Ah September. It always starts so well doesn’t it? The excitement of a new term ahead, fresh stationery sparkling with promise, the peace of the post-school run that doesn’t involve holiday clubs or children jumping all over the sofa.
And then we hit the mid-September slump which is, very like January, a little bit shit. A couple of weeks in and the novelty of getting into school uniforms again has long since passed, the kids need to be reminded ten hundred million times to put their shoes on and you realise you forgot your New School Year Resolution to “be more organised” and sort out the packed lunches the night before. Damn.
This is my fourth year of being a school mum and I don’t seem to be nailing it any better than previous years. In brutally honest fashion, here are ten things that never change about being a school mum in September:
1. The coat dilemma is real
Sorry to go all #Britishweatherbore on you but the coat dilemma in September never goes away. Every morning so far this term we’ve had in-depth discussions about whether it’s warm enough to forget a coat completely or whether, because it’s now “autumn Mummy” we need to wear not just a coat but a hat and a scarf and gloves too. Most mornings also involve rapid checks of the BBC weather app on my phone to reassure the seven year old she’s made the correct coat decision.
2. The early morning arrivals last approximately two days
On the first day back at school we arrived half an hour early, before they’d even opened the doors. Vowing to start as I meant to go on we had shoes, bags and coats on about an hour before school even started, with both kids waiting eagerly by the door like greyhounds ready to burst out of their starting box. This set-up lasted two days. We’re now back to sluggish mornings on the sofa (the girls, not me), putting off getting ready until the very last second, followed by a mad dash up the road to get to school just as the bell tolls. Standard September behaviour.
3. The novelty of homework quickly fades
For the first week back Freya studiously did her homework as soon as she got back from school. With earnest concentration she memorised her times tables and spellings before working out the answers to complicated maths equations. Two weeks in and the first thing she now wants to do on getting home is raid the biscuit tin and binge sleepily on Mako Mermaids on Netflix. Can’t blame her really.
4. The post-school hunger can never be satisfied
On the first day of the post-school run I arrived armed with a banana. This seemed to satisfy Freya’s after-school hunger pangs until teatime a couple of hours later and I felt smug in the knowledge that my cupboards wouldn’t be stripped bare within two days of the return to school. It didn’t last. A few days in and the banana no longer sufficed. Now any snack that’s not a five course meal is greeted with scorn, and Freya requests a “pudding snack” to go with her “main snack” – and that’s after the “starter snack” she’s chowed down before we’ve even walked out of the school gates.
5. It’s like running a marathon
I find the exhaustion of mid-September worse than the feelings of tiredness at the end of term. And I’m talking about myself here, not the kids (although they feel it too). The shock of being back to a rigid routine, acting as a taxi driver in between clubs, remembering to do packed lunches, spellings practise, check book-bags and negotiate multiple dramas over coats and shoes and socks winds me, every September. No matter how prepared I think I am for the month ahead my endurance quickly fades after a few days and I remember how knackering it is having children at school. And dealing with their inevitable exhaustion after busy school days is even more tiring. Can we all just go back to bed please?
How about you? Have you noticed any things about being a school mum in September that never change?