Back to School

It’s not even September so it’s hard to believe it’s back to school time already.

And yet photographs of our kiddies dressed in oversized uniforms while standing proudly on the front doorstep are popping up on social media.

I know we all complain about keeping the little people occupied over the summer, but it seems to me like it has all flown by far too quickly.

If I’m being honest, give me a bored six-year-old over the utter madness of homeworks, school runs and after school clubs any day of the week.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who ends up a sweaty mess washing the chlorine out of their children’s hair after swimming.

Thanks to unisex changing rooms that open straight out to the swimming pool, the whole process is more like an extreme sport.

In all seriousness, how do you shower one child without your crazy toddler throwing himself in the swimming pool when your back is turned?

I look around, extremely hot and even more bothered, and everyone else seems to have their shit together while I’m losing the will to live.

I’m telling you, if learning to swim wasn’t an essential life skill, I would have put a stop to it after the first lesson last year.

That brings me to time keeping.

Anyone who knows me knows being on time isn’t a life skill I possess – for some reason I underestimate how long everything is going to take.

I struggled to get myself up and out when it was just me, but now there are two humans who rely on me to get them fed and dressed, and make sure they have all the coats and bags they will need to get them through the day, well, it seems it’s beyond me.

But is it really just me who runs out the front door in the morning, leaving beds unmade and breakfast dishes on the kitchen table, and only just about makes it to the school gates on time?

And am I the only one who has told their child it’s a different day just so I don’t have to take them to swimming or dancing or gymnastics or whatever other club is on that particular day?

The world doesn’t stop as soon as school stops for the summer – I still have to work – but the daily schedule seems a lot more relaxed in July and August compared to the rest of the year.

So, Mumbreakable has spoken to some mums to get their top tips to smash back to school financially, physically and emotionally…

Lindsey Benson, a researcher and mum-of-two boys, says: “Forward planning is key.

At the weekend, I confirm and double check events, locations and other people’s availability to see if I can share lifts with other parents, or if my husband can help out with getting the kids to where they need to be.

“I write everything down in a diary as soon as I get it – for at least a month in advance.”

Claire Oliver, a mum-of-two and a civil servant, says: “I have a cupboard in the porch and both kids have a drawer.

“Their school bags, PE bags, scarves, hats, everything they need goes in there as soon as they walk in the door, so we don’t end up running round the house at the last minute looking for something we need.”

Zara McAleese, a teacher and mum-of-three, says: “Have all bags packed and uniforms set out and packed lunches in the fridge the night before.

Make sure and do it every single night!”

Edele McFlynn, who is behind the Mumlifewith6 blog, says: “Well, basically I’m going to reuse jumpers that are still in good shape, stationary is going to be kept to a minimum and shared amongst them all.

I’ve been trying to convince them to use last year’s bag also, I’m washing them all up to see how they turn out.

The youngest girl is starting P1, so she will get new stuff, but definitely not the rest!”

Joanne Holland, who has two kids and is a stay-at-home mum, says: “I use Stamptastic stamps to name all their uniform and bits and pieces.

They’re so quick and easy.

You just order the names you want and some of their special ink and it takes about five minutes to get the uniforms done.”

Emma Quinn, a mum-of-three and a web designer, says: “I make sure and get all the uniforms washed over the weekend.

“It might seem a bit decadent but I have five pairs of tights or socks and five t-shirts for each kid so I don’t have to worry about that all week.

“Then I have two pairs of trousers or two skirts and jumpers each so there is always a spare and I don’t have to panic wash in the middle of the week.”

Caroline Young, a nurse who has a teenage daughter and a son going into primary two, says: “I do a menu plan for the next week.

I sit down and look at every day and where we have to be and what time, so I know what time dinner will be at and how long I have to make it, and tailor the menu accordingly.

I make meals the night before if I have to that can be heated up easily.

I also have a noticeboard in the kitchen and I write the meals for the week ahead on it, so if I happen to be out, my husband can see what we’re supposed to be having for dinner and get it started.

The most important thing is to take a chill pill and not stress too much if you miss a week of a club, class or activity.

It’s really not the end of the world.”

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