It’s the first full week back at schools, work is busy and everyone is already flagging…
It’s the first full school week back after Christmas and it feels like we’ve never had a break. This is mainly because Christmas was spent, as for many families, battling various viruses. With coughs still lingering and everyone I speak to at work having had some Christmas illness story, it seems like a lot of people may be starting the year with depleted energy reserves. In our house the cloud of A level mocks looms large too.
The problem is that for employers January can be a very busy month – indeed, in turbulent times and amid labour shortages, every month is busy. If you have a portfolio career – as I do – that means everyone is very busy at exactly the same time, strategising for the next year, planning events and wanting input. It makes sense to start the year by thinking ahead, but this time of year is when I think the bears have got it right. It gets dark almost as soon as you get up. The good news – which is really bad news for the planet – is that it’s March/April temperatures. This year at least when everyone is worried about heating bills that could be a bonus.
Ideally, you’d like to start the year with a surge of optimism, but it’s not looking as if things will get any better – at least in the short term.
Meanwhile, school is back with a vengeance and homework-related emails clog up my inbox. It’s nearly the end of the first week back and new year’s resolutions to be more ahead of the curve on timings are already slipping. We’ve had an email saying our punctuality is being monitored and that sickness rates mean only son’s GCSE performance [he’s 12] will be affected and it’s all our fault, bad parents, for keeping him off when he’s sick. When it comes to punctuality, it’s not only son and me who are the problem. We are always ready to go on time. It’s just daughter three who finds it very, very hard to drag herself out of bed in the morning, although only son is becoming more body conscious and spends an increasing amount of time in the bathroom, which doesn’t bode well for the future. Back in the day, I reckon I could get up and out the door in 10 minutes to get to work. Now there are so many cleansing and moisturising routines and Minecraft-related distractions that it’s a miracle they get to school at all. Who ever knew that moisturising your legs was a thing?
There are also emails from the school about parents evenings, IT issues and internet safety. I’ve been to a fair few internet safety talks in my time and dragged some very bored children along who have already been told the same stuff during school hours. With every email or news article on internet safety I tend to feel obliged to give my own version of the talk to ensure they understand what it’s all about and that digital literacy is important. Usually once I have completed what I think is a fairly comprehensive discussion about said issues I discover that my target audience has had their ear buds or other ear contraption in the whole time and didn’t hear a word I said. My partner has started doing the same thing and I’m starting to take it personally.
I’ve taken to hitting only son lightly on the legs in the back of the car when he says nothing to my attempts at conversation at pick-up time because he’s listening to music and won’t share it with the car, even though I know it’s stuff we all like. Gone are the days when he would lead the family singalong to the One Direction CD. One day we will all be part of the metaverse and then young people will be able to mute their parents and totally ignore them at will because they will have the upper hand. All that Minecraft stuff that I just can’t understand no matter how much I try will be used against us. But at least they won’t have to worry about moisturising anything…