Last year, our morning routine was too good to be true: BB was picked up by bus and whisked off to school in a blink, while LB went to a nursery inside our compound.
Workwise, I could do a whole day in the office as a freelance, or bits and pieces at home – the sum of which were a drop in the ocean really in terms of the household budget, but at least made me feel like I was contributing in some small way.
But kids, they tend to start growing up, don’t they? And so it’s still something of a shock to me that this year I have two boys in two different schools (the hope is that in about 3 years’ time, the waiting list fairy will smile on us and BB will join his brother).“You have to leave by 7.20am to get to LB’s school,” my good friend warned, with a knowing, slightly worried look clouding her eyes (she knows I’m not great in the mornings).
And today, I found out why. Despite this school being nearby, to get there for the 7.50am start, you need to set out at least half an hour before to avoid the argy-bargying that goes on round the roundabaout, the tussle for parking spots and the queue snaking its way from the highway.
The drop-off completed on the late side, I headed back to our compound, thinking positive thoughts about going to the gym and getting groceries – all before 8.45am.
Thwarted. A power cut meant another hot and sticky, Bikram-style workout and at the store, it was as if Halloween had come early, with an assistant taking shoppers round with a torch, shining the beam down the dark aisles like a policeman scanning a dingy alleyway for baddies.
But my biggest bugbear this morning: LB is only at school for what feels like 20 minutes. His pick-up is earlier than nursery, just about giving mums enough time to do the shopping, come home, put the kettle on and go to the loo before heading back to the school to collect a child who will need entertaining all afternoon.
How being back on the school run, with less child-free time than before, feeling like a shadowy figure at the other school (BB’s back on the bus, bless him) and foraging around the grocery store with a flashlight is progress, I’m not sure.
I’m not going to get any work done this year, am I?
Rant over. Tomorrow I’ll beat the time thief. I’ll be out the door at 7.20am. Sharp.