Lynette Fay: September is the new January

As the summer's blur of activity starts to fade, Lynette Fay looks forward to a season of new beginnings and fresh challenges – including her daughter starting nursery school

Lynette Fay

Lynette Fay

Lynette is an award winning presenter and producer, working in television and radio. Hailing from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, she is a weekly columnist with The Irish News.

As anyone with young children knows, holidays are exhausting - it can be a relief to get back to the routine of work
As anyone with young children knows, holidays are exhausting - it can be a relief to get back to the routine of work

WHY is it that we spend weeks looking forward to a holiday only to wish it away by the time it comes to an end? In my case, this year I took extended leave to cover childcare, exam results and back to school preparation. Midway through my 'holidays', I couldn't wait to get back into a routine and back to work for some head space.

It feels like my family have been on a particularly fast treadmill since May. GCSEs, A-levels and finals this year have meant that between exam stress, awaiting-results stress, graduations and sorting-the-next-step stress, the wheels of the world have been spinning fast for months.

Throw in work, normal family life, a wedding and a first day in nursery and it feels like we have been living life at supersonic speed.

Does any parent of a young child – scratch that, any parent – ever feel like that after time off work with the family and no escape? I accepted early on that my 'summer holiday' this year would consist of play park quality control and perfecting meal times and long trips in the car to maximise sleep opportunities or else I would have a mini demon on my hands.

I also decided that I wanted – perhaps needed – a break from social media. I deleted all the apps and resisted the temptation to let everyone know where I was or what I was doing on holiday.

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I still took photos and videos, of course, but the temptation to scroll was gone and I felt lighter and better for doing this. It helped that some of the travelling done on holiday involved wifi blackspots aplenty.

Three weeks of no routine and much more eating out and drinking than usual have left me feeling bleuuugh. A purge is needed.

I dragged myself back to the gym last week for the first time in a couple of months. Every time I do this, I want my fitness to return at supersonic speed – which it will not – so I have to tell myself: "Lynette you did the crime, now do the time."

After being glued to the World Athletics Championships on telly night after night and convincing myself that I was just as athletic as the incredible athletes I was watching, I went for a 'run' for what felt like the first time in an eternity. The only records I was setting that day were for slowest run in history.

Will Lynette be able to resist sharing her daughter's first day at school picture on social media?
Will Lynette be able to resist sharing her daughter's first day at school picture on social media?

The other day, someone in the gym commented that September is the new January. I have long felt that this time of year is a time for new beginnings, a new approach, a reset or reboot. I worry that my reset won't last long though – four days in, I am exhausted.

It's an exciting time of year too though. I have a first day at nursery to look forward to and much of my energy this past week has been spent on hiding the uniform from a very excited three-year-old.

So many people told me to enjoy every minute because the toddler years fly. It is true, they do, but I will not miss the morning wrangle to get dressed, the discussion that goes with choosing an outfit for the day – yes, this three-year-old has her own style.

I will not be sad to see the back of the meltdowns when I cut a banana or toast the wrong way (I missed this essential guidance in the parenting books...) but I do look forward to the direction on how she would like her hair styled for her first day at 'big girl school'.

Watching my little girl growing up is incredible. I nearly fainted when, calm as anything, she said "You look cool mummy" to me the other day – this might be the greatest compliment of my life.

I walked past the gates of a school last week where parents and grandparents were lined up like paparazzi, taking photos of the first day of the new school term. As usual, social media feeds are full of big smiles, well coiffed hair and sharp new uniforms.

Will I or won't I post her first day at nursery photo on social media? Let's see if I can resist that particular temptation.