It’s Friday night and we’ve survived the first week of full time education. Wow, what a week. I had zero understanding of what it would actually feel like to let her walk through those school gates for the day. My emotions this week have caught me off-guard and I can still feel the tears welling up as I write this. Not everyone feels this way, after all we’re all different and we’ve all had different journeys to get to this point. And if you’re reading this and didn’t get all the feels then that’s fine too!
Amabel has been at preschool a couple of days a week for the past two years but I’ve been the primary care giver during that time, with my Mum looking after her (and then Jesse too) on a Wednesday so I can run workshops and do some uninterrupted work. So this week is the longest I’ve been apart from her – EVER – albeit with her coming home at 3.15 p.m. each day. For others this moment might come on the first day of nursery or with the childminder, especially if you’ve gone back to work full time. But even then I think a lot of the ‘first day’ emotions are linked to the prospect of your child growing up rather than just the change in lifestyle/routine.
The one thing that has made this week a bit more bearable and having our food sorted. I have managed a fresh cooked dinner each night by 4.30 p.m. with a bit of clever ‘left over’ cooking, using my slow cooker and choosing some quick, simple but wholesome recipes. And of course I’ve tried to pick Amabel’s favourites to bring some of that comfort that we all know food can bring. It’s also made me feel better about her less than optimum lunch choices at school (that’s even if what she’s telling me is right!). Next week I think the communication book is going to provide a little teacher guidance for lunchtimes – once I’ve discussed it with Amabel of course (negotiation is key here!)
Being organised has meant that no one has been waiting around for dinner and we’ve had it a little earlier to allow for slightly earlier bedtimes. It also means it’s been one less thing for me to be thinking about when I collect Amabel which means she’s had more of my attention – always good when they need that little more from you. We’ve also managed the park after school and some games, just to really make sure we’re all connecting and working off any stress hormones.
This is what our meal planner looked like this week:
Sunday – Roast Leg of Lamb (3kg) with all the trimmings
Monday – Slow Cooker Lamb and Beef Bolognaise
Tuesday – leftover Lamb & Potato Puff Pie with Veggies
Wednesday – Black Bean Chilli & Rice
Thursday – Tuna Steak Stir-fry
Friday – Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry
This approach would work for many different situations. If you’re doing some KIT days at work, if you’re returning to work after maternity leave. And even if you don’t have to think about dinners for your baby (if they are fed at their childcare setting for example) it can ensure that you and your partner are eating well. But even if your child eats at nursery they might still need a wholesome snack before bed if dinner is really early – so a little bit of planning can help there too.
So this week I’m revelling in my smugness at being organised with the food – even if everything else feels a little like an enormous mountain to climb!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones!