Sports Day is not my favourite

I was never a sporty kid. Still not a sporty adult so there’s a bit of a theme here. As well as hating school trips, another ‘most hated’ day of the school year has always been Sports Day. First of all, why is there a whole day dedicated to sports when there aren’t whole days dedicated to all the other subjects? Also Sports Day seems to be a treat for those who love sports and torture for those who don’t. I don’t have any particular opinions on whether every child gets a medal or only those who come 1st, 2nd and 3rd. If you’re crap at sports, getting a participation medal doesn’t make any difference to the fact that you came last in the race/couldn’t do hurdles/dropped the egg during the egg and spoon race.

My boys haven’t given me any reason to despise Sports Day, they’re both great at having a go at everything and often rank well in the races. It’s just that for me, Sports Day is as torturous attending as an adult, as it was participating as a child. Lots of hanging around, you can’t sit down and get comfortable as you need to stand on the edge of the races cheering everyone on, it’s boiling hot and due to the volume of children, every race goes on forever.

Luckily we survived this year’s Sports Day. The day was fun for the first 20 minutes, average for the next couple of hours and by hour 3 I was done, left the boys with my ex-husband to finish off and I’m sure I’ll hear all about what I missed when they’re back later.

The World Cup is exciting

To say that I’m not a football fan would be an understatement. I never understood the whole 22 men running up and down trying to get a little ball into a big net and being paid the same as my house costs, each week for doing so. My opinion was further coloured by growing up in the football hooligan culture and the rising awareness that domestic violence massively increases when people’s teams win or lose.

With all this in mind, how I ended up married to someone utterly obsessed with football, I will never know. There were many missed family lunches, parties etc because my husband had to be home to watch the football. Needless to say the marriage didn’t last (not *just* because of football) and I was finally free to live in a house where football would not be a feature on our tv.

Fast forward a couple of years and I get the dreaded text…. our 8 year old is home with me tonight, please can I let him watch the England match. Of course. It’s the World Cup after all. So for the first time in over 18 months sports is being watched on my tv. You know what? It didn’t feel that bad. Then we were through to the next stage. I started to look forward to the next match, feeling excited that England might actually win something.

Whilst I didn’t do anything rash like watch the whole match with my son and partner, I was in the same room reading a book, which is progress. Obviously after the results of Wednesday night’s match, the title of this paragraph probably feels a bit incongruent but, as my newsfeed today is constantly telling me, there is only 4 years until the next World Cup and you never know, I may have worked myself up to watch an entire match by then.

Our new tent is almost as big as my house

As my partner and I don’t live together space isn’t an issue. Until we go camping that is. With 2 sons and a daughter between us, plus the dog it was time to do something about the size tent we had. We did a load of research, did we want an air tent? Traditional pole one? One with separate bedroom pods for the children? Once we narrowed the search down (traditional pole tent with pods for bedrooms) and started combing Ebay, Amazon etc for the perfect home from home for the 5 of us, we quickly found one which was being sold locally. We swung by and picked it up the weekend before last then left it in the boot of the car for a week. Finally, after recognising we couldn’t put it off any longer, we had to put the tent up to check it wasn’t ripped etc, we bestowed ourselves on friends who have a big communal garden at their flat (you’re welcome) and the four of us set about putting up the tent. I knew it was going to be big. I didn’t know it was going to be that big. I almost feel sorry for the people at the campsite (the idea of the biggest tent we could get was my partner’s after finding out that the campsite charges per tent, rather than per pitch). Nevertheless, we’re packing up next weekend, taking the tent and our crazy family with us, including Stitch and our friend’s dog and descending on the campsite. After our visit I have a feeling that they may be revising their policy on whether you pay per tent or per pitch.

It’s time to help out at school more

I worked in a school for years. First as an Early Years Teacher then as the Marketing & Communications Manager. This meant that a lot of my role was liaising with parents, class reps and helping to pull together school events. When I left that job and my sons moved to a new school I vowed that I would not fall into that role or the role of class rep. I needed a break from school life and this was a good opportunity to have it.

This means I’ve studiously ignored the emails, text messages and requests for help at school events. To be honest, it wasn’t that hard. I’m a single mum who works for herself with limited after school childcare options. I genuinely needed the time to work. Don’t get me wrong, I have felt guilty about it and I did go on a school trip recently but I’ve also reasoned that there are 31 other parents in the class to help out.

Today at Sports Day my friend and I were watching the races for 3 long hours and he said how nice it would be to have a refreshments stall there – we could sell coffee, squash and cake and all money raised would go to the school. I like this idea and we’ve agreed we’ll pitch it to the school next year. You never know, it may even stop me from feeling guilty for never wanting to attend the annual school fair.

Summer birthdays aren’t always great

As with all parents, I didn’t get to choose when my childrens’ birthdays are. My first was unplanned and the second took a while to show up. In any case neither of them arrived on their due dates anyway. When I found out they were due in July and September I thought it was great – they’d have plenty of birthdays in the garden, at the pool, having bbqs, all things I couldn’t do because of my crappy end of March birthday – often ignored because it falls on Easter weekend and most likely accompanied by foul weather.

A few years into this parenting gig and I’ve realised that summer birthdays aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. One son didn’t get to celebrate his birthday last year (September) as he’d just changed schools and didn’t know anyone there to invite over. The other son often has his birthday in the school holidays. This year as his birthday is one day before school finishes we thought we’d have a party for him at the local playground. Nope not going to happen as most of the parents have decided to ditch the last day of school and go on holiday so aren’t around.

Doing a quick straw poll of cousins and godchildren who have both beginning of school year and end of school year birthdays, it seems neither particularly wins. The elder ones say it’s rubbish because you’re finally old enough to do stuff (drive, go to clubs) and none of your school friends have come of age, so can come with you. The younger ones say that they have to watch all the older children come of age and get to do these things and by the end of the school year they still don’t get to do them because their birthdays are in the holidays.

Being a *ahem* few years past my own school days, I didn’t think this sort of thing would matter because it just affects the first few (15) years of your life. What I didn’t take into account is that these are during the formative years and I can completely understand the sense of being hard done by that both parties feel.

When they get too whiney about it I remind them that they could have a birthday at the end of March where no-one’s around because they have all gone home for Easter (this being because no-one who lives in London is actually from London) and on some years to add insult to injury, it also snows. All of a sudden, cousins and godchildren are very happy with the birthdays they have.