Last week my children took part in the local village school ‘Cluster’ Fun Run. The ‘cluster’ in question referred to the group of four local village primary schools which took part, although it did mean that for weeks prior I read ‘cluster fun run’ in my calendar as ‘cluster fuck fun’. As it turns out it this is not so far from the truth where sports and our family are concerned. Full disclosure: we’re shite.
The clusterfuck run was great in that each child only had to complete just the one race, unlike school summer sports day where they get to come last in many, many races and then cry all afternoon. Unfortunately, that one race was pretty long if you have done absolutely no training or preparation whatsoever. We learned on the day that my daughter had to run 1k, which on the face of it doesn’t sound too bad, but watching the enthusiastic sprint at the start dwindle to a jog, then a walk, and then at one point, a complete bewildered standstill was actually pretty painful. I estimated that at least 80% of the girls were crying down the home straight. So, FUN ALL ROUND! At least there was no humiliating parents’ race like in school summer sports day, where this year I casually tried just a little too hard at the sprint and sprained my ankle like a dickhead.
I was never a ‘winner’ at sports in general, and after a lifetime of coming last in the village wheelbarrow race (not a euphemism) I have no problem at all with school sports being competitive though. I think coming last is character building, (by which rationale I have have huge “character”). I’ve recently joined a running club so I can come last on a much more regular basis than ever before, which I highly recommend especially now that it’s dark in the evenings and no-one can see how red your face goes after a hill session.
Anyway, all this sports day chat got me thinking about the alternative races I have definitely done in my time as a parent thus far:
The 100m sprint…
…from the school gates back home again, at 8.59am, with sobbing child in tow the horrific moment you arrive and realise that yup, it’s bloody non-uniform day again and they’re fully school-jumpered up. I have never run so fast in my life.
The ‘insert egg and spoon’ race…
… to force feed your child their bloody breakfast at a rate which means they would be likely to finish it sometime before the second coming of christ, or at the very least, before you have to leave the house. Side note: there’a also a spin off branch of this race called “no you cannot have another boiled egg because that would require six and a half minutes of my life which we simply do not have”.
The sack race.
The number of months it takes postpartum before you feel anything like attempting clothes with a waistband instead of a maternity sack, and/or can legitimately jump around in your sack-dress of choice without pissing yourself a tiny little bit. Winning this race may also take years.
The many legged race.
Announce you are going out to do *basically anything at all*. Wait two seconds whilst one or more children attach themselves with their evil child-claws to your legs shrieking that ‘you can’t leeeeeeeeave me mummy!!!’ and then proceed to attempt to leave your house dragging the dead weight children along too without either wiping anyone’s bottom, putting anyone to bed or inspecting anything made out of boxes, paint, glitter and snot first.
The wheelbarrow race.
Literally inevitable ending to any time I have left the house for a real life girls night out, which in itself is a pretty rare occurrence, but rarer still is any mother who still has the necessary abs left to be the ‘barrow’. That said, I did have a pretty jolly night out last week. I’d sold it to my husband as ‘me and Em need to stay in Cambridge in a hotel after the poetry recital reading we are attending there which you will neither enjoy, nor need to attend’. Highbrow. Whilst this was technically true – we live 100 miles away, we did go for the poetry (Hollie McNish, AMAZING) – we did also stay out for a further eight hours of drinking and “dancing” afterwards and frankly, I am way too old for this. It’s hazy, but I’m reasonably confident we stayed in a nightclub full of students young enough to be our actual children until closing time and bedtime nearly had a 5 in it. Ridiculous.
The Disney film marathon.
For the day after.
The obstacle course race
This is brought to you from my kitchen, where looking around, if I want to go and watch TV I’ll first have to kick through a mountain of discarded shoes, ignore the several thousand tiny bits of torn up paper on the floor (WHO teaches children to do this???), hurdle over some bookbags, navigate the lego explosion floor-of-doom and locate the remote control from wherever the little bastards hid it from each other earlier. It’s like the pissing Crystal Maze, except no-one gets to goon around in a hurricane of money at the end. Quite the opposite in fact.
So there you have it. Make sure you warm up appropriately before attempting any of the parent races, including but not limited to lots of stretches as you bend over to pick up multiple pairs of children’s pants from unlikely locations around your house, big windmilling arms as you herd your ungrateful offspring out of the house in a hurry and I like to throw in some weary lunges to reach the bottom drawer of the freezer for a shit beige dinner every once in a while. On your marks, get set….
Joking apart, if you haven’t already discovered how brilliant Hollie McNish is, I can absolutely recommend buying her new book Plum. She is so so good live too. You don’t even have to be a poetry wanker like me to appreciate just how rude, funny, touching, insightful and joyful her work is. Go see – you won’t be disappointed.
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