Kidmin is the slightly nauseating portmanteau term I use to describe the myriad faffy little jobs that need to be done when your kids attend school, as in "Darling husband, please can you piss off and stop talking to me, it's the Easter holidays soon and I'm sorting out the kidmin." It's managing the childcare, playdates, event days in school, extra curricular activities, birthday parties plus presents and ensuring they don't spend their free weekends just drooling over an iPad.
The unholy triumvirate of Book Week, Sports Relief and Easter has lead to a spectacular increase in the amount of shit that has to be made, bought, brought in, swapped, donated and generally shipped from one place to another (including the kids themselves). Allow me to break down the upcoming tasks into their component parts:
Bring in a photo of your house:
Take a photo of our house, remember home printer is broken, swear a lot, mean to ask husband to print it off at work, forget to do this and run out of time, so I post this random photo to Facebook so I can print it out at Sainsbury's and send it in.
School swimming lesson:
There are 2 of these in the whole year, so it's not exactly part of the routine: First I have to remember big kid has a swimming lesson this week and ensure that his kit is washed and dried and his swimming cap has been sprinkled with cornflour so he can get it on. (Top tip for you there) We can't find his goggles, so I swear a lot. I also have to spend 2 days reminding big kid he needs to take his inhaler before and after swimming so he doesn't look like a member of the cast of the Walking Dead by 3:30.
[Addendum: I was out that evening and I forgot to ensure that dearest husband knew it had been a swimming day, so the kid didn't have a bath and was probably the one who smelled like a chemical toilet in class the next day.]
No school uniform + bring in an easter egg:
I have to buy the egg, preferably without children in tow - just looking at the easter egg aisle could trigger type 2 diabetes in my kids. On the day I will totally forget and start walking to school as normal, get half way there and look at other children, swear a lot, leg it home, ignoring the plaintive cries of small child who doesn't understand what's going on, big kid puts on a spectacularly random set of clothes but it's too late to care so we grab the egg and get to school as the bell rings. Phew.
Bring your favourite toy to nursery:
Loooong discussion with small child about which is her favourite toy. She rightly insists her favourite toys are the bunnies she has slept with every night since she was 2 months old. I try to persuade her that Giraffey the giraffe (never let small children name their own toys) might be her favourite. She lives me that look and and I concede the point. I swear a lot and take a few sneaky puffs on the big kid's ventolin to manage the hyperventilating brought on by the panic at the thought of breaking/losing the bunnies.
Come to School in Sports Kits
We are not a sporty family; small child will be squeezed into an undersized Brazil kit left over from the World Cup and I will swear a lot as I sew up the hole in the knees of big child's tracksuit*. We also have to get someone to sponsor said children for wearing sports kit - we live in a village, most of the population have been tapped for donations already, so imaginary grandparents will be donating again.
Decorate a trainer:
This one is pretty straightforward. I just have to harangue big kid into sitting at the table and completing what, to him, seems to be an arbitrary additional item of homework. It is not obligatory, but I know from bitter experience that if we do not do this then there will be tears because it turns out 'all my friends have done it.'. So, having managed to persuade the big kid into expressing himself creatively on a line drawing of a shoe, it a simple matter of clearing up the glitter - ugh - paint and glue. Double ugh.
Bake some cakes:
I seem to always be baking fucking cakes.
This week Beavers gets a special mention and a gold star, as big kid's homework is to do 2 chores a day around the house. I love you Beavers!
We also have a couple of playdates and some birthday admin to deal with but as these are real people who are lovely and kind enough to socialise with us I'm not complaining about them, but it is still all stuff that needs to get done.
In my more bitter moments, I have thought 'fuck it I'll donate a whopping lump sum to the school and never have to deal with this shit again.' But that's not the point is it? I loved this kind of stuff when I was a kid; wearing your own clothes, participating in events for charity, whole school activities, I genuinely enjoyed all of these things. Of course, when I was a kid I was blissfully unaware of the amount of work went in to organising it all but I must grudgingly admit that, as an adult, I do think it is all worth it. It gives the kids a sense of their community, they can participate in activities that will benefit other people, it teaches them that, in giving a little, you can get a lot back. It fosters links between home and school and helps to create holistic learning. I feel more connected with my kids and what they do when I'm not there. It's just when they all come together like this its just a bit overwhelming.
In our day to day life I am the one who does all of this, I am 'the primary carer'. It is deeply draining. My brain is constantly ticking away, trying to slot in the next event and what needs to be done and when can I do it. If I am not doing kidmin, I am thinking about kidmin. I am pragmatic, I know that it is not the end of the world if we mess-up and forget one of these things, and it has happened in the past, more than once. But I don't want to forget, I want my kids to have the opportunity to enjoy these things... it's just so fucking relentless. It leaves me with no energy for the more fun things in life like sex, reading and board games.
Honestly secondary carers, if you want to get laid more take it upon yourselves to organise at least one extra curricular activity a week or, if work doesn't permit that, plan a weekend trip out for the kids at least once a month. 'Organising' doesn't just mean suggesting something - it means contacting the organisers, booking the tickets, doing pick up and drop off, scheduling the meals around the activities, maybe even buying and making those meals yourself. Take over organising one of the school event's days, make the costumes, buy the props, whatever; just read the school newsletter, pick an activity and get it done. If you do all of this once or twice a month your partner may actually some energy reserves that might get used in the bedroom (or wherever you get your rocks off). Share the load - get laid.**
Thanks to this blog things have changed a bit: In the evenings it used to be; wine open, TV on and vegetate until bedtime. I'm glad I've managed to change a small part of that at least. Now it seems to be; cherry cordial poured, laptop open and tappy tappy tappy until bedtime, but giving up wine in the week has created space for other activities, sometimes, as well. It's definitely better and I do still enjoy wine occasionally. I have learned that wine drunk to anaesthetise me and stop the niggling, nagging voice in my head does not taste half as good as wine drunk in joy. I know a glass of champagne in the bedroom is worth ten bottles of red in front of the telly.
*I swear big child must have a penchant for eating the knees out of his trousers, it's the only explanation
** This is not a contract, primary carers still have the right to deny consent