You know that dread you get on a Sunday, right around this time? The feeling that the sand draining out of your weekend egg timer resembles a desert storm? Well, I’m right slap in the middle of the mother of all Sunday Night panics. After a full year – yep, 12 whole months – of maternity leave, I’m darkening the doorways of a nearby school once again tomorrow and it’s safe to say I’m pretty terrified.
Am I terrified of standing nose to nose with 30 curious adolescents, all wondering what kind of supply teacher I’ll be? Hell yes. But their guaranteed antics aren’t my main concern – I just hope I can teach without slipping into baby babble.
Am I terrified of the workload, then? You know, that famous workload Michael Gove’s never heard of?! Well, yes, but maybe not in the way you’d imagine. Juggling the planning, teaching, marking, meetings, detentions, parents’ evening and the endless list of other priorities pails into insignificance at the mere thought of the marathon that begins when the alarm clock goes off.
If I don’t get rudely awakened by some seriously inopportune teething, the starter’s gun goes off at 6am. And, from there on out, just getting through the day will be an almighty challenge. On the mark of go, this is what needs to happen. Get self into (suitable) clothes (non-milk-drenched, non-leggined, non-pyjama bottomed, preferably with two shoes that match), get Little G into (also suitable) clothes for nursery (plus, make sure to pack mandatory two sets of spare clothes just in case nursery staff drown her in soup, paint or inexplicably sticky glitter), get to nursery for 8am (a stroke before 8 and we pay extra, a stroke after and I’ll be late for work), get to work on time whilst driving safely and observing the speed limit, teach and all that jazz (remembering how important said job is and young lives are hanging in the balance etc), get out of work on time but without neglecting responsibilities of marking, planning etc, pick up Little G before her absolute limit has expired and she is truly exhausted by the nursery no-nap extravaganza, get Little G home without tears, find Little G suitably safe and entertaining activity whilst cooking (very healthy but also nice) dinner (or else listen to howling tears whilst cooking), possibly have to cease cooking and/or burn dinner in order to apply teething gel, administer Calpol or walk around the house holding Little G’s hands like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, feed everyone, have fun, possibly say a few words to very tired, hard-working husband (although this perhaps is optional?), get Little G and self bathed, possibly squeeze in some nice family time, get over-tired, over-zealous, never-wants-to-go-to-bed Little G into bed without huge drama (otherwise internet says she will not sleep well anyway), wash clothes, clean house, try to relax and start again the next day. Breathe? Maybe. But realistically, probably not.
So, cue sweat puthering down my neck. With all these tasks to accomplish in one day, I’m sitting here asking myself what’s going to give? With all that to do, most likely the housework, the breathing and almost certainly the relaxing…and, honestly, I can live in an untidy house, warmed by a mountain of unwashed clothes. I can cope with not watching awful TV or having a decent five minutes to wind down…I can do all that, as long as what gives isn’t me, my relationships or the happiness of my little family!
But, for now, I’m off to have a bath because, actually, the preparation for tomorrow really starts today!