We’re in the last year of primary school this year. Year 6. The 6 and a bit years have flown by so fast, and generally they’ve been really good. Being a primary school mum is definite stage in our parenting life.
When you have a child in primary school, there’s not much getting away from the whirlwind that includes phonics, new maths methods, reading schemes, spelling tests, school lunches, sports days, Christmas plays, non uniform days and PTA fundraising. Not forgetting the politics and the gripes over certain subjects that kids aren’t keen on. Phew.
Here’s some of the ways you know you’re a primary school mum.
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You know you’re a primary school mum when…
You give up polishing shoes and use black Sharpies* to make the shoes look less scuffed.
You also buy good properly fitted school shoes in August, then revert to cheaper supermarket versions in the summer half term when their feet outgrow the old shoes.
When the head teacher asks for a quick word after/before school, you straight away worry and wonder ‘What have I done?’.
You have a stash of your child’s artwork in various drawers…then secretly pop them in the recycling when your child’s forgotten about them.
You dread seeing the school office number appearing on your phone…they usually say ‘it’s nothing serious’ as soon as you answer to try and put your mind at ease.
You dread junk modelling coming home.
It’s been a sunny day, but you know if it rains, it’ll be at school pick up time.
You have to sit on the child size chairs at parents’ evening…and struggle to get up from them at the end.
You know you need to check in book bags/folder for letters daily…until you’ve got your child well trained in producing them the same day they’re handed out.
You rely on multiple emails (ours are Monday and Friday, and sometimes urgent emails inbetween) to remember what’s going on.
There’s been plenty of occasions when you’ve only realised the night before that your child needs a costume/specific food/other item for the next morning.
Provision of costumes needed 1-2 times a year. You wonder whether your child will cope being the only one in a homemade costume when the others are in shop bought ones (yes he/she will!).
You’ve heard of Biff, Chip and Kipper* and their magic key. It’s a love/hate thing with those books.
Dredging your memory of your old maths skills, your child tells you they don’t do maths like that anymore. They end up teaching you rather than you helping them with homework.
It doesn’t take long before your child’s pale polo shirt has random stains that won’t come out.
You’ve had to do at least one head lice check and it’s made you itch your head too.
Being part of a ‘class’ Whatsapp group and knowing there’s bound to be a drama at some point.
You know what phonics and digraphs are.
Despite having English A level and having studied English for part of your university degree, the first time you’ve heard of a fronted adverbial is when your child asks you and you need to look it up.
You set off to pick your child up way earlier than needed, in order to get a parking spot somewhere near the school…or in my case we’ve had drive through pick ups, so we have to hit it on or after 3.15 (not before).
For the first six months of each school year, you despair at all the new parents who don’t seem to be able to drive down the narrow lane without driving up on the verge because they’re too scared.
You learn to time uniform buying for the uniform sale slots in early summer and hope that they don’t grow too much over the holidays.
You’ve got shoe shop shopping down to an art with timings. Not too early, not too late so you know they won’t grow again before school starts.
Breaktime snacks start off being proper fruit or carrot sticks. By year 5, they’re taking in yoghurt flakes.
Trying to be efficient and plan World Book Day costumes early is a waste of time, because your child will change their mind 2 days before. You have a stock list of the easiest costumes ready.
You buy sew in name tapes for reception like you had as a child. A year later you’ve moved onto sticky labels (or even stamps).
Open morning is the best – you get to see your child’s work books in the classroom and have a nosy at the sort of things they get up to.
You never have spare change in your purse for all the non uniform days and fund raising events. Instead you find yourself leaving IOUs in your child’s savings jar.
However much you try to train your child to remove and clean out their lunchbox at the end of every day, they won’t. You need to remember, otherwise you’ll get to the end of the school holidays and find a mouldy apple core or sandwich left in it.
However strong you are, you find yourself welling up at the nativity play before anyone’s even said anything. Each year.
Your child being awarded Learner or Star of the Week is such a proud moment. Even though they can’t remember what it was awarded for.
You’ve had to make at least 1 visit to the school’s lost property box.
Someone mistakenly ended up taking your child’s water bottle home. Weeks later you spot them using it and have to claim it back.
Your child comes home from a 4 day residential with most of their clothes still folded the same way they were when you packed them.
School socks seem to disappear by the first half term.
For some reason you end up finding extra school uniform in your child’s bag which he knows nothing about. It’s usually a girl’s cardigan.
You have at least one worrying moment about whether your child is making friends.
However much you set out everything the night before, you’ll still be rushing around 2 minutes before you have to leave the house in the morning.
There’s permanently bags of old clothes and textiles in your house waiting for the next Bags2Schools donation date.
You know your child will want a snack on coming home from school, even when tea is only 1 1/2 hours away.
What makes you know you’re a primary school mum?