A Clean Start January 21 2015

I am scrubbing kitchen cupboards. I am drinking hot lemon and water first thing every morning. I am attempting an exercise regime (or at least looking at buying funky exercise gear in the online sales). I am trying to keep my patience and not shout and squeal when the LEGO box is emptied across the floor for the umpteenth time today. I am looking at things with a new, keen eye.

It must be January.

There’s something about the fresh start a new year brings. A diary not yet full of scribbles, dentist appointment reminders, bills to pay and looming deadlines. A sense that we can start again, right the wrongs of the year gone by. Improve ourselves, or our situations.

The hectic-ness of Christmas has been replaced with long summer days, filled with lounging, water play and in our case on the farm, legions and legions of flies. NB: It would take a small legion of soldiers to help me button up my jeans after too many long lunches and at least one ice cream a day for the last month. But I don’t mind, because summer holidays are about making memories, grasping that spare time and general joy and relaxing.

I have stopped panicking about the separation of dolls and their ballet slippers, or trying to put every truck and trailer back together. Because the days are long, the heat is here and well my new-year’s-resolution patience isn’t lasting as long as I liked.

I don’t know about other parents, but I feel such pressure before Christmas to wrap the year up as neatly as a present personally crafted by Martha Stewart, make sure everything is finalised and then turn all attention to assisting the big man in the red suit, while ordering hams and making bon bons and generally just ending up with the glitter everywhere. We want more than anything to create magic moments for our children… And then poof like a cheap trick it’s all over in an explosion of wrapping paper and very loud, very breakable toys.

I try to forget the fact the majority of our Christmas cards are still sitting partially addressed on the sideboard, or that I forgot to call a certain Great Aunt. However, mostly in all the panic I apologise for not sending a note to all you lovely readers, I wanted so much to thank you all for validating my random musings on motherhood, laughing with my rantings and hunting away my fears. Reflecting on 2014 I can honestly say at a time when often I felt physically further away from all of my dearest friends than ever before, the discovery of such a lovely virtual community was one of the highlights of my year.

Being at home with small children can be isolating. I feel sometimes like becoming a mother subsumed my resume and consumed my identity and with my first born especially that loss was hard to take. It got easier, as the fog lifted and while third time around I was much more in the swing of things mentally, the sheer juggling act of shipping three little ones between preschool, playgroup, swimming lessons and attempting other menial domestic duties meant little time for anything else.

Thankfully, last year I discovered so many other gorgeous mums online - NOT on those scary parenting forums but mostly on Instagram and here through Odds&Evie. I loved watching other people’s children grow, feel their angst and share their milestones – even though we don’t know each other in reality.

Wonderfully, many, many of the goodies under our Christmas tree came from fellow stay at home mums, running clever little start-up businesses from the comfort of home. I watched as so many of those businesses grew and grew and they battled to meet demand, when keen customers (me) began setting alerts to catch new product launches and sought after toys, and clothes and accessories sold out in seconds. And I applauded.

Most of all what I appreciated was the support for all these creative souls. So much love, beyond what ‘like’ buttons can ever transmit. This support encouraged so many to turn dreams into reality. And while I am useless on the creative front, scrolling through newsfeeds of gorgeousness gave me an escape from the reality of dusty floorboards and sticky fingers. And I admit, it was a little too addictive at times. May the success –and socialisation – continue in 2015.

Looking forward, or moving forward as the pollies like to say… 2015 is a big year for our household. Campbell starts school just after Australia Day and my little free-range farmer becomes part of the big system. We have bought the shiny black shoes and dedicated many minutes to practising tying his laces. The uniform is washed, the socks are neatly paired (well not really, but they will be in a few weeks time, I swear!). And I am fine…. No really, I am - at least at this stage anyway – although I have stockpiled several boxes of tissues just in case.

Truthfully, I am not sure where the last five and a half years have gone. It feels like I should still be at my desk, rubbing my ever expanding tummy and scoffing bucket loads of pavlova and ice cream (best craving ever)… yet here I am lining up lunchboxes and preparing an assortment of school-approved snacks. The last five years have been a blur of playdates, many, many, many meal preps, tantrums (both his and mine), plenty of laughs, but also hours of worry and countless loads of washing. And so many beautiful, beautiful memories, amazing moments that have swelled my heart to bursting.

I hope we have prepared him ‘properly’. I hope he remembers his manners, makes friends and has fun. I don’t doubt he is ready to learn, he is a sponge for anything educational and is craving more knowledge every day, and given the way we butt heads, I am certainly not the person to teach him.

Thankfully, as the teary first drop off looms I am lucky to have been well prepared by other parents, and friends who have kids at the same little school. There are 16 in Campbell’s year, and we know the majority thanks to years of playgroup and then attending the local preschool. I am thankful for the small size of the group, we have even been meeting in the holidays for morning tea, trying to minimise the transition come the end of January. I am sure it’s about socialising the kids, but it also feels a bit like we are buffering each other for what’s ahead too.

The biggest adjustment besides not having my nosey, all-knowing, always-right sidekick shadowing me all day every day will be the ‘deadlines’. The school bell is a scary new mistress for me, who always runs a good 15-20 minutes late – everywhere. Alarms will have to be set to ensure the lunchbox is prepped, the homework found and the hair brushed well before we are due to head out the door.

And of course any online scrolling and daydreaming will have to wait until after the drop off is complete… Any tips in adjusting to life in big school (for both of us) would be greatly appreciated…