From other parents at the school gate, to hangry kids, and pick up radio silence – here’s how I feel being a school run mum. While promising not to be a Karen, there’s a few things I’ve noticed that work for us over the years. One to Six from my children starting school and number seven coming in after feeling like we have started all over again post lockdown!
1. What Did You Do Today?
You no longer know every detail of their day. Now I know that’s pretty obvious, but I still found it odd. After being together every minute, or in childcare where they hand over and fill in the details of your child’s day at pick up, it feels strange to then know nothing. Once the handover becomes your child’s domain, mine quickly turned into one worders. “What did you do today?” generally got met with “Can’t remember” or “I played” mostly followed up with “what’s for dinner?”
Now my kids are older I have one chatty Cathy who pretty much tells me his every moment blow by blow on the walk home (so we have gone to the other extreme) but in those early days, I found a couple of things that made it easier. Waiting to ask until they’d had a snack and drink helped, or asking more specific open questions.
One thing I started when my youngest went into reception that we still do now sometimes, is going round the table at dinner asking for the best, worst and funniest moment of the day.
It gives a flavour at least and also occasionally brings up if something is worrying them.
2. Day One Tears
Everyone’s motherhood journey is their own, for me my children starting school felt one of the biggest milestones of parenthood so far, yet even then I wasn’t prepared for the tidal wave of emotion that hit me on their first day.
I felt my kids were ready, I wasn’t dreading the separation, and I was absolutely looking forward to a bit of time alone – Yet watching them walk in a backpack on, one shiny shoe in front of the other, both times I was shocked at how much it threw me.
My friend gave me the advice to make sure I had my sunglasses on day one and I was really glad to pop those on as I turned out of the gate to hide behind. I guess all I’m trying to say is however you feel, whatever emotions it brings, don’t stress and before you know it the school routine all becomes second nature and feels very normal.
3. School Mums
Mums at the school gate, this has always been a positive experience for me, but it is definitely a weird new social situation to begin with. Where to stand on the first day? Should you say hello? It’s a few years in for me and I would say it’s definitely worth making the effort. You are all going to be together for a very long time.
In both my children’s classes, one of the other mums has set up an online group for the parents and it really is handy. Nothing fancy, one is on What’s App and the other Facebook but for those late-night moments when you can’t remember if it’s a non-uniform day, the timing of a club, or even finding someone to pick up your kids when you are running late, it’s been a real lifesaver for me. I’d def recommend getting one set up as soon as you can, the other parents will thank you for it.
4. Totes Emosh
The tiredness is not what I expected – I anticipated tired little legs and kids flopping straight down in front of the tv after school, nope not in my house. My children were crazy tired when they started reception, but also weirdly charged at the same time.
It was like they had ants in their pants, wanting to do all sorts, but not being able to fully focus on anything and crazy emotional at the same time. I found half an hour outside really helped.
Playing in the garden, a quick trip to feed the ducks or tear about on their scooters at the park was good for getting it all out before going home.
Only second to the tiredness is the hunger. Woe betide if I forget a snack at pick up. It’s as if they haven’t eaten for days when they come out. Especially because we have a bit of a walk home, mine definitely get hangry if they have to wait till they get in. However small, I always take a snack and drink at pick up.
6. TFI Friday
In the early days, it felt a good day for playdates, or dinner out to celebrate the end of the week, but actually by the time Friday swings around my kids are done. I made that mistake a few times and it generally ended in tears. Even now that they are bit older Fridays in our house are still mostly saved for a picky tea on their laps in front of a film. I’m all for a fun-packed weekend, but in our house, they generally need to begin with a chilled Friday to recharge.
7. Lockdown Back to school 2021 – Tired as toddlers all over again
I feel like we have been hit by a emotional tornado. Going back to school after an extended lockdown is definitely a shock to the system! Nothing I’ve learnt to share on this one so far – Just a whirlwind first week with overexcited and overtired children to contend with. I can’t moan really, they have absolutely loved being back and the joy at just seeing them muck about and be with their friends really is magical.
I guess the only thing I’ve been trying to tell myself at the end of week one is to try and let the little things go and not rise to bait when they spoiling for an argument! – Being thrust back in the school environment after nine weeks of not interacting in the same way, adjusting to all the rules and routines all over again, has been hard. They have both come home more than once this week like tightly wound little bombs, just waiting for that trigger to explode. So far, snacks, screens and cuddles are helping to ease the transition
There’s nothing worse than a Karen full of mum advice and do’s and don’ts, everyone is different, and I certainly haven’t got it all figured out. All I want to get across is that if you are about to enter the world of being a school run – I hope you enjoy this new chapter with a little more freedom for everyone.
Enjoy it, embrace the beautiful silence of being on your own and know however old they get, they will still always be your baby.
Some more blog posts you might like…
Being a Lockdown Mum – Our Weird New Normal From the noise and mess to baking & phone obsession’s, here are the 10 things I’ve learned being a family in Lockdown
Kids rainy day activities for fun at home – here are our favourite boredom busters
Ideas and Printables for zoom activities for Kids – My children have also loved keeping in touch with family and friends on video chats. We have tried lots of different games and quizzes. I have made some into printables you can download here.
We are really lucky to have a big garden space to play in, and like many we have a trampoline that the kids LOVE to bounce on. With so many hours to fill right now, I’ve written a post here with 6 fun things to do on a trampoline.