I’ve written about the delight that is ‘the school run’ before, when I was on my last maternity leave. I am a little bit of a weirdo because I do actually enjoy the school run, mainly because it’s a bit of a novelty to me as I’m on maternity leave and I know that soon the stress will be tripled when I return to work. However, there are so very many odd things about the school run that no-one warns you about and it feels a little bit like some kind of strange ritual that half the country engage in between 8.30 and 9.15am on week day whilst the rest of the country continue to behave in a sane and dignified manner. So, here are the things I feel you should be warned about the school run before you decide to have children and send them to school.
10 things no-one warned you about the school run:
1.Some days, it is actually a ‘RUN’. Despite it’s name, I thought the school run consisted of waving and smiling and kissing your little darlings as they skipped happily into school. However, some days there are fights over car parking spaces, buggies colliding and teachers checking their watches as you cross the school-gate threshold. And if you have an eight year old who has an aversion to being late and who likes to give you a running commentary on your progress ‘2 minutes to go Mummy’, ‘Mummy, are we going to be late?’ ’10 seconds until the gates open, Mummy’ then the drop off can actually be a tad stressful. However, on the rare occasion that you are early she can also smother you with kisses and dance delightedly down the path! ‘It is such an amazing feeling to be early Mummy???!!’
2. There is always a super-fit mum who makes you feel super-lazy. She is always lycra clad and has a maximum of two children whom she deposits at the school gate before running off to her spinning class, guzzling mineral water.
3. The rain is programmed to turn on during drop off and pick up, even if it’s been sunny all day…. and it will always happen when I am wearing my camel-coloured ballet pumps which dissolve in the rain, making my feet look like I’ve had a very bad fake-tan job.
4. Packing a school bag is like packing for holiday. There is too much to remember to bring to school. Uniforms, packed lunches, PE Kits and bags are just one thing but schools ALWAYS need other things that make parents mornings even more of a nightmare. Harvest festival contributions, slips for school trips and reading books and who knew that ‘Crazy Hair Day’ is actually a real thing and not just the days when I forget to brush my hair of a morning?
5. And then there’s bake sale days, where you have been up until midnight on Pinterest searching for the best Halloween themed bake, only for them to crumble apart in the carefully-named- Tupperware on the frantic dash to the car.
6. On a weekend, your children will be fully dressed by 6am but on a weekday, there is lego to be built and dens to be made. And you’ll have to coax them every step of the way to get their uniforms on, and bribe them to have their teeth brushed. On the weekends, they will proudly present themselves as dressed and ready, complete with shoes on demanding to go somewhere but the weekday is when they want to watch television and mope around in bed and accidentally-on-purpose forget where they put their tie…………..
7. Shoes can actually multiply and disappear. Despite having asked your dear children to carefully place their shoes in the shoe storage the night before, there will be hundreds of shoes waiting to trip you up in the morning and they are never the shoes you need! Shoes will eventually be found in the strangest of places, such as the fridge and the shed (these are true stories.)
8. You will become super envious of those smug mums who can walk to their closest school and actually got in to their ‘closest, outstanding, leafy, community school’ (mainly because they have hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy the house next door) whilst the rest of us drive across town to the school that ‘had space’. Actually, this might just be a London thing and I do actually quite like the kid’s school now but if we’re running late, I do like to glare at the smug walking mums.
9. There are mummy cliques that you want to be friends with. As I have only been doing a couple of the pick-ups and drop-offs whilst working, you notice that the mum’s all fall into different cliques (yes these cliques from our secondary school days, are now re-established outside the classroom) and you have to decide if you want to befriend the PTA mafia, the glam corporate working mums or the salt-of-the-earth-stay-at-home mums. Although this will freak you out on day 1 as a reception parent, rest assured that there are some normal mums and dads lurking out there somewhere (normally running a few minutes late, pushing a buggy).
10. You will become angry at the world between 8.30 and 9am. Lollipop Ladies (they always pick their moments unwisely), Milk men (who still gets their milk delivered anyway?) and Refuse collectors who park across your drive, will all strive to make your life very difficult for this one 30 minute slot of your day.
Oh and… Your child will not talk to you if you cannot produce a snack at pick-up time. Is it just my children who are always perpetually hungry when they come out of school? I swing between deciding they can wait like a normal human beings and have a snack when they get home but then also the realisation that a snack will keep them occupied in that 15 minute wait before my older daughter comes out of the Juniors (who came up with the idea of split pick ups?) so I then can resume my plan to befriend a clique (see bullet point 8.)
Am I alone or does anyone else find this strange ritual of the ‘school run’ a slightly endearing part of British culture? I’m sure other countries are far more laid back about the school run!
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