Thursday, 23 August 2012


I have been led to believe by other mothers - including my own mother -  that when your kids go to school, life gets easier. 'Oh, it'll be fine when he's at school!' they say, cheerily, when I complain about my stuttering, collapsing clown car of a career. 'Don't worry, he'll knuckle down and grow up when he goes to school!', they say, when I catch him sticking a pencil in his ear. 'You'll have all the time in the world - you can write novels and paint delicate watercolours and ride a dappled horse on a moonlit beach when he's at school'. And so on and so on.  But since he started his first half-day sessions on Wednesday, I am alternating between being busy, overwhelmed, bored, depressed, proud, happy, frustrated and having no idea what I'm doing. Here is a list of things that are freaking me out, in real time, right now.


1. First off, you've got to get up early EVERY DAY. No more putting on a Spongebob DVD and then returning to that brilliant sexy dream you were having about Paul Rudd. Did I say Paul Rudd? I meant, my husband* (*my husband, Paul Rudd). By the way, here's a clip of him and me, earlier.

2. My son's school appears to be obsessed with making them wear shirts and ties and smart trousers and having their picture taken constantly. Oh, the ironing, the sorting, the name tagging, the straightening and the fussing. I feel like a wardrobe assistant on Newsnight. ('Get me Clegg's trousers. No, not the grey ones - the GREY ones!')

3. It requires social interaction with adults in the morning! When you haven't even had your second cup of tea! Attempting to be funny! Making small talk! Asking after people! Remembering what they say! Gaaaaah! What am I? Graham Norton?

4. Where I live, there is a settling-in period at school, which means half days for 2 and a half godforsaken weeks. Half days of pain. Of teeny weeny rushed mornings, followed by tired tantrummy trauma and long, long afternoons. God knows how I find the time to write rubbish moany-arsed lists like this.

5. The trauma of change. I didn't cry in the playground, and I managed not to have a total meltdown in the school outfitters shop, or in the hairdressers, and I didn't even blub when I saw him for the first time in a pair of school shorts and his shiny new school shoes. But that doesn't mean I'm not deeply traumatised. I don't like change. I don't even like it when someone moves a piece of furniture, or I don't have my special pizza in Pizza Express, or they've run out of Frubes at the Co-op.

6. My child has started pretending he's a teacher. That means when I'm writing anything he asks me: 'do you do it this way?' *penetrating look* 'Or this way?' 'Do you start from the top, or from the side?' 'Very good!' It's weirdly instructional, like a junior Christian Grey. 'Would you like to come into my red room of Jollyphonics?'

7. Oh yeah, they do Jollyphonics. I will jollyphonics yo ass. That's A (apple, ant) S S (snake movements). My kid doesn't know whether he's learning to read or whether he's a reptile.

8. Then there's the letters to the parents. So many letters, all in COMIC SANS. Oh, my eyes. I am font sensitive, people. I'm going to lobby the parent council to get them to switch it Arial as a matter of the utmost urgency.

9. I have a problem with authority. In that I'm obsessed with pleasing authority and not getting into trouble. This leads to much stressful faffing, trying to please a teacher who is about ten years younger than me and probably couldn't even beat me at a cut-throat game of Connect 4.

10. Did I mention the Comic Sans? 

Anyway, I'm sure it'll all be fine. I am in a period of flux. I'm sure I will get used to the rushing and the fretting and the letters and the homework, and when he gets to do full days, I will be on easy street, hanging out with the other mums, drinking Lambrini at the gates. Make it happen soon, though - I can stand any more worrying about creases in all those identical grey pairs of trousers... 


  1. Lol - yeah it doesn't get much easier although I did make my life harder by having more of the blighters! You also need to look forward to your son turning into a complete know it all, the teacher giving him an opinion you don't agree with but you can't diss the teacher or you undermine the school's authority. Then there is the worry about little Jack being on book 4 whilst yours is only in book 2 etc etc

  2. The comic sans and the talking to other adults in the morning worry me the most.

  3. I love and hate school time. I love when the bus pulls away with most of my kids in it, off to do something so much more valuable than what I had planned (TV). But then they come back with requests for school snacks and sign-up sheets for second grade origami instruction. Soon I'm rushing to the car after the bus leaves, off to buy bits of things they need for a class party, a sporting event, my own hand-crafted mother's day card.

    But I still smile when that bus pulls away and, for a few moments, I'm free.

  4. Wait till you get corralled into the Hell that is the PTA or the Parents' Council. If I die and go to hell, it will be an endless Co-op checkout bag pack that awaits me.

    Make the most of your couple of hours free time - lie on the sofa with Matthew Wright and a pot of coffee and say that you're 'researching'.

    Mine went off to secondary school last week. That gives me a whole extra hour for facebook on weekdays *high fives anyone passing*

  5. Sadly it gets worse. In a few weeks, you'll have to start doing everything the way teacher's says we have to ... and then there's being hauled up in front of the principal for a 'talking to'.

    Although that's no so bad now that I think of it. Tends to make me feel at least 20 years younger with serious overtones of deja vu.

    Good luck!


  6. Just wait until you meet Biff and Chip!!!!!