31st August 2017
Dear Future (wiser and more organised) Self,
It’s a day before the kids go back to school and I’m in a bad way. Not withstanding the fact that I am already experiencing withdrawal symptoms at the mere thought of being wrenched apart from my Precious Brood at the school gates, I am also feeling totally unprepared for their Big Day. For some Super Mums, six weeks can pass in the blink of an eye. For others who spend it waiting, six weeks will tick by as slowly as the hand on a clock’s face. Tick tock, tick tock. And given that, as a time-bomb waiting to happen, I fall into the latter category, one would think that I’d have used this never-ending time wisely in preparation for my children’s departure. Sadly I’m not that person. So for the benefit of My Future (wiser and more organised) Self and indeed for any of you who are, quite frankly, as disorganised and useless as me, here are a few pointers that may well be worth remembering for next year.
- As painful as it is to tackle The School Bag as soon as school’s up, trust me, it is a gazillion times more painful to leave its contents untouched and smouldering until the day before the new term starts. Not only will your child be reunited with all manner of scribbled on, nibbled on, dribbled on cherished pieces of tat (each one tells a story don’t you know), but you will also have the pleasure of being reunited with the six week old banana hastily thrust upon your Beloved on the last day of term. Only now it resembles something rather more like a squashed brown slug, the residue of which is lining the interior of your child’s prized #smiggle School Bag in a glossy shade of brown.
- As parents, it is our goal to give our children #aheadstart in life. With this at the forefront of your mind, do not do as I did, leaving the contents of next term’s reading list in your Amazon basket for the duration of The Hellidays, in the hope that they will magically appear on your doorstep and be read in full by September 1st. Reading them is one thing, but books appearing out of thin air is wishful thinking at its most delusional.
- When it comes to school stationery, apparently it is normal for your children to collate (some might call it steal) other children’s pens, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, colours, rulers and general classroom tat, leaving them with rather more than they started with. However, there is little use trying to convince them to recycle last year’s treasure-trove of stationery, so don’t even bother. Instead, you’ll be amazed at how you can use up one of your 42 hellidays (and actually spend less than a tenner) on a full day out….stationery shopping. Bogof indeed!
- A lot can happen in 6 weeks. And having not grown all year, miraculously in The Hellidays, children suddenly seem to grow. A lot. So when it comes to buying uniform and sparkling new school shoes (preferably with dolls in their soles), there is an extremely fine line. Purchasing too soon you may well take advantage of M&S 25% off, however you also risk your Cherubs’ newly acquired items no longer fitting at the beginning of term and the loss of your statutory rights to return. Leave your purchases too late and basically there is SOD ALL left. So my advice is to hit the high street approximately 3 weeks in and don’t feed your children for the rest of the duration, in the hope that they don’t grow. By even a centimetre.
- Finally, as tempting as it is to leave crumpled up uniform festering in the ironing pile for 6 weeks, trust me, when it comes to the night before The Big Day, the pile of uniform will somehow have grown beyond all proportion and the creases will be so deeply engrained in the fabric that you may as well give up any hope of your child looking half groomed for the obligatory #firstdayphoto. My advice for next year is to treat yourself to the expensive non-iron stuff. It may cost you a small fortune, but it’ll be worth it every time you smugly look at the iron and then walk away.
So good luck sending your children back to school of sane mind. The above “advice” is probably all a little too late now, but I’m sure you’ll thank me one day. If you have any other epic back-to-school fails, please feel free to share them with me in the comments section below. And if you like what you read, then please like and share my post, follow me on Facebook and Instagram @ Apparently This is Normal. Happy New (School) Year!