It’s been eight weeks of school-runs. Eight weeks of yellow-box waves and headlight nods. Eight weeks of leaf kicking and breath taking. Eight weeks of russet and orange and yellow journeys. An up and down start to a whole new phase; finding feet.
It’s the most beautiful autumn I’ve ever witnessed. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the thick of it – doing the school runs, the school walks, stopping to take photos of leaves – even when we’re already late. Or if it’s because for the first time, I have three children at school and preschool, so we’re seeing autumn through seasonal crafts and stories – leaf rubbings and leaf collages and poems about duilleoga. Or maybe it’s the almost non-stop sun – maybe it really is the most beautiful autumn ever?
Whatever the reason, I’m stopping and noticing in a way I never did over any of the seventeen autumns (give or take a maternity leave or two) that I spent in an IFSC office. And I’m glad to have been eased into work-at-home life by sunshiney school-run mornings and leaves that stop me in my tracks.
During these first eight weeks, there have been some not great bits. Like the pelvic pain brought on by carrying the small boy on the infinite school runs (since solved by bringing back the buggy.) And the sheer panic when two days before an article was due to be submitted, I still had no contributors. And the floor that needs constant sweeping. And the interview I couldn’t carry out, because it clashed with the school-run. And the dishwasher that is always full. And the emails I send that are never read and never answered. And the hour between the school pick-ups.
But there have been some lovely bits too. Lots and lots of them. Like being there when the postman brings the good post – the loveliest of which was my new povey bag, which Claire Povey sent me to try out:
If you like bags that are gorgeous to look at, practical, roomy, reasonably priced, and designed and handmade in Ireland by an entrepreneurial mum of two small kids, check out the povey website for the fabulous range – I am a huge fan.
Other “ups” include the articles I got most out of writing – why babywearing is amazing, for Mothers & Babies, why stay at home motherhood is sometimes hard, for the Examiner, and why I think slapping isn’t the answer, for Her Family.
I had my final career coaching session, with Dearbhalla Baviera of Clearbird. She reminded me of one of our first sessions – she had asked me to visualise what I’d most like to do when I finished work – to tell her exactly how it looked. I said that in my dream world, I’d be sitting at my kitchen table, while the kids are at school, writing for a living. I’d forgotten I’d said it. She pointed out that even if I didn’t believe back then that it was possible, I’m now doing exactly what I pictured. I hadn’t thought of it until then. That was a definite “up”.
And the highlight of this first half-term; winning Best Parenting Blog at the Blog Awards last Thursday. I’m still pinching myself when I think back to it. It was a fabulous night, with lovely, lovely friends, and more wine than was possibly wise, but oh so worth it.
Everything has moved on now – the dishwasher still needs emptying and the kids are still squabbling. But I have my sparkly badge on my blog and my shiny trophy on my shelf, and the memory of how my knees got wobbly – in good way – when I heard my name called out.
And unexpectedly this autumn, I’ve loved bringing the kids to school. Spurred on by sunshine and colour and the energy that’s utterly gone by afternoon but back again every morning, we plan our days and kick the leaves and follow the beaten track to school.
And then when they’re all safely at school, the next best bit is when it’s just me, and I’m in my office-kitchen. Doing exactly what I thought I’d never do.