Since starting reception earlier this month, lots of bewildered first time school parents have come up to me and pleaded, ‘PLEASE TELL ME IT GETS EASIER! WE’RE EXHAUSTED.’ I think the look on my face has pretty much answered that question. But anyway. As I’m clearly so accomplished at this stuff (haha), I thought I’d share my hacks on how to totally kick the school run’s arse.
1. Get out of bed. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Well this one is obvious.’ But that exhaustion that’s already set in two weeks into starting school? It just accumulates. The first day of term, we were up, dressed and ate porridge before arriving at school EARLY. Three days later, we were eating dry Cheerios out of a sandwich bag whilst hurtling towards the school gates like a jet making an emergency landing. This is due to a variety of factors. Mainly looking for shoes and the fact that most mornings I’m lying in bed looking at Facebook. (If you’re either of my daughter’s teachers and happen to be reading this, that last bits a joke. It’s ALL their fault.)
2. Get yourself up and ready before your kids. Or if, like me, you want all the sleep you can get, gym gear is your friend here. This basically eliminates the need for a) a shower b) make-up and c) non-greasy hair. All the while making you look like Super Fit Mum. No one needs to know you never went to the gym, do they?
3. Get everything done before any TV. We have a very strict rule in our house. No Netflix before everyone is dressed, breakfasted, teeth cleaned, hair brushed and shoes on. So far, we have failed to do this approximately 800 days out of our three year school career.
4. Make it clear what shoes are and what you expect your child to do with them. If I whispered, ‘Put your shoes on because we’re going to the shops to buy sweets,‘ my kids would not only hear me from three floors up but they’d also miraculously know what a pair of shoes were and where to put them on their bodies. Ask them to do this at 8.15 AM in the morning to go to school and the blank expressions staring back at me indicate that apparently I am asking FOR THE WORLD. I do not know why this is such a difficult proposition. All I do know is that once you have school age children, you totally understand why Flint in Cloudy with Meatballs was trying to invent painted on shoes. Personally, I think the government should be investing proper funding into making this possible. 5. Lay out stuff the night before. Why not get a little ahead of yourself and lay everything out the night before? School uniforms. Letters that need signing. Homework. Oh yes, I know why not. Because it’s MUCH MORE FUN sitting on the sofa, drinking gin and watching Netflix.
6. Retain a sense of calm in the mornings. I have found that shouting at my kids in the morning achieves nothing. On the other hand, I’ve found that NOT shouting at them also achieves nothing. I think this is what they call, ‘being stuck between a rock and a hard place.’
7. Put on your best poker face. Grit your teeth, smile, utter FFS under your breath 435 times and by the time you reach the school gates no one will know you’ve had the morning from hell. Mainly, because they’re all too busy recovering from their own.