Back To School - That was quite possibly the worst first week! - Amanda White Digital
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Back To School

Back To School – That was quite possibly the worst first week!

Monday the 4th of September. For many children it was the week of going back to school, the week the parents finally get their freedom back after the long, and let’s be honest, pretty terrible summer this year.

This week was also going to be the week that my son went to school for the very first time. But for now, Monday the 4th is an inset day. Usually, my son goes to Nursery on Mondays but as he has officially finished there and hasn’t yet started school, I’m juggling work and childcare like most working parents. Being the first Monday of the month, it is quite possibly the busiest time for me as I reflect on monthly statistics, start having monthly calls with clients and hit the ground running with a brand new week of work.

I managed to blag half a day’s childcare from my sister who had moved down to Cornwall from Essex just 6 days previously! Yes! I put my clients first and sent my son off to my sister with her two children to help unpack boxes whilst I worked. The mum guilt was already high, but I had promised to meet everyone at lunch on the beach which slightly softened the guilt held for my sister, my son and my clients.


The Beach! Monday was after all not only the first day of the school term but also the first day of summer. Meteorologically it was officially Autumn but my temperature gauge was telling me it was 28’C and that summer had finally arrived, off to the beach I went.

The kids were having a brilliant time, building sandcastles, learning to bodyboard, wave jumping and lounging in cool rock pools. After making the absolute most of the afternoon, we headed home for early baths for our first day of school in the morning. I’m pretty certain that I’m more emotional about his upcoming first day at school than the 4-and-a-half-year-old.

on arriving home my son wanted to watch steam trains on YouTube. Yes, he loves trains and can watch hours of footage of steam trains. The highlight of his summer was seeing the flying Scotsman pass through Cornwall. I digress., I pop on the TV to entertain him whilst I start cooking and YouTube isn’t working. I look over to the BT box and it’s Orange. I’m not too worried, switch it off and on again and I’m sure it will be fine. It was not fine. By this time my son is asking for Iplayer or Netflix and I start the conversation about terrestrial TV which he never really watches. We contacted BT and were told we would be reconnected by 9 p.m. Not ideal, as I had planned to catch up on work in the evening once he was in bed. At this stage, an impromptu afternoon on the beach in the sun and a digital detox wasn’t the end of the world.


We woke early ready to prep my son in his freshly purchased crisp school uniform and send him off for his first day. at school But at 7 a.m., we still have no internet. I phone my sister to see if she has internet and I can use her house and she explains her daughter has been up sick all night and probably best to avoid. Thankfully I was able to use the BRILLIANT Wadebridge Foodbank as they have hotdesk spaces upstairs. So I confidently and proudly dropped my son off for his first day at school and then headed into town to remote work. Parents were at the school gates cheering and throwing their hands in the air that they had made it through the school holidays. I wasn’t feeling their elation and was more emotional seeing my little guy loaded up with a bookbag, PE kit and backpack looking so tiny breeze into the classroom barely looking back. By the time I got sorted and set up, to work remotely I had missed a chunk of the morning. Having already missed half a day yesterday I was keen to get cracking. Only a few hours into my working day I experienced the joy of multiple Tapestry notifications of all important snack details and trivial school shenanigans, multiple emails regarding after-school football and thankfully the fact the school wasn’t built with crumbling concrete. Oh, and I forgot to mention the WhatsApp mums group that is gently pinging away. Then my phone starts ringing and it’s the school. My son has had an upset stomach and an accident and needs picking up. He also now needs to wait 48 hours before being allowed back into school. Only managing 4 hours of his first day at school has got to be a record.

Hot Desking at Wadebridge Foodbank

He seems fine, a little under the weather maybe but had bounced back in no time. I felt so sorry for him, I worry that missing the first few days is so important. Will he make friends? Will he not pick up routines? Will he be bullied for being poorly? I just wanted his first day to be perfect. Instead, I’m worrying about him, trying to find childcare and juggle work with still no internet!


Another day without Internet and this time I’ve got my son in tow. He’s not been poorly since and seems full of beans. I manage to juggle a few hours with him being looked after by a combination of friends and family and the use. of my mobile phone and Cbeebies to get through a few meetings. It’s far from ideal but he seems absolutely fine now and playing in the office doing rolly pollies! We finish early afternoon and watch terrestrial TV once more. Not having trains on demand is not actually so bad after all. It’s been such. a draining day. I feel guilty that I can’t just take the time off work and look after my son when he needs me. I feel guilty that I’m letting clients down when I’ve said I would have certain things done for them for this week. I feel guilty asking others to give up their time to help me, my business and my son.


I feel like today is the first day of lockdown being lifted. The internet is back!!! So far, this week hasn’t gone to plan. I manage to strike. a deal and split childcare with my husband. I had set the alarm for 5 a.m. and worked the morning. He then headed to work late morning and stayed late so that he could get a full day. With the internet back at home, at least I can work the evenings now, that’s if I can stay awake late enough with the early morning start. I’m not going to lie, this week has been a struggle. Running a business is hard. Being a parent is hard. I’m sure your first day at school is hard. But today is the eighth year anniversary of my dad’s passing. It’s never an easy day, filled with sadness but trying to smile and celebrate that although it’s the anniversary of my dad, it’s also my brother’s birthday. Never an easy day.

Thursday nights I’m used to being home alone whilst the husband goes to the gym, but tonight home alone feels longer as my husband is away until Sunday night on a mountain biking break. I don’t envy him at all going cycling in this heat but it’s been a very hectic, emotional week and although raising a glass to my old man seems like the right thing to do, drinking a cold glass of white wine alone is not really that appealing. The one day I could really do with a hug, my husband left for work in a whirlwind so I’ll need to wait until Sunday for that one.



I didn’t actually work Fridays up until this week. I used to work Monday to Thursday and have mummy-son time on Friday. We’ve had some really lovely days out over the summer. A few beach visits, Cardinham Woods, Lappa Valley, the usual Cornwall treats plus the standard weekly visits to the supermarket of which he loves! What kid isn’t obsessed with the supermarket? But Friday was going to be my first Friday working. I’m not going. to lie, I did contemplate keeping maybe the first Friday off and taking some me time. With the weather, perhaps a surf, a swim, a SUP. The whole reason for going self-employed and running my own business is so that I am not held to a schedule and can be flexible and finish early to go in the sea once in a while. But my clients are just as much a priority, so I set the alarm early once again to sneak a few hours clearing the inbox before my son woke up. I know this is only temporary since my husband is away, but I have a whole heap of respect for single-parent entrepreneurs. It’s hard being a parent, it’s hard running a business but doing it with support from my husband makes it so much easier.

Like many, I’m sure there are a fair few parents glad that it’s Friday and that we made it to the end of the week. I’m certainly happy this week is over. I’m going to enjoy the weekend with my son and look forward to next week being, hopefully, a bit easier and getting a full week of work at my desk, with the internet without my son. For now, I’m going to switch my brain off of SEO and PCC and focus on my son and the last of the summer sunshine.