The crazy six weeks are over and we are a week and a half into the routine of the girls going to school, childcare, after school clubs, breakfast clubs, tennis lessons.. and also finding the time to get to the gym and have some time for ourselves at times too.
The night before Vivienne went back to school was also the night before Sylvie going into childcare for the first time (more on this later..), and David and I found ourselves drawing out a timetable whilst sitting on the couch like we were divorcing; working out who picks up and drops off each day, when we can get to the gym ourselves, booking in a free night for us to have as a family and working out who exactly is responsible for what. (Then we stuck it up in the kitchen so it was *official*).
Turns out having two kids is wonderful - really wonderful - and not *that* complicated until you throw in all the other stuff you have to do too. (Like feeding yourself, and homework, and the washing.. and the other unimportant adult shit that comes with trying to be a 'responsible'.)
But, anyway, the routine wheels slowly started turning again. Vivienne ran off into school, seeing some friends for the first time in weeks, and loved being back. We started getting the ten emails a day from her school again (FFS bullet points and brevity, please), we even managed to get her first homework in on time *and* remembered her PE kit; even if the night before school started she announced that it had been in the cupboard, unwashed, for the past six weeks.
The biggest change was Sylvie starting to go to a childminder. I admit, I really cried when David took her to drop her off the first time saying things like "It's too soon!"/"But she has a cold!"/"She's just too little", but very soon I realised we were both absolutely fine; Sylvie loved being there and I got more done in a day than I had in ages. Our childminder lives about a 5 minute walk away and is lovely - she's been taking her out to different activities during the day and sends Whatsapp pictures of how she is and what she's up to. We have definitely done the right thing here.
There was no routine in Summer, apart from the fact that routinely throughout the day I would have to exclaim "I'M SO TIRED", but it was the holidays and it was the chaos that the holidays naturally bring. I guess for the most part it just can't be changed and to some degree it just has to be embraced.. But I have to admit that having a proper routine now really helps. I now work intensely Tue/Thu/Fri and prioritise doing things, playing and spending quality time with Sylvie on Mondays and Wednesdays. (I even went to a nursery rhyme sing-a-long group the other day, but we don't need to talk to much about that...)
We have split the pick ups/drop offs for both the girls exactly down the middle. David and I both have the same opportunities to get to the gym and enough evenings where we can see friends and have some time off too. It sounds dramatic to say it but it really is sanity saving. We are still very much feeling the effects of the holidays - my workload is just as big but now I'm more desk-based - but letting go and resisting being proud and "I can do it all myself" has made the biggest difference to the balance at this end.
I didn't really get much maternity leave (I may write about this soon), but now I'm also making a conscious effort to take quality time for myself (I may write about this too). Sometimes it just takes a little stepping back to reassess the balance of everything going on.
It's not cool to admit it, and years ago I never thought I'd be one to live with such structure, but routine is 100%, definitely, where it's at.