I’m in my 4th year of being a ‘school mum’ now and if I’m honest it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship!
On the whole, of course, I love the fact that my daughter goes to school, and it’s a great school. It’s lovely to not have to pay hundreds every month to nursery anymore and you don’t feel so bad about working when your child is at school all day anyway. I also love going to school plays, assemblies and to see her work – there are plenty of proud mum moments!
However, there are many things I hate about being a school mum . There’s never a quiet week when you have a child at school, and when you also go to work it can get quite hectic at times.
I’ve put together a list of my school mum pet peeves, take a look and let me know if you agree with any of these…
1. The School Run
This has to be the absolute worst part of having a child at school! Mums are completely mental when it comes to dropping off or picking up their little darlings from school. They’ll do just about anything to get a good parking space, I’ve seen arguments and we get photos of bad parking added to the school Facebook group – I often liken the school run to The Hunger Games when talking to my husband.
I’m lucky to miss the school run in the morning as Little H goes to breakfast club but the afternoons are horrible. I leave work and get to school half an hour early. By that point, the road that the school is in is already completely chocka and all the roads nearby are full with parents who have been sat in their cars since 2pm and clearly have nothing better to do. I park a 5-minute walk away from the school gates, not too bad if the weather is ok but not fun when it’s cold, windy and rainy.
Every day you can guarantee that the same mums will speed up the road as the bell goes and park on double yellows blocking pavements and crossings, while the rest of us trek back up the road in the rain to our cars because we’re not ignorant enough to park like an idiot.
2. Dress Up Days
So far this school year (we’re only just over 5 months in) we’ve had: French dress-up day, Sheriff dress-up day and Rockstar dress-up day. Plus wear something spotty, wear something blue, and wear your Christmas jumper. Not to forget the costume needed for the Nativity play. Next month we have Roman dress up day and the dreaded World Book Day.
I know these days are lots of fun for the kids but there are two main reasons I hate them. The first is the expense – we never seem to have something in the wardrobe that we can use so I end up having to buy stripy tops, checked shirts, rock band t-shirts etc whenever we get one of these letters. Roman day should be easy according to the school, you just need a white sheet – but I only have fitted sheets which isn’t quite the same!
The other reason is that I’m busy. I have a lot on my mind constantly and I forget stuff. No matter how early the school tell us about one of these days I will inevitably leave it until the day before to get something sorted.
3. Cake Sales
I forgot the cake sale this week. Oops! Though to be honest I probably wouldn’t have made one anyway as I can’t bake to save my life. We had a disaster last year when the school suggested a ‘Royal Wedding Bake Off’ and we didn’t send the result in! Sometimes my mum hack of buying fairy cakes and just icing them works, but other times they want something more adventurous like next month’s ‘Fair Trade Bake Off’.
4. Requests for money
If it’s not costumes or cakes, they want money for fundraising or towards a school event. I understand the school can’t pay for everything and I don’t mind contributing but it all adds up. Before Christmas, I worked out that I’d already forked out £20 for various dress-up days, charities and events. And I only have one child at school. This is also on top of breakfast club, after-school clubs and school lunches.
Again, it’s remembering these things and actually having the change in my purse when I remember at the last minute, which is usually the problem.
5. Mountains of paperwork
I basically need a PA just to look after all the school admin. We get reams of paper every week for clubs, school trips, events, meetings, and obviously the warnings of dress-up days and requests for charity donations.
Most of these letters need signing and more often than not Little H will end up handing the signed slip in at the very last minute because I’ve forgotten.
I’ve blogged before about my dislike of homework so it’s no surprise this one has made it onto my list. It eats into our weekend and our biggest battle at the moment is over maths homework which Little H finds difficult.
I don’t think kids should have so much homework at this age, and quite frankly I don’t have a lot of spare time after work and school to do it so it’s not one of my favourite things.
7. Homelearning projects
This is really the same as homework but I felt it needed it’s own special point. As well as the weekly homework our school issues a ‘homelearning’ project every half term. It relates to the topic they’re doing and is a relevant craft project of your choice to do at home.
I learnt pretty early on that most of the mums do the craft project themselves, so of course, if you leave your child to do theirs by themselves it’s going to look crap next to those made by an adult. It’s great for the mums that don’t work, probably gives them something to do when the kids are at school, but coming home from work to make a Celtic house or a volcano isn’t quite my idea of fun!
8. School events during the day
This is a tough one because as mentioned above, I love going into school to watch assemblies and plays, but it is so tough when you go to work. I feel like I’m forever asking to leave early and there’s always some I can’t attend because I have meetings or have to go to London which brings on the mum guilt! It’s hard for the dads too who usually can’t get out of work in the middle of the day as easily.
9. Other people’s kids
One of the most annoying things about having a child at school is definitely other people’s children. We’re lucky that Little H has some amazing friends at school who she tells me lovely things about all the time. However, I also hear about not so nice kids a lot and get sick of hearing how awful many of them are. We had a spell of bullying which luckily got sorted quickly, but the amount of mean and bossy kids still amazes me.
10. Other school mums
I am probably one of those unfriendly mums that others talk about but after a busy day at work, I have no interest in talking to other school mums at pick-up, other than a very select few! I don’t do small talk at the best of times, I don’t really care what other people’s kids are up to and I’m not interested in their complaints about the school, teachers or each other. I sit in the car until the last possible minute and then try not to make eye contact with any of them when we’re stood in the playground.
Oh it’s so much fun being a school mum! Having said that though, it’s much better than the thought of homeschooling so I guess I just have to put up with it for another 10 years.
What bits of having a child at school annoy you? Do you agree with any of the rants on my list?