Lessons from my first weeks on the school scene

Starting school: Lessons from a school mum newbie
Starting school: Lessons from a school mum newbie Photo: Getty Images

The last few weeks has seen many a mum embrace a milestone in the life of their little ones as they take their first steps into education and 'the real world'.  

Tears of sadness (and joy) have been shed, whilst coffee and wine has been drunk in equal measure either side of the day.  

It's certainly true that life changes when your child starts school and, after only a couple of weeks as a newbie on the scene, I'm realising just how much. 

Mornings require military organisation and stress levels will be high

No matter how organised a person you are, school mornings require you to step up to a whole new level. 

Racing against the clock is part challenge and part stress, and in an alternate universe the only thing it's good for is practice for a reality TV show such as survivor.

Whilst packing lunch boxes, putting on uniforms and eating breakfast may not appear to be that much, it's amazing how quickly you can lose tim ... not to mention socks, shoes and hats.

Tips for school mums to be – Prepare for school mornings by repetitively shouting 'Find your shoes', 'Clean your teeth', 'Eat your breakfast' at increasing levels of manic and noise. Repeat 50 times – at least – over the course of an hour.

Get your partner to hide shoes, hats and other necessary items for school in an array of completely inappropriate places around the house. Set out to find them with a timer on for extra pressure.

Expensive uniforms will be trashed

There's nothing cuter than seeing your little one dressed up in their uniform for the first time.

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Despite the fact that they are swimming in their oversized shirts, shorts and socks they look so grown up and, for the first time in a long time, they look really smart.

That is at least until the end of..ooohh..about day three when shirts come home covered in stains, shoes are scuffed from front to back and shorts have holes in in places you're not even sure how they got there.

Tips for school mums to be – Prepare for this frustration by heading out to a designer store, purchasing a number of smart and expensive items of clothing and 'washing' them in a muddy puddle. 

Following this, attack them randomly with some scissors, use them as a face wipe for stain inducing lunch snacks and pull down the hem.

Schools organise a LOT of events and send out a lot of notes 

The first couple of weeks of school you'll be inundated with information and paperwork about upcoming events and requirements. There'll be sprinkler days, cupcake days, book days and wear your yellow underwear days – or something like that.

Your fridge will become home to all manner of paperwork – all magnetised one on top of the other so you actually can't read any of it anyway – and so you'll fail to remember what is happening from one day to the next. 

That is….until you turn up at school and your child is the only one not wearing green underwear or arriving with home made, organic cupcakes. 

Tips for school mums to be – Prepare for this overload of information by writing yourself 20 notes a day about jobs you need to do  – but know you never will – and then pinning them one on top of the other on the fridge.

Get your partner to test you on this 'to do' list first thing in the morning when the pressure is on - preferably when you are mid breakfast, lunch box and cleaning up – and you have no time to do anything about it.

To prepare for the humiliation of 'forgetting' and being the odd one out, attend a black tie dinner in your scruffiest jeans and singlet.     

School will make your child tired, cranky, hyper - or all of the above

In those first few weeks of school your child will be overwhelmed with emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, so when you pick them up you never know what you're in for.

Moods can fluctuate from the slightly tired and cranky to the super feral and impossible. Alternatively, they may be bouncing off the walls with energy left to burn.

Tips for school mums to be – Ask your partner to greet you each evening with a different and unexpected mood.   

For example, maybe they could snap your head off when you ask them how their day was, or perhaps they might throw themselves (as well as their bag) on the floor claiming 'life's not fair' if you ask them to do something.

On the flipside, get them to come in and challenge you to a three hour bike ride, trampoline jumping or running… just because 'I'm not tired yet'! 

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