It’s All Change On The Western Front

It’s been a weird 6 months, I appear to have been in mega ‘declutter your life’ mode.  You would have thought that giving birth to little dimples, and curly headed boy going to primary school would have been enough really, plus getting really sick.  But I appear to have been on a mission.

Maybe it’s because now I have two kids, there really isn’t any space for anything that is irrelevant or takes up time/space I can’t afford?  Did anyone else find a similar thing happened to them after having a second child?

I’m also much more aware of my age (41), and am having no problem in remembering to eat healthily or take vitamins and minerals that I probably wouldn’t have been reliable about beforehand.  I realised that if I’m to see my grandchildren, then some serious work needs to be done to get it into working order.  Perhaps it’s a big reality check that happens in your forties?

Or is it because it’s my ‘saturn return’ in astrological terms or ‘mid-life crisis’ in psychobabble terms?  My lovely astrologer (seriously, if you ever wanted to try it, he’s a lovely guy, brilliant value, very good at it and it doesn’t matter where you live) did say that it was hitting me this year.

I’ve found a wonderful woman locally who will take all the stuff  you just haven’t managed to get round to selling on ebay and do it for you (if you near St Albans and want her name, feel free to leave a comment below).  Although she takes a fee, I reckon that she makes more on the sale anyway, so it’s well worth it.  She took a car load, plus sold a bike and a dog kennel that got picked up from our home.  Then even better was the discovery of freegle (used to be called freecyle), which is a yahoo group where you can offer ANYTHING for free and within 24hrs it’s gone; FANTASTIC!

We had a flood from the shower, so downstairs is going to be refloored (we have holes in the floor from the dog scratching) and the walls painted in industrial child proof stuff!  So the house is getting a make over too.

I even in a fit of madness went from this, to this (plus yesterday I had all the grey dyed out!):

Meanwhile big northern hairy hubby is also at it, with a sudden fitness regime and a success at losing weight that he hasn’t had in 10yrs.  I think that we would both admit that our relationship needs a bit of polishing after all these years (21, how scary!), so there is change afoot there too.

The biggest change came as I decided what to do about my work.  I found it increasingly hard to work out how things would work with the second baby.  Now that I’m just focussing on Mums and am just overseeing my more general therapy business, it was easier, but also I realised that coordinating our schedules was almost impossible.  Plus for Mums I really needed to be able to provide incredible value for service for a really affordable price, but without making it pointless me working.  I was seriously considering just giving up work.  After all, I could be a stay at home mum (SAHM), and in the time I would normally work, I could get fit, look fab, and then when the kids leave school I’ll be about 60, so pretty much ready to retire.  There would be a hell of a lot less juggling to do.  But there would of course be the downside that I lose my sparkle when I don’t work at all, so I might look better, but I wouldn’t be much fun.

By the way, you might not know what I actually do?  I’ve updated by about page and background, just incase you are interested as to where I came from, and what my qualifications are.  But basically, I’m not a parenting coach.  I call myself a ‘mummy whisperer’, because I’m just here to help the mum to be clear on who they are, become more contented, get more sparkle in their lives, and create a strong family with less conflict and stress.  (There’s lots more information on this blog about the ‘fun creation equation‘ and my services, plus on my main site).

Then out of the blue I found my solution!  It’s so exciting, I’ve kept quiet about it all summer, because I wanted to show you what it would look like before I mentioned it.  I’ve found a way, that I can provide help for Mums ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME of the day, 24×7, ANY DAY of the week, for ANY LENGTH of time.  Plus the amount of stuff I’ve put in the package is well worth about £7000, but I can sell it from £379, with the option to pay by paypal/credit card over 3 months, so it is really affordable.  Plus, it will be there for the Mums FOREVER, to reuse over and over again, for that one price.  Plus, for anyone who can’t afford it initially, I’ve got a FREE INTRODUCTION, and will be adding a £27 product to help people sort out their finances.  It’s way better than just 1to1’s because all the information is there to be referred back to at any time, and better than workshops, because no one can slip through the cracks and pretend that they understand. (Please forgive me for the shouting in capitals, but I’ve been keeping quiet about this all summer, so I’m kind of over-excited!!).

‘So what on earth is it?’, I hear you ask (hopefully?!).  It’s using a product called **jigsawbox, funnily enough created by another Mum who must have been in the same situation as me.  It means that I can put my workbooks or workshops online into packages.  When you login, there will be different modules, inside of which will be videos, audios, and text explaining that particular subject.  Then to help you learn it properly there are exercises for you to fill out.  But the best bit is, when you press [send to coach], I can then add my own feedback, so we can interact online.  There will also be the option for free webinars, or to add 15min skype chats or longer 1to1 sessions for some Mums who need more assistance (for example, if there are relationship issues, PND, or past abusive relationships).

Now I haven’t done a video to show you properly yet, but I will do, so keep a look out for it.  But in the meantime, you can get a free introduction to this fab system, plus start to have a look at your own identity and how your family is working at the moment, by signing up for free email list (see RHS).  I’d love to know what you think, so please do leave comments below.

So how come has all this come about?  Well, it might sound a bit tree hugging, but I’m sure there is a vibe of change in the air.  I was too late to get involved in *** Josie’s (a well known mummy bloggerwriting workshop about change last week, but there seems to be a lot of it about.  It’s the jewish new year, and schools always start at this time of the year, so maybe we are all programmed to be thinking about it around now.  There are days when it feels exciting, and others when it feels very scary, and almost like I’m grieving for something being over.  I cried buckets on the last night of big brother, and when curly headed boy started school, but in a way they were just opportunities for a few tears to do with something deeper.  As my mentor says ‘the greatest transformation happens at the border of order and chaos’, i.e. nothing gets changed without some discomfort!  So onwards and upwards, one step at a time, is my motto at the moment.

Is life changing for you too, or is it just those of us in the mid-life crisis?

** I am now an affiliate of jigsawbox as well; of course, because I think it is fab, I want to share it with other coaches/therapist/trainers out there.  If you decide you like it after hearing from me, feel free to email me for more info, and I’d really appreciate you using my affiliate link.  I haven’t found anything else that even matches it a little, it has been going for over a year, so the kinks have been sorted out, and there is tonnes of support.

*** Josie is one of the 3 mummy bloggers who recently went to bangladesh with Save the Children, and have started a Press for Change campaign to push Nick Clegg to commit to making the huge rates of child mortality in third world countries a thing of the past.

Advertisements

School: The Problem Is They Can’t Do Everything

I’ve unravelled some of my discomfort last week with curly headed boy starting school, so I feel much clearer this morning.  Apart from the obvious Rite of Passage, it’s because there has to be a compromise and there is no such thing as a perfect school.  Please Note, I’m a very fond mummy, but I’m not clingy, so don’t assume that was my problem, I’m a bit sleep deprived and might get grumpy if that steriotype is put at my door ;o)

What can a school give your child: learning, academic results, confidence, sport, individuality, life lessons, art, creativity, experiences, friends, discipline, so many things.  But none of them give it all, that’s the problem.

Let’s look at our decision process when it came to picking schools.

State Schools: The UK has a good state primary system and I had always said I would NEVER pay for a young child to go to school.  But when I heard myself say that, I did get a little uncomfortable, because ‘never say never’, and sure enough it didn’t work out.  We moved into a lovely new estate when I was pregnant, with dodgy local school, but lots of fab schools around us.  So the plan was to send him to one of several.  However, a few years and a big baby boom later, and the only option was the local school (sadly I’m not catholic, otherwise there are lots of catholic schools around).  Now, I’m not suggesting that this school would have ruined his life forever, and he would certainly have experienced a different kind of reality.  But kids do need to feel like they fit in, and I winced when seeing 5yr olds swearing leaving the schools, with Mums smoking and swearing back.

Tree Hugging: My next plan was to go for a Steiner School, which I had again always assumed would be a good choice for me.  I happened to be offered a table at their fair, and was incredibly impressed with the confidence and individuality of the young teenagers as they strolled around the corridors busking and looking much cooler than the standard wannabe fashion follower.  But as I learnt more about it, I realised that it just wouldn’t work for curly headed boy’s values.  He wanted to learn, learn and learn some more.  So waiting until 7yrs to read and write wouldn’t have worked for him.  Plus it was a risky choice as we have often moved due to job changes, and he might then end up in a place without a Steiner school and have a huge amount of catch up to do.  He wasn’t the type to want to spend an extra year at school either, although I see that it makes a great deal of sense.  Plus I was a little uncomfortable with the deeper beliefs in the school system and knew that with the training I had over the past 10yrs, I would have been in major disagreement with some of their most deeply held philosophies.

Private Sector: Inevitably we moved onto the private sector, but it was a bit late in the day, I was naive, and had no idea of the amount of competition involved.  I thought that if you had a relatively bright kid, you applied to one school, and that was that.  I soon realised this was not the case and had to apply to 4 in total.  (I do understand that I am lucky to have this option, but it’s neither an easy option to decide to spend that kind of money every year on schools).

Option 1: Had the most holistic feel of them all, but this year a big sibling intake, a new headmistress starting and unfortunately I had inadvertently moved to a nursery the rumour is that they didn’t like.  Their assessment day was weird; a long line of teachers march in, randomly pick a child, and walk off with them.  I suspect that curly headed boy took a dislike to the teacher, so despite a very successful open day and private walk around with the head we didn’t get offered a space (the teacher wouldn’t explain why she needed to keep the 2 photos of him that she had, and that she’d been given them by me anyway, so he could just ask me).

Option 2: Had a lovely concept of EVERY child learning to do EVERYTHING, but the downside to that was saturday school.  I had a strong feeling that we wouldn’t fit in there with the other kids, which is very important to Curly headed boy.

Option 3: Seemed to really concentrate on creating programs that would encourage and bring out the best in your child, whatever that was.  The problem was they only had 4 spaces as they only had 1 class, already full from the nursery.  Plus, there would have been no one there that Max knew, which would have been very against his values.

Option 4: A very traditional school.  People pick it because they can rely on the results that it gives, and thinking about it this week I can see that this gives a huge amount of security as it’s not necessarily the private education that counts in our competitive job market, but the academics you get.  A large number of Curly Headed Boy’s friends are going here, and it is massively comforting for him to meet them in the play ground (there are 3 classes here).  Plus, there is a great mixture of backgrounds, which he likes.  His old nursery had all your ‘standard’ backgrounds of white, asian and black, but also russian, french, jewish, oriental; and he loved meeting lots of different types of friends.  But as you see from last week, there is very little ‘touchy feely’ stuff and so I’ve been uncomfortable about the lack of information provided and the lack of forethought in helping the kids to fit in.  Some people would probably consider me as a bit ‘bloody minded’ as I don’t tend to just do something, just because I’ve been told to or am expected to!

As it was, it was Option 1, 2 and 3 put curly headed boy on their ‘reserve list’, and Option 4 offered him a place.  I could probably have pushed 1/2/3, but decided that I would go with 4 as they wanted him from the get go, so I trusted that they knew he would fit in best there.

So there are the options we faced:

  • State sector, which would have saved us lots of money and given him a good ‘normal’ academic start, that we could easily have afforded to add to if he wanted to learn something extra on the side.  But the problem of the baby boom, leaving us with a less attractive school.
  • Steiner system, full of individuality and community spirit.  But also with it’s problems.
  • Private Option: where the education is more focussed on academics.  When watching a TV program yesterday called ‘My family’s crazy gap year’, I realised my big concern was about ‘life experiences’ and a more holistic view of life being missing.  Both of which are very important to me.

I firmly believe that there are no mistakes and that there are as many pros as cons to all options.  Today I realised how come I have picked the ‘right’ option for curly headed boy.  The option I have picked works for his high value on learning and friends.  Meanwhile, everything that I am concerned is ‘missing’, I (and big hairy northern hubby) have all the skills to fill in.  I love doing creative stuff, know how to support/encourage him when he is unconfident, can add some extra sports classes at my gym and he can do lots of sport with hubby.  Meanwhile, having had a chat with hubby yesterday, we can fill in the ‘life experiences’ with holidays that ensure he and little dimples gets a broad education.

So phew: that’s one thing sorted off my brain anyway!  It does feel very uncomfortable when in a situation that feels very opposite to your own values.  It’s about working out why it is, and then looking for the balance.  Mind you, I will keep my eyes open to options as he gets older, and not count out a ‘crazy gap year’ of our own oneday ;o)

Handing Your Child Over To Strangers

It’s against everything we’ve ever been told not to do, and everything that a Mother feels is right.  But there we all are, handing our children over to someone we’ve hardly met.

The only reason I have met Curly Headed Boy’s new primary school teacher is because her son was at his nursery in a younger class, but it’s only been a fleeting ‘hello’.  We have no idea what they do all day, apart from the fact that we have provided them with a packed lunch and snack (no hot dinners available, because the council won’t let them build a dining room, arrrgh!).  So far, there is no class list and no time table.  There was a letter inviting us to a 30min meeting next week, where I assume that some of this will be dealt with, and an evening get-together the week after (very difficult to go to when you have a young baby).  So we are meant to be patient parents and wait.  I suspect that if we ask beforehand, we will be considered ‘one of those parents’, and labelled as difficult.

But seriously, where is the respect?  For us as parents, handing over our kids, and for our kids?  Yesterday, in the distance I saw the last child literally being picked up screaming and kicking by a teacher and dragged into class.  I so felt for his Mum, it made me want to cry, god knows what she felt like.  Surely it doesn’t have to be like that with a little more forethought?  No one likes walking into a situation where they don’t know what the hell is going on.  I have no idea whether curly headed boy will end up academically bright, but I am a bit freaky in that I talk to him like a normal human being, so he is used to being told what’s going on and being treated like someone with some rights (not too many of course!!).

Now I see why I was so upset the other day, this school is not matching my values at the moment.  However, then realism sets in.  The whole process of finding a school last year was a nightmare, and in the end he might not have ended up at the one I would have picked that was less traditional, he is very happy to be walking in with so many friends.  Thank god for that, as curly headed boy has 3 mates in his class and I reckon another 10 in the other 2 classes.  Friends are extremely high on his priorities, so this is definitely better than one of the private options I looked at, and both potential state options (our state schools locally are bad, so as we had a choice, we chose not to go for them).

So, I’ll suck it up, wait patiently until next week, and then if by then I don’t have more information I’ll kick off.  But at some point, I think it is only fair to mention that if other schools managed to send out class lists in the summer holidays so that kids could meet, and they are already getting ‘parent mail’ by text/email, then clearly this school is not showing that it values keeping us in the loop or reducing the anxiety of the kids.  They need to be aware of the fact that they compete heavily with a local boys school that doesn’t take kids until next year.  I have NEVER considered it as an option before, but today I’m wondering whether it might not hurt to go and have a look.  In this time of recession it is wise for all of us to remember to consider how our clients/customers feel and reconsider a position of arrogance/strength that could easily disappear.  More updates next week, arggh!

Seriously, Why Am I Crying, He’s Just Starting School?!!!

  • I cried the last morning morning I dropped curly headed boy at nursery 8 weeks ago.
  • I cried when I picked him up.
  • I cried when I bought his school uniform 3 weeks ago.
  • I cried when I cuddled him last night.
  • And I cried when I dropped him off this morning at primary school.

Seriously, what a sap!  Luckily he didn’t notice apart from last night when he said ‘but mummy, there are actually tears in your eyes’, said in his best scientific experimenting voice.  Then he started wondering whether aliens had put them there and off he went on one of his little chats with me before bed time.  As you can see from his picture above, he was fine this morning, if a little serious at times.

You know how you walk out of the house and know you’ve forgotten something, but can’t remember what?  That’s how I feel.  Some of the Mums today were looking sad.  I didn’t see any other tears, but then we were going at different times.  Some Mums where old hats at it, as they already have several kids at school.  A few looked like they were skipping down the path on their way back from the class room!

So I drove home thinking, what on earth it was that makes my heart feel like it’s breaking.  The good news is how fast the last 5yrs has gone.  A very wise man once told me that the faster time feels, the more you must be doing what you love, and I really do love being a Mum.  But the problem is that means that the next 5yrs will go fast, and the next, and the next, and he’ll be off away, followed nearly 5yrs later by Little Dimples.  I can’t grab the time, I can’t hold it.  When I got sick a few months back I realised that one day I would have to leave my kiddies behind, and it was a horrible feeling.

But how lucky am I.  Despite not sleeping through the night for the past 5yrs (Little dimples took over where curly headed boy left off on the sleep stakes), a stone in weight I’d rather be without, lots of new grey hairs, struggling to juggle working and being a Mummy, I know I am just the luckiest ever.  This life works for me, it suits me.  It was blinking hard to come by and a bit of a surprise having been told so young that I’d never have kids.  All my troubles (people don’t go into my line of business without some ‘life experiences’ to encourage them) paid off with a great big pay off.  So, I’m lucky that I’ll be looking forward to picking him up from school.  Some Mums are not so lucky.  The pressures of what the world says they should be like get the better of them, and can create such a problem for their own identity that all the sparkle and love in the world literally gets sucked out.  So these are ‘lucky tears’ really.  OK, now I’m crying because I feel grateful that I was crying, seriously!

This afternoon, Curly Headed boy will be pleased to see me, and hug me just that little bit more tightly.  A bit of distance can bring you together sometimes.  I’ll remember that each time I drop him off and savour the chats in the car on the way to school, and the ability to listen to music on the way home all on my own for 15 minutes (little dimples still screams in the car, so she stays at home; post to come about that!).  Even when he’s big, there will still be a little bit of him that is the baby, toddler or pre-schooler that I’m so desperate to hold onto today.  I know this, because there are days that I would dearly love to have a parent to cuddle me.

Meanwhile, I reckon I’ve found a way to juggle work and mummydom much more easily;  Oooohhh I have so much to tell you from the summer holidays, I’ve got lots of exciting news!  So it’s time for me to wipe my eyes and catch up on emails and plans for the next two weeks.  (Can you imagine what I’m going to be like when Little Dimples starts primary school in 4yrs time, I’ll need a whole box of tissues, not just one!).

Choosing Schools, School Assessments and Potential Rejections

So this is a blog very close to my heart at the moment, having just been through an incredibly stressful 2 weeks, with a few more to go!  So I can vouch for the exercises I am going to take you through, as I totally had to use them myself to clear the ‘brain noise’ out ;o)

First some background information.  Our original plan was to go for a state primary where we live, however, a baby boom means that we will not be able to get into any of our preferred schools, and the only option is not an option, if you know what I mean.  So the first thing we had to get our heads around was paying for school for a 4yr old.  Ironically, having paid for nursery over the past couple of years, so that I could work, it’s pretty much the same fees, so financially it isn’t such a stretch, until you look at their whole school life – ouch!  Plus of course there is another baby on the way, which at most will get us a 10% discount, heh ho!

Now around us, the good news is, that there are tonnes of private schools.  However, mistake number one on my part was to not understand the ‘game’ that is played between them all and the parents, plus to get pregnant and potentially have a baby arriving in Feb at one of the most crucial ‘game playing’ times!  So I had a look at all the schools, ruled out some immediately, then visited a few, and ended with a short list of ONE.  I assumed everyone picked their favourite school, and that on the assessment the school would see what all his nursery teachers have seen, and obviously want him – MISTAKE NUMBER ONE, oops ;o)  What actually happens, is Mums apply to loads of places, then get offered and keep the place, just incase they don’t get their preferred option a few months later (all the schools offer over a period of 6 months).  Plus, some apply to nursery, change their mind and then ‘defer’ the place until reception year.  So they have automatically got themselves a place, without any of this scary assessment stuff!

So if you are looking at choosing a school for your child, or are in the middle of assessments, then this blog is for you, with lots of hints and tips about how to deal with it.  For all of these, you could do with a notebook or a spreadsheet; there is a magic in writing stuff down, which gets it out of your head and into a manageable format.  So right from the start, get organised (even if you aren’t generally an organised type about these sorts of things!).

Step 1 – What would you ideally like?

So what are your key and secondary wishes for a school?  This is down to your values, and you aren’t ‘wrong’ in any of your choices, it’s just important to know.  Some Mums around me are most keen on the academics, others sport.  I’m looking for my son to love it, get the option to try lots of things, have lunch (some are packed), and swim from early on.  Academics are important, but not above ’roundedness’, because he is a fan of sport AND art AND reading.  Keep track of this list and compare to your assumptions below.  Plus, remember what your child would like.  My son is very sociable, loves telling stories, needs a lot of space around him and likes to go outside every day, so this is important for me to factor into the decision.

Step 2 – Keep a List of Your Assumptions

As you investigate your options, make sure that you list your assumptions.  You may have to come back and adjust some of these later!  Mine were mainly, that I would prefer Co-ed, that Steiner education was too risky as we might move before my son was taught to read at 7.  But sneaking in there were a lot of assumptions about the scary nature of the Mums at some of the schools!  Now this is where there was an important clash with my Sons values, as I had ruled out several schools, that in the recent months we have met the potential children for, and he adores them.  My current situation is going back through all of my assumptions and deciding which ones are ‘real reasons’ for ignoring a school.  I was just trying to simplify the decision, but now I’m going to broaden my horizons.

Step 3 – Pros and Cons List

For each school start writing the Pro’s and Con’s for each.  Now there is an important DIFFERENCE to how you have done this before.  This time, you are aiming to get as many Pro’s as Con’s for each school.  If you have more of either, then you do not have a balanced viewpoint of the school and something is going to catch you by surprise.  Plus you are looking for the same total number for each school.  If one has less, then there are lots of things that you don’t know about them.

I absolutely promise you that there ARE as many Pro’s as there are Con’s for each school.  By doing this, you will see each school clearly.  If your decision is still hazy, then you haven’t found all the pro’s and con’s yet.

The mistake I made, was not to continue with the list as I got more information – so look on it as an ongoing project.  Where you have unequal lists, move onto the next step.

Step 4 – Unknowns List

As you make assumptions and list pro’s and con’s, you will realise that there are things that you don’t know about each school.  Keep a list of these, and then you can start to fill in the blanks.

Step 5 – What to do in the case of rejections

So I have been refused jobs and all sorts of opportunities and generally been quite pragmatic about it.  But it is a totally different even when your son gets refused!  One Mum is terribly upset that her daughter was rejected from a school, even though she wouldn’t have picked that school!  The other Mum, still has assessments to go, but is panicing, because the first school have only offered a waiting list.  I’m ‘lucky’ in that my son has been offered a ‘waiting list’ (long) for one school and reserve list (short, but they over offer) for another.   However, I may not get the results until Feb, which is when babyno2 is due, so there is a big handful of hormonal worry going on ;o)

So if you are upset over the rejection, here are some ideas for tackling it, because the upset and brain noise associated with it, will drain you and get in the way of you making a plan as to what to do from now on.  I’m going to list some potential reasons why you might be upset and how to tackle it.  Even if you have a different situation, you will probably be able to get a clue from these examples, if not, feel free to contact me.

a) You are upset over the ‘rejection’.

This is a sign that you are really sensitive about the times that you have ‘rejected’ your child.  Now we ALL ‘reject’ them at some point, but you are feeling really guilty about it.  When I say ‘reject’, I mean things like when disciplining them, you stick to your guns, even though they are upset.  Or when you have to leave them for nursery or to so something important and have to ignore their cries.  Or when you are over tired and just can’t face any more.  There are loads of different times that we might have done it.

If this is how you feel, then there are 2 things that I would like you to look at.

How the ‘rejection’ from the school helps, benefits or works for your child?  For example, are there other children you are not keen on going there?  Is it very strict?  Is it a long way away?  Is there something missing from it?  What’s important to them, that the school doesn’t have?  What’s important to your family that the school doesn’t have?

How has it helped your child when you have so say ‘rejected’ them.  Ok, so they were upset at the time.  But, did they gain independence, learn that you would come back, or broaden their horizons about who they could turn to?  Why is that important in the long run for them?  What would happen if you didn’t do it?  Might they end up spoilt, clingy, or lacking in confidence?

b) You are upset because it didn’t work out straight away, even though you know there will probably be somewhere for them.

My ‘brain noise’ was.  ‘It would just be so much easier if rather than being put on a waiting list, he had been given a space immediately’.  So I had to keep thinking, ‘Why is it for the best that he didn’t get a place straight away’.  It took me some time.  Hubby mentioned that it had got him more involved in the whole decision, which started me off, and then I got a key insight.  I realised that it gave me more time to rethink my own decision, and to investigate a couple of options that I hadn’t looked at beforehand.  Otherwise I would have to hand over £500-£1000 to keep a spot, and then find out later that there was an option that would work better for Max.

c) You are worried that there will be no-where for your child.

So you need to double check this assumption.  Has anyone ever not got into a school?  Nope, even in my case, I could still send my son to the state school.  For me, this would mean taking more responsibility for teaching him, doing sport and consistently reminding him that swearing and inappropriate behaviour will not be allowed.  For you, it might mean a longer journey.  But there is an option, and you might then get a chance to get into the school of your choice later.  It’s not over until it’s over!  Go back over your assumptions, have you ignored a location or type of school?  If this happened, it would be time for me to look up the M25 potentially, or into town.  All the private schools near me, will have spaces in Feb, because the most academic school doesn’t offer until then.  Then there will be spaces in April, when some will give up their places because they did get the state school of their choice.

Write down whats the worst thing that could happen?  Face the fear, rather than keep letting it rattle around in your head.  At the very worst I could home educate, move, go to church or change religion (we have a lot of religious state schools in out area).  Even when you think there are no more options, I bet there are some.

By the way, if your child has some very specific problems which might get in the way, like aspergers, or a physical challenge, then you might need a great deal more assistance than just this blog.  But it will hopefully start you off.  It’s key to talk to people who have been in the same situation as you, and find out how they tackled it – so get on that internet and find the support groups with the info!  Feel free to get in touch.

Step 6 – Still Overwhelmed?

If you still feel terribly upset about the whole process, then you are probably over-tired and need a bit of time-out.  Get a friend round for a cuppa or a glass of wine, and ask them to help you brainstorm for some outside ideas.  Focus on some sleep (epsom salts in the bath helps), healthy food, fresh air and taking care of yourself.  Decide that you are going to put this ‘school issue’ into a box for a week, and literally not open the lid.  Each time it crops up, put it back in the box.  You need a rest, and after a good rest, things will not seem so bad and you will be able to cope better.

Let me know if this post has been helpful at all, and how you have experienced this whole school assessment process.