Lazy Days, Chocolate Haze

Why it turns out I need the school run.

It’s the same every end of term — feeling SO desperate for the school holidays. My kids were SO desperate for the school holidays. I’ve been drained by the relentless cycle of school/ errands/ baby class/ housework/ cooking/ baby care/ dog walking/ school/ ballet/ gymnastics/ cooking/ reading/ homework/ bath/ bedtime. The small people were sick of me rushing them from place to place, shouting ‘shoes’ and ‘book bags’ at them as I shove the dog out for a wee whilst trying to track down where the baby has hidden the hairbrush. It makes my spirit sink a bit just writing it down.

And for the first couple of days it was great. The girls and I stayed in our PJs until the decadent hour of 9am. We managed to get out of the door to do something mildly entertaining before lunch, and everyone was very slothful. After the Easter bunny (who, weirdly, my kids believe is somehow related to both Jesus and Father Christmas) filled most of our cupboards with chocolate, biscuits and cake, our sweetie consumption has shot up. I could always just employ some willpower and resist these goodies but frankly, I find treat abstinence rather miserable. So I exercise a lot. And I’ve found that the only way I can exercise a lot with two school age kids, a baby, a dog and no job is because of the school run.

The reason that having no job has a bearing is this: when I had two kids, a job and no school run, I would let exercise overlap work time. I’d run the four miles from nursery to work and no one really noticed if I was a bit late. I’d do a gym class at lunch time on work days and then run home, just making it to nursery by 6pm. Or thereabouts. When the eldest started school and I had to do more drop offs, I’d just cart them up and down the hills of SE19 in a bike trailer. I probably came across a bit smug about it actually if you’re interested —

So when we had Baby Three, moved out of London and I never returned to work, exercise got trickier. I’m not rich in time — we outsource very little so there is a lot of household drudgery to plough through and the demands of three kids and a puppy are substantial.

Enter, like a musclebound superhero, my precious Babboe cargo bike — a saviour on three wheels. This wonderful contraption carries up to four kids in the front box and has electric pedal assist (which, my competitive side is bursting to tell you, I rarely need now). So five days a week, morning and afternoon with added trips for local errands, I’ve been pedaling the weight of a pretty heavy three-wheeler containing a 7, a 5 and a 1 year old, various bits of school paraphernalia and miscellaneous toys, books and snacks on an undulating four mile round trip. Powering my daily load along just a small incline makes me feel like I’m undertaking a Tour de France 1st category climb. I’ve been unintentionally HIIT training I guess.

Add a hyperactive six month-old labrador puppy to the picture and the only answer is to multi-task. So we’re now cargo biking by morning and walking the dog to school in the afternoon. Except I always leave chronically late so really, the baby and I end up jogging the dog (don’t worry, the baby is in the buggy. She is shit at running). Fabulous cardio value for money I think you’ll agree. Even more precious because it’s fitting in to a journey that needs to be made whether I feel like a work out or not.

This all came to an abrupt halt with the sugar-fuelled Easter holidays. Our excursions have been too far to cargo-bike the journey when we need to be able to rush back for the puppy, and I suddenly lost my daily dose of activity. It’s only been a week and a half but I’ve felt heavier and more sluggish. My 8 mile run this weekend was about 20 seconds a mile slower than normal. The last time I went for a run was less than a week ago so what’s happened? I can only put it down to the loss of time in the saddle.

I love my cargo bike for lots of reasons in addition to how it tricks me into HIIT training, but this Easter I’ve realised how much I rely on it and the daily rush to school to support my everyday existence (and gluttony). With another week of school holidays on the horizon I declare — ‘Come back school run, all is forgiven!

My cargo bike is by Babboe. They have a massive range so take a look — it could change your life:

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