I keep seeing smiley, happy photos of children doing things after school. You know…..making things or learning things or even going out to places. Sometimes just having fun. And it bothers me, seeing these photos; because after school in my house does not even vaguely resemble these beautiful scenes. Nope, not one tiny bit.
There is very little constructive activity going on in my house after school.
After school is “Please take your shoes off…….No, I said shoes off, didn’t I? What are you doing with your shoes still on?? Just take them off please. Before you go upstairs. I said before you go upstairs. Yes now please. We don’t need to lie on the floor and complain about it do we? We just need to TAKE OUR SHOES OFF like we do every single day.”
After school is “no we’re not having more snacks now. Why??? Because you’ve had apple wedges, three crackers, half a banana and a cup of milk and we’re about to have tea. What do you mean you don’t want tea……You just told me you’re hungry.”
After school is wondering how anyone has the time for spellings and sounds and everything else that gets sent home in the book bag. Because all you do for four hours from the moment you get home until they go to bed is troubleshoot.
After school is hating yourself for just wanting to get them into bed. But you can’t help it. You just want to get them into bed.
After school is “it’s not nice to keep poking him with that pen, is it?” and “please stop fighting over a pair of scissors” and “you really mustn’t hit him with that spoon” and “No no no! Get that fork away from your eyes please.”
After school is battling to get children upstairs to get ready for bed because honestly they are NOT TIRED. They’re really not. Just look at them, flopped on the sofa rubbing their little eyes. Not tired at all.
After school is when there is always at least one child crying. And whoever is not crying, well they just need to get on with amusing themselves because your hands are very full.
After school is feeling like you can’t do anything right for anyone.
After school is being cried on, being screamed at; or having a snotty nose wiped across your shoulder.
After school is sitting having a cuddle in a dark quiet room because you know that this little one is all done in for the day.
After school is knowing that you’re needed, but at the same time knowing that most of the things you do or say are wrong. Very wrong indeed. Look, there you are making the wrong thing for tea. And now you’re trying to help a little person brush his teeth when he’s made is so clear that HE DOESN’T NEED HELP. And what are you doing now, daring to suggest that your children might like to wear pyjamas!
After school is wondering why the hours between 3 and 7pm in your house never look like they do in other people’s photos.
After school is mainly ugly, sometimes just about do-able but very rarely fun. After school is not “It’s so lovely to see you mummy, let’s sit down and do some crafts”.
After school in my house is very much a work in progress. And it doesn’t make pretty photos.
One day, hopefully, we will get there. But we’re definitely not there yet.