It’s almost that time again.
The days are getting shorter, the evenings feel cooler. Autumn is approaching and that means that Summer is over (or at least the season that masquerades as Summer in Northern Ireland!)
While hearts around the country may break at the sight of September on the kitchen calendars, parents nationwide rejoice. As the children go back to school, free childcare returns and the house might be in with a chance of being tidy for more than five minutes but it isn’t without it’s challenges.
Here are just a few back-to-school moments that every parent can relate to:
Powers of Persuasion
That moment when… you pull out every skill you remember from debating club at school and convince yourself it’s totally accept to lie as you tell your inconsolable child that this year will be so much more FUN than last year. Trust me.
That moment when… you’re sure the teacher has given you a supplies list for the whole school and not just one small person. You find yourself attempting patience in a stationary aisle while excited children fight each other over the last Moana pencil case and angrily think of all the lovely things you could buy yourself if you didn’t need to own shares in WH Smith.
If the Shoe Fits
That moment when… you’re torn between buying the right-sized shoes and having to replace them in a month, or living with the guilt of your child running like a clown in shoes you know will last until Christmas… because they’re 2 sizes too big.
That moment when… it’s only been 8 weeks since you made one but you’re a complete klutz in the kitchen, unable to remember where you put the lunchbox you bought, what you used to put in said lunchbox, or the long litany of demands that accompany the menu such as cutting of the crusts and not letting the grapes touch the cheese.
School Gate Style
That moment when… Mums nationwide realise that wearing pyjamas until midday isn’t going to be a post-August solution to clothing, when you have to run the school gate gauntlet again. Next best option: ACTIVEWEAR!
That moment when… you look proudly upon your well turned out mini people, with their fancy hair do’s and neatly ironed shirts, surprising the knowledge that by the end of term they will all look like the rolled to school in the mornings. Through a hedge. Backwards.
That moment when… you remember your ability for road rage as you angrily attempt sign language with everyone who arrived early and took up two parking spaces leaving you to run what feels like miles with your brood to get them to the gate before the bell rings.
The Cleaning Blitz
That moment when… you arrive home from the school run to a house of silence for the first time in two months and finally get the chance to tear it apart in a cleaning spree, only to find all manner of unholy things in, under and stuck to your furniture, making you wish you hadn’t looked.
That moment when… all the good intentions of Autumn cleaning the house sit neatly in a pile in the corner by the washing and ironing, while you’re gripped - inexplicably - by a morning talk show cookery segment teaching you a trick with tomatoes that you’ll never actually have the time to try.
That moment when… you take part in the modern social media ritual of posting photos of your child in their crisp new school uniform, which will no doubt be in tatters by Hallowe’en, and ask the same question every year (“Where has the time gone?”) even though you’re well aware that a year has passed since you last asked it.
That moment when… when you see the new teacher for the year approach the class in line in the playground and pray to anyone who will listen that you don’t get called to see her quite as often this year as you did last year.
That moment when… you almost miss the innocence of the Summer holidays playing in the garden as the kids come home asking for the latest crazy gadget that you end up hunting the globe online to try to find because every.single.store.sold.out. A “fidget what” you say?
That moment when… you get home from a long day in your own job only to find that you now have to finish whatever the teacher couldn’t find time for and subsequently spend 2 hours on the internet trying to remind yourself how to subtract fractions. Or trying to build a ship from empty cardboard boxes.
That moment when… you have to spend more money on wrapping paper you don’t need because the school thinks you have left over wallpaper lying around the house. And your child wants Pokemon. NOT brown postal paper!