What I've learnt {since becoming a School Mum} | Parenting

"I will admit I spent a good amount of time the other weekend after Punky started school looking back at old photos and videos and just couldn't believe that this incredible part of our life was over! It's really bizarre, when I was going through it, dealing with toddlers & preschoolers and just generally all the shenanigans that came with having two kids at home, it felt like it would never end. And now it suddenly has and I don't know how I really feel about it. It's almost a bit like grief to be honest. A bittersweet kind of grief because, on the one hand, there is this pride in seeing my little one go off to school and navigate such a huge life transition, as well as excitement at the fact that I can actually see my lounge room floor these days for more than 30 seconds. But on the other hand is this realisation that our life will never be like that again, we've turned a corner, closed a door, started a new chapter, and it's all kinds of sad & scary. Parenting really is the ultimate in contradictions!"

I left the comment above on a friend's social media post the other day and it got me thinking about all of the things that have changed so quickly in the last few months. My life today is so different to what it was just a year ago, and even more different to life 2, 3, 4 years ago. As I said above, going through those early years of parenting, I felt like that would be my life forever and yet here I am, proud School Mum to one adorable 5 year old and I couldn't be happier!

Becoming a School Mum has been a really interesting learning curve, and it's changed our lives and the structure of our life so much. So much more than I ever could have anticipated! I'll admit I was really dreading this whole school thing, but now that we're almost 4 weeks in I can honestly say it's the best! Punky and I especially have been learning a lot about ourselves, and I have to say I am so damn proud of the way she has handled this transition.

It's been hard on us both, and there have been oh so many tears (hers AND mine!), but we're settling in to a rhythm now and I'm starting to see all of the benefits that come from being a School Mum. It's no secret that I don't have a lot of patience, so parenting babies and especially toddlers was really hard for me. I really, really don't like toddlers! I feel like I'm actually starting to find my groove as a parent now that the girls are older and the toddler years are behind us.

Dave and I are definitely enjoying having slightly older kids and I think we're honestly entering the Golden Age of parenting (whereby the kids are old enough to do cool fun stuff and still want to actually do it with us, and not so old that we have the teenage attitude and melodrama to deal with!). I think the next few years are going to be the best yet of our parenting journey!

Aside from the realisation that being a parent to kids that aren't toddlers is immensely enjoyable, Dave and I have learnt a few things since becoming School Parents, and I thought I'd share our top 5 lessons for you today.

5. Zee has an incredible capacity for self-entertainment

Honestly, this kid is a power-house of self-entertainment. At first she was all sad and missing Punky when school started a few weeks ago. Now? She is absolutely revelling in having all of the toys to herself and getting to do what she wants with them when she wants. Some days I hardly hear from her except when she emerges to ask for food. She runs off to her bedroom or the playroom when we get back from drop-off and if I stick my head in the door to say hi I'm told firmly "Go away! I'm playing!". Or drawing as the case may be!

4. We really need a new iron

Why, in the how many years since school uniforms have been around, are they still making them out of fabric that needs to be ironed after a wash? It's insane! This is 2017 people, ain't nobody got time for ironing, especially parents!

3. The savings we've made on childcare are now going to food

Between the after school munchies and that damned Crunch & Sip, we are going through strawberries & other fruit like nobody's business! Not to mention the sandwich we send every day that is lucky to have one bite taken out of it! I'm actually starting to think there's no point in sending a sandwich coz honestly, these kids seem to be able to survive on nothing but air and fruit at the moment! But damn, fruit is expensive, even in season!

2. We actually have a lounge room floor

One of the unexpected side effects of having a child at school for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, is that our house is actually staying tidier for longer. Dave and I were delighted to discover that not only do we in fact have a lounge room floor, but that it's not entirely covered in stains, something we've been debating for some time now! There's also slightly less washing to do too, now that we only have 1 child requiring 7 outfit changes a day!

1. I get so much more done in a day

Hands down this has been the best thing since I've become a School Mum. Being forced to not only be up but out of the house by a certain time each day has done wonders for my productivity. Gone are the slow mornings of sitting around in our PJs for half the day and only ever being able to complete tasks in bits & pieces. I can actually do things like pack & unpack the dishwasher or reply to an email, or edit photos all in one go! I always thought it would just be the girls getting older and more self-sufficient that would give me back a little time in my day, but no. It's just having one of them out of the damn house for 30 hours a week that's done the trick! And I love it!

So that's what I've learnt since becoming a School Mum. Nothing earth-shattering, but plenty surprising! Dave and I are determined to make the most of this Golden Age of Parenting we now find ourselves in, coz no doubt it's only gonna last for another few years before we start the transition to having (eeek!) teenagers, a period in time neither one of us is looking forward to!

So we're making hay (and memories) while the sun is shining, enjoying our new found joy, making the most of our time off from school & work together, and just generally basking in this newfound appreciation of each other. Hell, Dave and I might actually get to have a date night one of these days!

What was the most surprising thing you found about having a kid at school? What/when do you think your "Golden Age" of parenting is/will be? What major parenting disaster do you think is going to rear it's ugly head now that I've just bragged about the good things publicly and online (you know, Murphy's Law and all that)?!

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