Life Lately - Back to School After Almost 6 Months Off

 
The summer of 2020 has definitely been a weird one. I have felt a real mixture of sadness for H, H and J that they are not enjoying the summer we are used to and have not had a holiday this year (spoken from a place of privilege I know).  Sad that sleepovers / end of school trips / our usual trips to museums, swimming pools and theme parks have just not been possible. I know these past few months have given us a chance to enjoy a slower pace of life, but 6 months is a long time. 



Yes the kids have enjoyed playing outside, relaxing at home watching films and family walks, but we would have done this anyway. It is all the other stuff we have not been able to enjoy that I feel sad about.....


This sadness is counteracted with the fact that I am so grateful we are at home, happy (ish ) and healthy. Never again in our lifetime will we spend such a prolonged period of time with each other and for this, I am thankful. I also appreciate that as I work for myself at home, I can be super flexible and the logistics of having three kids at home while I work could have been a lot worse for us. 

This summer has been different but we do still have some very happy memories - I loved taking the kids to town for Nandos and to the cinema, we managed our first swim session in 6 months yesterday we had a fab time at a few gigs at Virgin Unity Arena. We have enjoyed a little day trip to Yorkshire, had lots of BBQs in the garden, visited a castle, taken a mini train ride and visited a few farms. All very different but we haven't been as hard done by as we could have been. It has been nice.   

But tomorrow, it is all change. Heidi is off to Secondary School and Jack moves up into Year 5. Harry still has a few days off and does not go back until Friday. 

I am happy for the kids to go back. They are a little nervous (especially Heidi) which is understandable as it is going to be such a change. I am looking forward to us getting back into a much needed routine and for the kids to return to proper learning - my home schooling just does not cut it. 

Heidi and Harry both need to wear face coverings in some communal areas at school now. This makes sense to me and they do not seem bothered at all but I still feel sad for them that this is what life is not. Needs must though. 

Now that Jack is in Year 5, he is going to be walking to and from school with friends now so a big change for me is no more school runs. Wow that really sneaks up on you. It feels like only yesterday I was dropping Harry at Reception with a 2yo toddler and baby in tow. But then at the same time it feels like a another life when I used to get them all ready and Harry to school on time every morning by myself. I will be walking Jack on his first day and will probably be roped into picking them up in the car when the weather is bad but for the most part, no more school runs for me. I feel like I need to mark this occasion somehow, it feels like a big milestone. 

There are a few other changes at school - if H&H have PE, they have to go into school wearing their PE kit for the full day. As long as they have PE last lesson, I think this is actually better as there will be less for them to carry about in their school bags and it will mean their kit is washed a lot more regularly rather than sitting at the bottom of their bag for weeks on end. There are some positives to come from all of this, even if they are small. 

The start of a new school year always feels like a good time to get organised. Steve and I have decided to trial sharing the meal planning / food shopping / cooking rather than me doing the lion’s share and so far, so good. My work is getting busier and it has really helped to share the load / burden of constantly thinking about what to cook for tea. Plus, as we both like cooking different meals, it adds a bit of variety too. Meal planning every other week with a week off has actually been enjoyable again and if you have a partner, I would highly recommend alternating weeks like this. 

As I do not need to pick the kids up from school anymore, I want to try and get back into baking so will be sharing a few more recipes on here - especially for afterschool snacks. 

When the kids go into Secondary School, I like to open a bank account for them with their own contactless debit card. This really helps them to manage their money. For Heidi, it was just too difficult this year as there were so many hoops to jump through with new measures that are in place. We have therefore decided to wait until next year and Heidi and Jack both have a Go Henry Card now. 

Go Henry is not for everyone as you do pay a monthly fee but I love the convenience of just setting up their pocket money and forgetting about it and that I can add them extra tasks for extra money. I never have cash on me so this way is just so much easier. In terms of pocket money, in our house we give the kids the amount that corresponds to their school year - so Harry receives £9 per week, Heidi £7 and Jack £5. If they do not keep their room tidy, they receive deductions and they can earn extra by doing jobs like cutting the grass. 

They use their pocket money for sweets / drinks / snacks when playing out with friends, to save for big items (Harry is saving for a VR) , to pay for swimming after school (pre-COVID) or spend in gift shops when we visit places. 


My work has really picked up this month and I would say that I am back to normal in terms of my workload / earnings which is a nice relief. More people than ever have read posts on North East Family Fun over the past few months which is so lush and re-assuring for me. 

I know lots of you are looking for Halloween and Christmas events right now and I actually think that more are going to go ahead than we may have originally thought. Obviously, there is the risk of local lockdowns etc... but I have my fingers crossed that Christmas will not be cancelled. 

Last week, I booked a little break to Kielder for the New Year. After a year of not travelling, it is so nice to have something in the diary. I know it could be cancelled/postponed but this is a risk I am willing to take. Fingers crossed we get there though as sitting in a hot tub with a glass of fizz under the stars sounds like actual heaven right now.  

I am not an expert but now that we know more about Coronavirus, I do not expect 6 month lockdowns to happen again. I do think there will be more disruption to come with local lockdowns etc.... but I try to stay optimistic and hope that the next few months will still be filled with nice autumnal walks in the woods. Saying that though, we have been investing in things to make our home life more comfortable - we now have Sky Q (which I love) and we added Sky Movies to our Sky package. That will see us through any further lockdowns hopefully. We also have a new cooker being installed in a few weeks, just in time for the Great British Bake Off and my decorating project this month is the boys' bedroom - wish me luck with that one! 

But before I get cracking on yet more decorating, I cannot wait for some time alone. I will probably spend the kids’ first few days back worried / anxious about how they are doing but I also cannot wait to sit in silence / binge on Married At First Sight / have a day off making snacks/ breaking up arguments. It has been a long time coming! 


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2 comments

  1. It really has been a different summer but one we'll remember forever.
    I hope the return to school goes well. Good luck to Heidi at secondary school.
    How exciting for you to have no school runs to do. I was so excited when I stopped doing them but then realised that I actually missed doing them.x

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  2. It’s such a strange time but there are things to look forward to as well. Always love reading your posts like this as they are like a glimpse into my future! We need to celebrate with a cuppa meet up!

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