Friday 7 September 2012

Time stands still with no kids to look after !

That sounds really sad, like I'm suffering from empty-nest syndrome, but I'm not at all - I'm absolutely loving my new found freedom ! If you're wondering what I'm getting so excited about, Pierre has started school and I don't work on Friday afternoons. That means, from midday to 4.30pm, I am home alone (or anywhere else alone that I choose to be - the options are limitless !)

Last year, my typical working day looked very much like this :

6.15am get up, get washed & dressed, have a quick swig of orange juice
6.30am wake up the kids and get them all fed & dressed
7am get the bus to work
8am-3pm work, lunch break and the odd free period
3.05pm get the bus home
3.40pm arrive home, dash off to the childminder's to pick up Pierre by 3.45 (she wouldn't have minded if I was a bit late but I always pride myself on being on time so it was always a mad rush)
3.55pm arrive home, get Pierre a snack/drink/potty/cuddle
4.20pm head off to pick up Sophie and Juliette at school - quick trip to the park on the way home then supervising homework, sorting out food, bedtime, etc

Some days, I'd work until 4pm and have to try to intercept the childminder somewhere on route from school to her house or, if nobody was in, go and find them at the park down the end of the road

It all worked like clockwork but by the end of the day, I was frazzled !

This year, for the first time ever (since being a mum and before you have kids, you just don't know when you've got it good !!), I've got a whole afternoon to call my own with no pregnant bump or under 5's to look after in the house ! Woohoo !

That's only 4 & 1/2 hours but I was amazed how long that seems when you're free to do what you want with no grumpy, tired kids on the verge of a tantrum to deal with ! Since finishing work at lunchtime, I have :

- gone for a leisurely lunch at a café with some friends and not even glanced at the kids' menu

- used the gift cards for Hunkemoller lingerie that have been in my purse for literally years. Usually it's a grab and run because the kids start getting bored and silly or Juliette starts giggling "Look Mum" and putting the G-cup bras on her head ! This time, I had the time to scour the shelves and found some absolute bargains : 5 pairs of frilly knickers for €22.50, a bra reduced from €32.50 to €12.50 and, if you bought one reduced item you got a second half price, so another bra that was €32.50 reduced to €10 that I got for €5. I had €30 of gift cards (from various online surveys) so I got the whole lot - 5 pairs of knickers and 2 bras - for €10 !

- dashed off (I have to learn to do a leisurely walk !) to the insurance office to pick up the kids' school insurance forms to give in to their teachers, the canteen, after-school clubs and everyone else who demands them

- went to a clothes shop and bought some jeans - more about that on my Sunday weigh-in post !

- went to Orange and changed my mobile phone contract. I haven't changed it since I got it, 11 years ago when Sophie first went to the childminder's (and she's just started secondary school !!), and a friend pointed out that I could get a better deal now. I used to have 1 hour & unlimited texts for €15 a month (which is more than enough for what I use). Now I pay €10 a month, I get an hour of calls and unlimited texts but I can also send/receive free texts abroad and I have €10 (about half an hour) of communication abroad on top. Bonus ! Now I can use my phone when we come to England or even call my parents in England when we're out and about!

Usually, I'd have been spending the whole time trying to coax uncooperative kids to wait a bit longer/stop moaning/behave and combining threats/bribery (sweets/drinks/ice creams)/distraction techniques to keep everyone in line while keeping my errands as brief as possible. All afternoon, I've been flicking my watch thinking it must be running slow because every time I look at it, time has barely moved !

Even after all that, I've still got home with enough time to sit here writing a blogpost before the school run ! With the brilliant timetable I have this year, I get the best of both worlds - I can be a "full-time mum who works", combining a full-time job with the flexibilty of picking up the kids from school and even dropping them off most days. There's only Wednesday morning that they'll be at the childminder's because there's no school - and I even have my Fridays to enjoy.

That said, much as I've loved my afternoon off (and even more so, the fact of knowing I'll get another one next week ... and the week after ... and the week after that !), I can't wait to be the first mum at the school gates in 1/2 hour, to get some lovely cuddles and hear about how their day has been. Just before then though, excuse me while I go to the toilet and savour the moment - the novelty still hasn't worn off yet of being able to go to the toilet with nobody yelling "Muuuuuum!", bashing on the door or trying to get in !!

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Back to the school rush !

Book review : The 52 Seductions - Betty Herbert


  1. it was a really strange feeling when my boys ( luke aged 6 and ryan (3 ) went back to school and nursery this week, i had a whole day off on tuesday , a quiet house, no tv on and managed to get loads of baking and housework done, but still clocked watch and turned up early to pick them up, i love having the whole to myself but miss them when there not here x

  2. My son is 9 so has been at school for a number of years, however, it is still always a shock to my system when he goes back to school after the summer holidays. I miss him so much & I don't know what to do with my time until I get back in the swing of things.

  3. gosh your schools run late, our kids finish at 3pm. and gosh you have to pay insurance to send them to school!!

    1. Yes and yes ! School finishes at 4.30pm from age 2 upwards but for the first couple of years, they all head off to a dormitory for a sleep in the afternoon. As soon as secondary school starts, it can be as late as 6pm. Sophie had class from 8am-6pm on Thursday, then had homework when she got home - bit of a shock for the first week at secondary school ! Other days she finishes earlier though. That explains the longer holidays in France. As for insurance, it covers you if your kids are involved in an accident, break someone's glasses, damage school property, etc. It's not expensive luckily.

  4. My youngest starts school TOMMORROW morning, i'm terrified and happy at the same time. also a working mummy, and wondering how i'll adapt to the new routine changes. Hopefully it will all be fine, what i'm really looking forwards to is in a few weeks when he's at school properly, at the moment its just mornings.

    1. Aww it takes some getting used to but once you've all adapted to the new routine, it's very liberating ! Good luck tomorrow, don't forget your tissues ! lol xx


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...