(Un)mindful Mama vs. The School Run

The school run is my nemesis.  Or more precisely, completing the 101 things you need to do before getting out of the house to do said school run, is my daily fray. Everyday it seems to get the better of me.  But this term I am determined not to let it vanquish me. Today, Matthew, I am going to be Mindful Mama. I am going to be mistress of the school run. No stressing about getting Baby Girl’s nap in, no fretting over being late and no shouting at my son whatsoever. Definitely.

Oh schizer, I’ve overslept. And Baby Girl is still asleep, so that means she’s not going to go down for her mid morning nap. Grooooaaaan.

But that’s ok. Time is not my enemy. We will get to preschool on time. Just remain calm and all will get done. And at any rate Little Lad is not up yet, so if I stall my morning wee trip there’s still time to beat him to the kitchen and sneak some vitamins into his milk before he notices.

For the love of all things holy…he’s already downstairs! Dammit, now I have to use cunning mummy subterfuge to distract him and get the goodness in the white stuff otherwise he will most certainly get scurvy. Why is he loitering RIGHT IN FRONT OF the cupboard?‘Don’t want bit-a-mins today’ he declares defiantly. A Mexican standoff ensues, we’re eyeing each other up across the kitchen waiting to see who will make the first move, the vitamin cupboard squarely between us. I swear a tumbleweed rolls past… I take A Deep Breath. Ok, I can let this go and remind myself that ‘all is well’ – I’m sure I can sneak some kiwi into him later, (which we all know is packed with vitamin C and is renowned for keeping scurvy at bay). I can do this, I can go with the flow. ‘Ok darling’ I say brightly, through slightly gritted teeth.

Right, brekkie. ‘So my ray of sunshine, what would you like for breakfast?’
‘Nothing, not hungry’.
I panic, he can’t not eat breakfast, it’s one of my most basic motherly duties to ensure he has food in him. Especially breakfast, most important meal of the day and all that. And I’d been working out how to sneak a bit of kiwi in there too. ‘Porridge? Weetabix? Coco pops? (Surely that rubbish is better than nothing?)’ I plead.
‘No. I want Peanut Butter on toast.’

Peanut butter, I grant you, has many nutritious properties. But it is, literally, the only fodder Little Lad will eat. One very dark day, his father and I had to smear it on a burger (I mean a burger, FFS, what kid doesn’t like burgers?!) in a vain attempt to get him to eat it. I think he just licked it off…

I relent. Peanut butter though not universally known for preventing bleeding of the gums is clearly keeping him ticking over. Ok toaster on, I have approximately 1min 30 secs to have a wee or put the coffee on. Which to do? My pelvic floor is now starting to protest under the weight of a bladder full since yesterday evening, but I quickly dismiss the relief and opt for the caffeine. I’m pretty much operating on fumes after a broken night’s sleep so need some of the hard stuff. And anyway, holding it in is practically doing Kegels…right?

Coffee in hand and Little Lad is at the table eating breakfast…virtual fistpump…#Iamwinning! You got this mama. Ok – time to head to the toilet…but no, Baby Girl is now awake and clearly starving. Park that thought. Hubby in shower. I’ll go get her up, change, dress her, quick boob feed and then time for that wee break.

Right, Baby Girl having a feed upstairs. I’m in control, we’re on target for the 8.20am exodus – wupping your ass school run! But wait, I hear a faraway voice from the downstairs loo….Little Lad is now repeating in a sing-song fashion…. ‘Mummy, come wipe my poo poo bum’. Dammit I hadn’t factored in his morning ablutions. Baby Girl in full guzzle, I’m half tempted to holler at him to wipe it himself. But we all know how that ends…Wrench Baby Girl off my mammories – to much protesting – and dash down to Little Lad, praying he hasn’t slid himself too enthusiastically off the toilet seat…..aggghhh….too late. Mental head slap.

Keep breathing. I’ll give the whole loo a thorough bleaching later. For now, get daddy to hose him down in the shower. Then all we need to do is get him dressed in his uniform, brekkie for me and Baby Girl, me dressed and then I can have that quick wee before we head on out. We have 7 minutes left. Simples. My inner calm is starting to laugh nervously, but my outward appearance is total serenity (despite the odd eye twitch).

Daddy suddenly announces he has to catch the early train. What the….? But that’s ok Little Lad is freshly doused so I can just leave him to get himself dressed whilst Baby Girl and I have breakfast. His uniform is clearly laid out on the bed, and these days he mostly puts his trousers on the right way round. Easy.

All good – I quietly marvel at my extraordinary multi-tasking skills whilst shovelling porridge into baby girl’s mouth and simultaneously shoving dry cheerios into my own (or quite possibly the other way round) and washing it all down with my much needed mug of caffeine. (I heart you coffee, my loyal, trusty friend).

Ok, foodstuff now in us girls – I can see the finish line – we’re nearly ready to leave – weyhey!!! Little Lad must be dressed now and all I have to do is throw on some clothes and we’re out the door. I hear Little Lad thump slowly down the stairs, in his usual and very irritating ‘I have all the time in the world’ kinda way, then appears triumphantly dressed…in his Batman outfit. His favourite ‘I would sleep, bathe and wear it til I’m 18 if I could’ one. The one with all the complicated velcro, cape, utility belt and mask. Aaahhhhhhhhh! How on God’s earth did he actually get all that on by himself, when literally putting socks on his actual feet is normally totally beyond him?!! Never mind. I search my mind desperately, maybe it’s World Book Day? No, scratch that, not til next week! F%*k.

Three minutes til we need to leave and I’m still in my pyjamas, in agony now due to my heaving bladder, Baby Girl screaming from having her hands & face rather too enthusiastically scrubbed with a wet wipe, and Little Lad smugly dressed as Bruce Wayne’s frickin’ alter ego. Mindful Mama has now well and truly vacated the premises. I can feel my left eye twitching uncontrollably, cheeks burning and my She-hulk is about ready to emerge…‘GET YOUR UNIFORM ON. NOW!’ I hear very Unmindful Mama scream (as well as inwardly yelling a bunch of silent expletives). Time stops for a moment – which way will this go? Full on meltdown or finally total compliance? Thankfully it’s the latter, Little Lad sorrowfully dashes upstairs and miraculously, (in record speed I may add) has his uniform on. I on the otherhand, decide to forgo getting dressed for chucking on an oversized puffer jacket and my wellies. With any luck none of the other parents will notice I’m still in PJ’s, not to mention braless and with a pair of soggy boobs.

We’re out the door.  Praise be!  Baby Girl strapped to my chest, Little Lad on his scooter racing down the road to me squawking ‘keep moving! we’re going to be laaaaate’, my boobs and Baby Girl’s head bouncing mercilessly as we go.  Will we reach the school gates in time before the caretaker locks them and avoid the dreaded walk of shame via Reception to get to class?  Yeeeesss!  We are victorious!  Little Lad is safely through the classroom door and I can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief.  I’m not sure Mindful Mama has totally kicked the school run’s butt – but I have at least survived another day.  Finally I can go home and have that sodding wee…well,  after the small matter of bleaching the loo that is….

10 Comments

  • Helen Copson

    This made me laugh out loud! I’m on my first term of pre-school runs and have 16 month old twins to drag along too. It is PAINFUL, isn’t it? You’re one step ahead of me though, my three year old still can’t get himself dressed. I keep telling myself I seriously need to teach him, but then remember how much more torture that would add to the already hideous morning! And we have another how many years of this? #ItsOK

    • unmindfulmama

      I take my hat off to you – I really struggle with two – but well done you Mighty Mama, throwing twins into the mix! As they get older they do seem to get more self-sufficient, and as an added bonus, bribery seems to become a lot more effective! My eldest is normally well decorated with stickers or promised loads of extra screen time at the end of the day if he’ll just get his bloody shoes on….! Thanks for reading!

    • unmindfulmama

      Yes, the big sigh of relief once they’re through the school gates is palpable! Then some sort of calm is restored…until pick up! Thanks for reading.

  • Nicole - Tales from Mamaville

    Ah, the school run, every mum’s nemesis and the bane of her existence. I’m currently doing it with just one kid – and stress levels are high – so kudos to all you mamas doing it with babies in tow or with more than one kid to get to school on time! You’d think if we’re supposed to be doing this for the next godzillion years to come, we’d get our act together but hell no! It ain’t a school run if you ain’t late or shouting, correct? But #itsok, there’s always coffee waiting at the other end;)

    • unmindfulmama

      Ahhhh coffee – sometimes the only thing that gets me through. 😉 And so glad it’s not just me that’s in such disarray in the mornings. Thanks for reading!

  • Kate - the Mum Conundrum

    If you can manage the school run without swearing at least 8 times and running at least 5 minutes late ARE YOU EVEN HUMAN?!? I’m dangerously close to substituting milk with Baileys in my morning coffee to get me through it on some days! thanks for linking up with #ItsOK again lovely xxx

  • Tracey Carr

    Oh I hear you – we are currently on mid-term break this week and it has just been bliss! I was so ready for a week off from the school run. To be honest I think I’ve enjoyed this week more than my daughter and she is the one at school! It was just so lovely to not have to rush out the door every morning and feel like you’ve done a day’s work by the time you finally got her to the school gate. Back to normal on Monday though…..Trust me we all feel your pain! #itsok

    • unmindfulmama

      Oh yeah, I think the half term break is just as much about the parents re-energising as the kids! Just that extra hour or so in your PJs can make all the difference. Good luck for Monday!

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