Monday, September 29, 2014

Reflections on the School Run

When we lived in New York, our school run looked like this:

(This is actually a photo of our moving truck outside our apartment, the day we left). While in New York we had to wake the children by 6:30 am, and they had to be out of the house by 7:20 to make the school bus three long avenue blocks away. No matter how much I prepared: making their lunches the night before, setting out bowls and cups and cereal boxes, having their uniforms all laid out... we were always late! The morning would start out slow and sleepy and then by 7:22 we were all rushing [ie panicking], shouting, children begging to take a cab to school, us saying absolutely not [although sometimes we caved and spent $20 on a cab--oh, New York life!) before my husband hustled everyone out the door on his way to work and they sprinted from Madison Avenue and 91st Street to Third Avenue and 90th. (Which doesn't sound that far, but trust me, it is.)

Now my school run looks like this:

It's a seven minute walk down the high street of my village, past sheep fields and a little post office shop, and then up a little lane to the school. I'ts very pleasant, and my children don't have to be at school until the luxuriously late hour of 9 am.

And yet. You know what's coming, don't you? We're still late. We still rush, panic, shout, scream. Children don't demand a cab, but rather the car--which I always say no to, because parking is horrendous. But every day as I chivvy them up the street, huffing and puffing as I push the stroller, realising my five-year-old has not brushed her hair and my ten-year-old has not brushed his teeth, and I forgot to sign a note/bring gym uniform/pack a snack/all of the above, I think: how can this be? How can the school run be an hour and a half later than in New York, and much shorter, and yet I am still rushing?

I've come to this rather obvious conclusion: It's either the nature of school runs or the nature of me.

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