Ever since we heard my daughter had got into the panto, the end of the autumn was in my mind divided into two distinct phases – Before Panto and Panto. For nearly two months, as we enter the Panto phase, there will be no such thing as normality. Or there will be a new sort of normality, far removed from the old normality.
After the world’s most boring half-term, we had precisely one week of the Before Panto phase aka normality, before entering the Panto phase (today!). I was going to relish that last week of only moderate stress (stress that was overwhelming a few weeks ago, but I’ve kind of got used to it now.)
But, with kids, and especially with three kids in three different schools, I realised there is no such thing as normality. Because different schools mean different inset days. So my daughter had one on Monday and my younger son had one on Thursday.
My work is still in a bit of a lull, but I’m trying hard to find some more. I’ve never really had to look for work before – it’s always fallen in my lap. Looking for work can be soul-destroying, but I’m trying to be positive about it. I WILL find work. Actually, one of my regular contracts has given me another two month contract, which is far better than my current contract, so that’s a really good start.
Looking for work takes time. New contracts (and old contracts) take time. That doesn’t fit well with two inset days in a week.
My car, which has served me well for 11 months, added to the whole not-normal/ normal situation by breaking on me at the end of half-term. As I went round a mini roundabout close to home, I didn’t quite manage to get it into gear. Then I realised the reason I didn’t quite manage to get it into gear was because I couldn’t get it into gear. Any gear. I free wheeled it round the corner and put my hazards on and a kind man pushed it into a car park for me and my husband came to rescue me.
So there was no school run for me on Monday or Tuesday while my car was mended. Luckily I have a friend nearby whose son goes to school with my son. She is in a lift-share arrangement with other friends of her daughter’s so we don’t regularly share, but it’s good to know there’s someone who can help out in an emergency.
I must admit, cutting out the drive to and from school was lovely. Leaving the house at 8.30am, my daughter and I wondered what we used to find so hard about that, back in the good old days of two kids at primary school.
My daughter isn’t the only one with rehearsals. My son surprised us all by taking part in the school musical, so there was after school rehearsals for him. He also had his first ruby match for the school’s A team, which they won comfortably. Between the match, rugby practise and his games lesson, he needed his rugby kit every one of the four days he was actually in school.
Not to be outdone, my eldest had his first after school rehearsal for senior orchestra. It’s safe to say that I’m very proud of this fact, but he’s not so keen.
Oh, and my daughter ran in a cross country competition, which involved me taking her and a bunch of kids to another school and staying to watch the races, losing myself another half day’s work in the process.
And in the tiny bits of time we had left, we managed to do regular dance lessons (apart from my own, which I FORGOT) and homework. And eat. And sleep.
Somehow, from this week onwards, I have to fit in most of this stuff in addition to a panto.
Normality? There’s no such thing!