When your little angel starts school there’s SO many emotions running wild on your part. You worry that they will need help, no-one will help them, they won’t have friends, they will be lonely, they will piss their pants, or worse, shit themselves. You think they might wonder where you are and why have you left them with all these strangers. You want them to be happy, liked and to enjoy it. On that first day you feel your heart has been stamped on when you walk away from the gate and leave your most precious thing in the world with total strangers. In most cases they love school, they come bounding from the gate at home time and all your worries are gone! You now have a child at the school! Welcome to the club!
Expectations of having a child at school:
1. Mornings spent eating breakfast together, chatting about their day ahead, everyone is ready and out the door clutching their book bags and lunch boxes… leisurely walks to school admiring the clouds and trees.
2. Your child brings home beautiful artwork / maths sheets for you to look over and display proudly on the fridge, your child is a genius!
3. You engage with lovely chat with other parents at the school about your children’s new schooling, perhaps having a coffee with a few of them after drop off. Like minded people all brought together by their children’s education.
4. Your child speaks fondly of their day, regaling you with tales of what Johnny did at break time that was so funny or a hilarious joke the teacher made during Phonics. Along with their new understanding of times tables.
5. Homework. You sit with your child whilst they complete their homework, perhaps giving guidance and advice whilst occasionally stirring the delicious home-made dinner that’s cooking on the stove.
6. Friends. Your child will make so many new friends, after school play dates are a-plenty. Heartwarming.
7. Uniform. They look so cute in their smart uniform. Always so polished and grown up.
Reality of having a child at school:
1. Mornings are spent telling everyone to “HURRY UP OR WE WILL BE LATE!” or “PUT YOUR SOCKS ON FOR THE 10TH TIME!” Children do not want to eat breakfast / get dressed or leave the house for school. Getting small people dressed every day within a time limit is one of the most underestimated tasks of motherhood. I’m crazy shouty mummy in the mornings. Otherwise we would all be late. Every day. They forget shit. Book bags? What book bag? “THE ONE YOU TAKE TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY
2. Your child brings home approximately 57 pieces of paper per week. Some of them are indeed lovely artwork that I treasure and put on the fridge. Most of it is random scribbles, notes from other kids, someone else’s work, and screwed up bits of crap. The kid then cries when they find said screwed up paper in the bin! “Mummy I brought that home for you!!” they say with a look like you’ve just shat in their cornflakes. I’ve been guilted into keeping lots of crap.
3. You enter into School Mum hell. It’s a bloody minefield. Don’t get me wrong, you can and will make friends with a few nice normal mums. I have made some lovely friends at the school. However, you will find more drama with the mums than with the kids. Mums in cliques, mums falling out, mums who look at you like your from another planet. The odd dad and nan of course. Smile and say good morning, and get in and out as quick as you can. Unless of course, you have a toddler that wants to run laps of the field on the way in and out every day. Then smile and scream internally. Someone should definitely invent a drop off toddler crèche place at the school gate, so those blessed with under 5’s can leave them at the gate each morning with trusted carers and not have to round the child up like a sheep twice a day.
4. Your child has no idea what they did all day. At all. “How was your day today?” you ask them wanting to hear all about it. “Good” they answer…. hmmm “What did you do today?” you ask. “Nothing” NOTHING????? NOTHING? YOU SPENT 6 HOURS AT SCHOOL GETTING AN EDUCATION AND YOU DID NOTHING! “Can’t remember” is another common answer. They can never remember what they did. Sometimes they will shock you by saying “Oh today, guess what…” and proceed to tell you a story about how someone was sick on the carpet and had to go home. Lovely.
5. Homework. Oh lord. Your child may be enthusiastic about homework, but eventually, they don’t want to do it. Boring. They want to do it tomorrow, they don’t understand it. As they progress through school, sometimes even YOU don’t understand it. Google is your friend here. Also helping children with homework sounds easy enough. The screaming toddler swinging from the light shade makes it harder. Do not be defeated.
6. Friends. Your child will of course make friends. However, they will also make enemies! Arch enemies. Girls are terrible for this. This one isn’t speaking to them anymore, they aren’t friends with another one. Jenny is now their best friend. “But I thought Jenny was mean to you yesterday?” you will ask. Don’t be silly mother! Friendships at school are cut throat and fickle. Just roll with it and hope they aren’t being violent to any of these people. Unless someone hits them first, of course.
7. Uniform will be the bane of your life. You have to wash and iron it and have it ready for them to wear EVERY SINGLE WEEK DAY. They walk into class all neat and tidy in the mornings and come home looking like they’ve been dragged through a hedge, backwards. Their jumpers will have paint / yogurt / snot down in. Boys have their trousers put on backwards, you know after P.E. Hair looks a mess. Collars sticking up. They lose uniform. “Go and look on your peg again dear” you will say with gritted teeth for the 100th time this week. JUST KEEP YOUR BLOODY CLOTHES ON!!!
8. I have to add this one, even though there’s no expectation no 8. School may bring some nasties to your house that you never even dreamed of. Some kids may have already experienced this stuff in nursery etc. But school is a lovely breeding ground for:
– Nits. Head lice. Lovely creepy crawlies running around in your child’s hair. Gag.
– Worms. Little tiny white thread worms that make your kids bum itch in the night. Boil wash everything, clean everything in sight, cry into a cup of tea and wonder why on Earth no-one warned you about this sort of stuff when your baby was newborn.
– Chickenpox. Stay indoors for all eternity and go insane.
– Hand foot and mouth. Goody.
– Stomach bugs. There’s nothing that raises fear in a parent than to hear of a nasty bug going round the school.