You know how it goes. And if you don't yet, you soon will.
Every morning, it's the same deal: shouting at kids to get up and dressed, competing with the entrancing lure of YouTube, wiping congealed Weetabix and toothpaste from the front of school jumpers, finding the fecking shoes, the book bags, the lunch boxes....the homework...
SHIT! Did they do the homework. Is it due today? What day is it?? When is P.E??? Reading day?
Strapping the kids in the car, sitting behind the recycling truck along with 300 other parents for ten minutes as standard before breaking free by taking a cheeky left turn.
Then, getting stuck at two sets of traffic lights and the massive Tesco delivery truck that always chooses to deliver its goods bang on 8.45am every fecking day....just to mess with you!
Next: competing for a parking space against the same 300 other parents (not on the zigzags as the asshole traffic warden is lurking), getting kids out of the car, loading up all of their crap onto your shoulders like a pack horse before dragging the kids across the main road, dodging beeping cars as you go. Through the gates, sweating, cursing, crying.....
And they are in!!
YOU DID IT!!!!!
And you?.......well, you look like you've been trampled by a pack of wild boars and then run over by a combine harvester.
You smell like you've been lobbed off a mountain into a mound of sweaty WWE wrestlers and/or horse shit.
Your hair looks like there's animals nesting in it. Your make-up looks like its been applied by a blind drag queen, your shoes don't match and you have Weetabix and banana entrails smudged down your Asda shirt.
People stare. Teachers stare. They judge.It's human nature.
What kind of woman is this? She looks mental!!! Let's not invite her to join the PTA! And her kids, ugh! They must be mental too. Let's NOT have them over for a playdate lest they stink up the place and corrupt my gorgeous perfect children!!
You, without realising it, have been pigeonholed along with the Dad smoking a fag at the school gates. You, like him, are someone to AVOID! You may as well be knocking back a can of Tennents Super and smoking a joint in the yard.....such is the great height that you have unknowingly fallen in people's estimations.
So, TIP number 1:
1. KEEP UP APPEARANCES
Avoid judgmental stares at the school gates by wearing a balaclava...the ultimate item to have at the ready for all school runs.
A balaclava eliminates the need to wash your face, apply make up or run a brush through your hair thus saving you precious minutes in the morning that can be better spent wrestling the Xbox controllers out of your kid's hands before dragging them to the car.
A full length trench coat is also MUST! You can wear whatever the Hell you like under one of these babies; pyjamas, stained tops, giant pants ...even slippers!
On mega stressful days when your really up against the clock, you can even get away without having to put on a bra! BONUS!!
2. BUY UNIFORM IN BULK
Every day your child will return home from school looking like they've been catapulted from an active volcano, dragged through a field of cow dung and PVA glue, then doused in semi-skimmed milk.
Forget buying fancy, expensive uniform from M&S or Prada. Forget the 'tumble dryer friendly' and 'crease resistant' labels that add mega bucks to the price tag... it's all LIES!!!
LIES, I tell you!!
I know that you want your child to look smart but you are fighting a losing battle! So, get down to ASDA and bulk buy as many trousers and T-shirts that you can afford and fill your cupboards to the brim with them. They are cheap and therefore they are disposable on the truly filthy days (of which there will be MANY) This will spare your sanity and prevent your washing machine from exploding.
Also invest in a Karcher power hose. They are.GREAT for getting those stubborn mud/paint/permanent marker stains out of your children's skin! Far more effective than Johnson's bubble bath......or bleach.
3. BUY CHEAP AND BUY TWICE.
Forget shelling out £40 on a pair of Clarks school shoes.
Yes, Clarks are probably good for your child's feet, but essentially, whether you've spent £40 at Clarks or £8 in Asda, all shoes look the same once your child has waded throw a swamp in torrential rain playing Zombie Attack in the yard.
Buy cheap as you'll HAVE to buy more than twice.
Probably FIVE times throughout the course of an academic year. I'm serious.
4. DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
Spending hours labelling your kid's clothes is a waste of time! Despite having the very best of intentions, your child will inevitably come home wearing two different shoes, a cardigan belonging to Maisie and a pair of 'My Little Pony' pants that you've never clapped eyes on before.
So, save your precious time. Let it go.
Charlie's socks still ended up on my son's feet despite his mother sewing labels onto them individually.(What a woman, eh??)
But that is time that she could have spent drinking Chardonnay straight from the bottle. With a curly wurly straw.
5. AMAZON PRIME WILL SAVE YOUR ASS
When you are at work and get an email from the school at 10am saying that your child has to be dressed as a King the following day, you are going to need Amazon Prime on your side. Believe me!! These emails will come thick and fast and will shower you like bullets from an automatic gun on a daily basis. So, you MUST be prepared!!
Your child will not forgive you if he turns up to school in a bin bag and a crown that you pulled out of last year's Christmas Cracker. An effort so poor has the power to destroy your kid's reputation for the rest of his school days!
Excuse the swearing but the kids that win are the ones whose parents Amazon-Primed the SHIT out of it!!
NB. It's always worth having a Shepherd's costume, a Christmas jumper, a new set of Pyjamas, a witches hat, a Superhero costume and a 'Where's Wally' costume in your cupboards. Trust me. You're going to need them.
Don't even try and work with what you already have in the wardrobe. You will NEVER get away with using the French maid outfit that you bought to wear on your wedding anniversary last year. Nor will you make use of the bright green mankini that you got your husband for Christmas as a joke.
You need to invest.... in more than a bin bag. Your child's happiness is at stake!!
6. AVOID A VISIT FROM SOCIAL SERVICES
If you are planning on giving your child packed lunches, make sure that you throw in some healthy food so that the dinner ladies won't think that you are a terrible mother/father.
Don't feel bad when you end up throwing all of these cherry tomatoes away at the end of the day. The very best parents in the country have bins full to the brim of squashed tomatoes (smothered in Petit Filous with crumbs of Pickled Onion Monster Munch stuck to them)
It may feel like a waste of money, but those squashed tomatoes are keeping social services away from your door!!
7. DON'T SINK.... SWIM!!!!!
The admin involved in having a child at school is outrageous. If you are not organised, you will undoubtedly drown in the volume of letters home, along with the twenty emails a day and 400 messages on the Yr2 Whatsapp group.
If you are not suitably trained in administration, you may want to consider hiring a full time administrative assistant to deal with the load. However, if this is not an affordable option then you must do what I do;
Designate a corner of your kitchen to stack the paperwork.
Then, when you've missed sending in the trip money, missed the 'send-your-child-into-school-in-their-pyjamas-with-a-pound-so-that-we-can-pay-for-a-new-carpet-for-the-staff-room' letter and missed the letter home telling you that half of your child's class has nits, you'll quickly be able to locate the letter in question and immediately learn the full extent of your crapness whilst knocking back a bottle of wine before slathering on the nit lotion.
FYI....the only time to drag a nit comb through your child's head is when you've had at least half a bottle of Pinot....whilst wearing a set of state-of-the-art ear noise cancelling headphones.
If you don't have any, get some NOW! Amazon-Prime the SHIT out it!!