Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mama Life || Being A Crappy School Mum ...

With the school term coming to an end I thought I'd share the fact that although I consider myself to be a pretty good Mum, I am a truly crappy school Mum which has come as a bit of a surprise. 

With the best intentions in the world, nothing has quite prepared me for being a school Mum and aside from getting there on time most days, the rest is a bit of a flop. In fairness to us parents, there is a lot to do, a lot to remember, a lot of events, money needed and uniform required. Not to mention multiple emails a day, over priced school photos and trying to juggle everything else life throws at us at the same time.

It all started in nursery where I regularly forgot to wash uniforms, replace broken shoes, bring a packed lunch and sign forms. A few years on and I'm still as hopeless with washing, some day's I'll wet wipe a mark off a jumper, sift through the washing basket for something passable or find something as close to uniform as I can. Thankfully right now both kids have school lunches, so instead of a daily lunch box being needed, I just have to order their meals online once every couple of months, which if I do when the email comes straight away, it's all good. As soon as the free school meals are up though, they'll be back on packed lunches and I'll be back to mad morning scrambles, searching the cupboards for something school friendly that actually counts as a decent meal or running back to school with some form of food later in the morning.

Shoes are always an issue, but only for Alf, is it a boy thing? Whatever brand of shoes I get they get destroyed and usually within a few weeks of the term starting. We usually end the term in trainers as there's no way I'm buying new shoes just before they break up for holidays, only for their feet to double in size over night. This term, for once, we actually may make it to the end with a proper pair of school shoes, but only because they broke weeks ago and we picked some great ones up in a sale.

The admin side of an actual job I can ace, but throw some school mum admin at me and it all goes out the window. A letter handed to me in the midst of the playground crush after school goes in a bag never to be seen again, until I'm handed another at the last minute by a teacher. I try and pay things straight away if I can, but I'm usually scraping in at the last minute. The countless emails pile up and I drown in a school to do list that sometimes gets done, but often lays dormant until I discover I've missed something.

I do feel bad for the kids but really they know no different, they don't lose out, they don't know the panicking I do behind the scenes, they don't know that out of the 20 emails that week I only remembered to sort things for a few of them. They don't care that they're wearing trainers for a bit each term if needed or that their sleeves are rolled up to hide yesterdays gravy because yet again I forgot to do a school uniform wash. I am though trying really hard to get on track with it though and it may have taken me 34 years but I think I'm finally starting to find ways to get organised.

In terms of school mum life, I've been doing the following which is really helping and probably really obvious to everyone else...

I'm actually using a diary and adding everything from school, work and normal life. I buy one every year but never really use it. Now I see the benefit!

I've synced my Google calendar with the school one so I instantly have all school events in my calendar. I hadn't even realised there was a school calendar until recently!

I sort uniform the night before or at least know where it is and if it's clean (aka passable for another day and doesn't smell).

I read the school emails when they come in instead of leaving them for later.

When I get emails I take some kind of action, like marking the date in my calendar, paying for the trip right there and then or ordering school meals.

I have a school folder in my emails so it's not just one big inbox of doom.

I plan my time better so I can get there on time (most days) and make sure we have breakfast bits in all ready for the morning.

I locate their shoes, coats and bags before sitting and having breakfast.

I switch the TV off 15 minutes earlier than we used to so we have more time to get out the door - which takes approximately three weeks each morning.

I try and sort their school bags out at least weekly to check for letters/invites and uniform.

Although these are very obvious things to do and everyone else probably does them without thinking about it, it is making a big difference and it's a lot easier spending a few minutes a week getting organised than spending the whole week feeling stressed and guilty for being a bit rubbish at it all.

Are your kids at school yet? How to do cope with it all?