My daughter has now been a pupil at primary school for a week. I have been a school mum for a week. It’s been exciting, it’s been nerve-wracking, it’s been exhausting and it has felt like a month! Here are the things I’ve learnt in that week…
- I’ll never tire of saying “I’m doing the school run” or “I’ll do that after the school run” – it makes me feel like a proper parent, in the same way you felt when you first move out of home and you feel really grown up making beans on toast for yourself (“yeah, I don’t need a MUM to cook for me, I’ve totally got this”)
- Navigating the whole starting-school process is emotionally exhausting. I completely underestimated how tough it would be to get my head around getting my child to the school ON TIME every morning (“Please stop walking so slowly!”) and keeping an eye on the clock to pick her up at the right time. Knowing where to drop her off, where to collect her. Does she need her PE kit today? Have I labelled everything? Where does she go for after school Street Jazz class? What’s the name of her classroom assistant again? *head spins and falls off*
- Fitting work in around the school day is tricky. Call that a full day? 3.15pm is usually when I’m just getting going on a day’s work, after a few hours of procrastinating and email admin. But now it’s the time I have to down tools and head to school to collect my child. Add to that the fact that my school-mum-addled brain made me totally forget about a meeting one morning until the person I was meeting messaged me to ask where I was, and it’s safe to say I’m not cracking this balancing act quite yet.
- When you have a child who’s tired from a week of school and getting their head around their new routine, Netflix is your friend. The four-year-old spent around three solid hours watching Power Rangers one afternoon and I felt zero-guilt. She needed to zone out, I needed the peace. Win, win. The baking/drawing/reading can wait for another day.
- Checking your child’s school bag every day is the key to knowing what’s going on. The four-year-old has been at school now for 7 days and on 6 of those days, there has been a letter or note or form in her bag for me to read and act upon. Usually, they require me to act upon it by the following day, meaning I need to be ALL OVER THIS SHIZ every night.
- Trying to get your child to tell you what they did at school that day is like getting blood from a stone. Me: “What did you do today?” Her: “I can’t remember.” Me: “Did you play with anything or play with any new friends?” Her: “No” Me: “Did you draw anything?” Her: “Not today”
- My washing machine thinks we have a newborn baby again. Our Bosch is still getting over the battering it got five years ago when it was used approximately five times a day with newborn vests, baby grows, muslins and scratch mitts. While we’re not quite doing five loads of laundry a day now, it’s being used a heck of a lot more as we wash grubby school uniforms again and again (Note to self: next year, buy five of everything and do the washing at the weekend.)
- School is really good for my social life. Granted, the most obvious benefit to school is that my child is getting an education, but a totally unexpected perk is how many awesome local mums and dads I’m now mates with. We’ve had invitations to prosecco-fuelled BBQs, coffee and cake at the local cafe, and lots of chatting at the school gate. It’s like Fresher’s Week without the 20p blue shots and Pulp Fiction posters.
I suspect that this is only the start of my school mum education and I’ve got a lot more to learn. But as long as the prosecco-fuelled social events continue, I think I’ll survive. What have you learned as a school mum?