January 06, 2020
Is it time, yet? What I mean, of course, is whether it’s time to do the school run again. The first of 2020. Because now that Christmas and New Year’s Eve are over... I need it. I’m craving a return to routine, which means peace, space, and everyone doing their own thing again. 
Why I’m Craving The First Chaotic School Run Of The Year
In my family – and I’m guessing there are many more like mine – we’re used to doing lots of things separately. It’s what makes us individuals, with different interests and hobbies. And it’s also what keeps us sane. On weekdays, the kids go to school, nursery, and have after-school activities; the grown-ups work, socialise, and head to the gym. Admittedly, it can sometimes feel like we’re playing a game of ‘tag team’ parenting, one of us picking up when the other goes off-duty, but it works. 
At weekends we all come together again, for laughter, playdates, pub lunches... and a fair share of bickering. But at Christmas, well, those hallowed routines that keep us ticking along are suddenly pulled away – and it can be hard on even the most harmonious of family units. Related... A Parents' Guide To Free Mental Health Support For Your Kids If you’ve felt like this over the festive season, and you’re itching to get back to the office simply to drink coffee without a small child using your head as target practice for their new Nerf gun (thanks, Santa) – you’re not alone. And you don’t have to feel guilty, not in my book. It’s not that we’ve had enough of the people we love; more that we’ve had enough of the loss routine, and independence perhaps, during this period. 
Especially because, by now, we’ve run out of money and things to do. It’s too cold to while away hours at the local park. We’ve watched every single ‘family film’ in the Netflix back catalogue – yes, even Hercules Saves Christmas. We’ve been to the local library every day. And we can’t face another den-building session in the living room. (We just can’t). 
And that’s why I’m craving a return to normality – even the school run, which for me means shouting at everyone 25 times to put their shoes on; warning them that we’re “definitely going to be late, this time” (spoiler: we’re never actually late) and leaving the house in a whirlwind of chaos, with “I can’t find my shoes” and “for goodness sake just wear your wellies, then”. Getting to school and nursery in the mornings always feels a little like I’ve hurled myself into the centre of a tornado – but, crucially, I come out alive.Getting to school and nursery in the mornings always feels a little like I’ve hurled myself into the centre of a tornado – but, crucially, I come out alive. I live to wander slowly back into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, in blissful silence, before setting the house in order and finally getting on with some work in peace.
That’s not to say I won’t miss them all. I’ve loved living by my own motto of ‘normal rules do not apply at Christmas’. The kids have slept in, we haven’t had to rush to leave the house at 8.30am, we’ve spent precious time with relatives and we’ve had ‘duvet days’ that have lasted until bedtime rolls around again. It’s been chaotic and tiring, but a lot of fun. 
And that’s what really matters, isn’t it? Appreciating (and surviving) Christmas and New Year – then patiently waiting for everything to get back to normal. I can’t wait. Related... 4 New Year's Resolutions For Parents That You Won't Completely Fail At Sucking Snot And Eating Soggy Leftovers: 7 Totally Gross Things You'll Do As A Parent How To Get Through The Post-Christmas Slump With Your Kids
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