back in session.

Boo. Hiss.

Normally I'm the mum celebrating - having my kids locked inside school means freedom for me. Finally, I can get ahead of my work schedule, pretend that I'm actually going to do some cleaning, definitely do some shopping (and not of the grocery variety), even a celebratory pedicure and massage might be in order.

And sure, I'm still going to do all of that (except the cleaning … never the cleaning), but this year, my heart's just not in it. Don't tell anyone, but I don't want them to go back yet.

There must be something wrong with me.

Back when the kids started prep, I was the only adult not in tears. I felt like the monster mother. But for me, I was honestly so excited to see them take the big step into school … and the big step for me to get my life back. I needed breathing space from my breeding space.

But as they've grown, their ability to annoy me has actually shrunk. In scientific terms, my enjoyment quotient correlates inversely to their neediness.

Basically, I like hanging out with them.

I know … what a weirdo.

I've been told that we parents only get 18 summers with our children. After that, they're all grown up (even if they don't actually leave the house).

But the number is smaller than that. I think I only have a few more seasons left with them - summers where I'm not just the designated driver but part of the pack.

Summers where some sleepovers are in my room, with one or more child taking over my bed.

We laugh (a lot), we snuggle and, of course, we fight … but I feel my truest self when I'm with them. With kids, there's no judgment (not until they see the inevitable therapist anyway).

There’s still a few more years left to enjoy time with the kids.
There’s still a few more years left to enjoy time with the kids.

I know I get a lot of things wrong in this parenting gig, but the bond with my children is tangible. And I don't want that to end.

We started this school journey six years ago, and in another six it will all be over. But I'm guessing it's only another summer or two until we transition to the teen-zone.

I'm not afraid of that (stupidly, perhaps), I love seeing them grow and slowly transform into the adults they will one day be (FYI my mum is still waiting for that to happen to me). I welcome every new stage of their little lives - after all, there's nothing I can do to slow down time.

It's just that this 7-12 years age range is such a sweet spot.

Back in the haze of the baby days, people would tell me not to wish the time away because even though it feels so slow, it goes so fast.

Nup. Even in retrospect that era took waaaay too long to be over. If I had my time again, I'd wish it away just as hard.

Toddlerhood was alternately cute and soul-destroying. And my two didn't even do tantrums.

Time has gone too fast. Picture:Peter Clark
Time has gone too fast. Picture:Peter Clark

But seriously, if I ever see a Wiggle in the flesh, somebody better hold me back - those guys owe me years of my life. To this day, I wake up with Fruit Salad or Hot Potato stuck in my head … it really ruins my breakfast.

But now … we make videos together, we go to concerts together, we make fun of Dad together. It's like living with my best friends. It is living with my best friends. With the bonus that I legitimately get to boss them around and send them to their rooms when they annoy me. Of course, the negative is that I have to make all their meals and ensure their ultimate survival. And clean the bathrooms.

Still, it's worth it to be a part of their crew. I know that biology says they'll soon need to put some distance between themselves and the parental units. But not yet.

Alas, here comes school, ready to create that gap regardless. Although at least I know I'm sending them back with fantastic memories of one of our precious few summers.

It's been a good summer. An awesome summer.

I just don't want to play on my own yet.