Mum-taxi is back on the road and I’m completely out of practice

The fear of missing out is real, especially since we’ve just experienced it

The kids badly needed the resumption of outdoor sports and they’re so happy to be back. Photograph: iStock

The kids badly needed the resumption of outdoor sports and they’re so happy to be back. Photograph: iStock

 

Training has resumed – and not just for the kids. Though mine is less of the leisurely type and more of the running around like that proverbial fly best known for its blue posterior. Mum-taxi is back on the road dropping minions to various locations at various times of the day, and I’m completely out of practice.

That’s not to say that I’m not thrilled they’ve returned.

The kids badly needed it and they’re so happy to be back. Daniel-san, he of the popcorn kernel saga, alongside his trusty sidekick, the curly-haired dude, started karate too, so I’m at last coming good on my year-old promise to sign him up for classes and I enjoyed basking in the adulation which followed my announcement that I’d finally managed to do so. And karate was a hit, which is always a win, though his expectations around the skillset he’ll have after just a couple of sessions are perhaps a little wide of the mark. Still, the car needs waxing, so I may be able to help him out with his training.

But I forgot quite how much time is spent running from A to B to C and back to A again for pick up. And of course none of this is helped by the fact that shared sports runs are a thing of the past. There being so many of them – children that is – probably doesn’t help either. Still, it was worth it to see them motivated again and happy doing the things they enjoy with their friends and team-mates. And, dare I risk tempting fate again, some of them are even sleeping better after much more active days.

Frustrating

Although I’m thrilled for those who are back doing the things they love, I was still very aware of the ones who had no activities to return to yet. Because sports, as wonderful as they are, and as much as I love them, are not where every child finds their tribe.

I love that my children are all so different. I mean it’s very frustrating sometimes, because it makes it impossible to truly master this parenting lark, no matter how many goes you have at it, but variety is the spice of life and a reminder that they are each uniquely their own person. But it doesn’t make things any easier in restriction times.

For my arts-loving kids, they’ll have longer to wait – and it’s already been more than a year. Much-enjoyed swimming lessons are also on hold – a life skill, as well as an outlet. And we won’t just pick up where we left off as there’ll be an adjustment, especially for those who had to overcome a nervousness of water.

With some seeing no return to their activities yet, I looked around to see what else I could involve them in instead. Guilt was getting the better of me and having been bitten once, twice, three times by lockdown, I was at least four times shy. Suffice to say I have now managed to commit every single day of the week to being due on some sideline or other. And that’s before the still-closed activities return.

It’s a rookie mistake – but I feel a rookie heading back out into civilisation again with my troops. The fear of missing out is real, especially since we’ve just experienced it.

Still, it leaves me with a distinct lack of time to do anything for me, and for the plans of all I’m going to do as soon as I’m allowed – which at this stage is a long as a small child’s Christmas list. Once again I appear to have set us on an unmanageable course.

The new abnormal

Panic will do that to you. A “quick let’s fit it all in while we can before it’s taken away again”, because the fear is real. A hangover from the repeated lockdowns. Even amid the optimism and the excitement of seeing the grandparents (we didn’t manage a meaningful Christmas with them), no one here quite trusts it won’t disappear again as quickly as it returns. So we’re seeking our respective therapies while we can.

A change of mindset will be required. An ability to trust that the new abnormal will be ultimately banished to that place at the back of our minds where bad memories are stored, triggered only by an episode of Reeling in the Years.

And I’ll need to learn how to schedule smartly again, to strike the right balance, for all our sakes. Perhaps when I’m feeling less feral that’ll be possible. For now there is still novelty and a sincere hope that the arts and swimming lessons will need to be factored into that schedule in the very near future. Because they’re important too.

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