I have been trying to not fret about things. When I mean things, what I really mean is everything – a list that starts small along the lines of what on earth are we having for dinner and then rapidly escalates through why is something eating the eggs from the henhouse and then takes in worries about not getting pregnant and what if Mr Muddling doesn’t ever get a job again.
And yes I am well aware that some of them are ridiculous but that’s a worry list for you.
The trouble is that things keep on being added to the list.
Bigger is heading to school in the autumn which has been a bit of a shock because I’m fairly certain she was only born about 5 minutes ago. But there you have it, the powers that be seem to think she’ll be ready for full time education and there isn’t much I can do about that.
Actually the whole going to school thing doesn’t worry me – she’s ready for a challenge, will look super cute in uniform (shallow, moi?) and I love the school she is going to.
What I hadn’t really woken up to (and yes I do have form on this, when we started weaning Bigger I hadn’t really realised that babies carry on having milk – for years after you start giving them actual food… really must start reading parenting books so these things come as less of a surprise) and what I suppose I should have realised is that there is quite a lot of time when children aren’t at school.
I’m not talking about the fact that schools don’t tend to start until 9am, as in well after I am usually at work even ignoring the logistics of a commute, or that they finish at 3.30 and I don’t tend to get home until 7pm at the earliest. Yes there is some wrap around care that can sort of bridge some of that time but does still leave a few hours a day when you can’t have nobody looking after the children.
What I hadn’t realised was just how long school holidays are. I get 25 days of leave a year. Plus the bank holidays. So I have 33 days to be away from the office.
School holidays appear to be a couple of weeks in the autumn, 3 weeks at Christmas, another week of in February, 4 weeks at Easter, another week off in June and then 8 weeks in the summer. That’s 19 weeks, over a third of the year and more importantly about 14 weeks more than I have holiday for.
How on earth are you supposed to hold down any normal job and still be able to look after your children during these months of holidays?
Forget trying to work out the logistics about getting them to and from school and supervising homework but what do you do with them for the rest of the year when they aren’t actually at the school? And what about the cost? Not only do you have the costs of school uniform and all the extra bits but then there is all this childcare on top.
I thought it was supposed to get easier once they went to school!
The more I look at it, the more I realise that this country is set up so that only one parent can realistically work – that it is set up entirely so that the other parent has to fit in with covering the gaps and then trying to create a career in the small spaces left.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that I am doomed – how am I ever going to manage this and the demands on my job? How am I ever going to get this work? Because even in a household of equals I suspect that getting this to work is going to be my problem and I’m going to be the one that has to stretch themselves out of shape to make it work.
I honestly cannot see a way through this one.