I was inducted into the dark world of the school run a little over a year ago. If I’d have known what I know now I sometimes wonder whether if I’d have joined the motherhood at all.
Ha! 'Weakling arse badger' you think. Hashtag cocking ‘first world problems’ you blast. Well, please, let me introduce you to 10 terrifying secrets of the school run.
2. Breaking the law Dropping and collecting your child at school will cause you to break the law. I’ve done and witnessed countless criminal acts in the bid for parents to catapult their kid through the gates on time, including, pavement parking, off roading, traffic cone removal and – yes I’m guilty - the tossing aside of large rocks, logs and other detritus residents put on verges to prevent parents parking outside their property. If it can be moved, it will be moved motherf*cker.
3. Five minute meltdown – There is no way to avoid the five minute meltdown before you leave the house to do the school run. You can try but it won’t happen.
I’ve woken up half an hour earlier, showered the night before, set out the school uniform in the shape of a small human, time travel - nothing works. The last five minutes before you leave the house will always descend into a screamy, stompy rapid fire question round: ‘Where’s your tie? Oh my god, where is it? Where are your shoes? Put them on. For God's sake, why’s there toothpaste on your jumper? Wait, don’t move, there’s a pterodactyl in your hair.’
The five minute meltdown pretty much always spills out onto the street just when your neighbour decides to faff about with their green bin.
5. School run buddies – Like all new journeys in life, starting school, going to college etc. the school run requires you to buddy up to make it through. A quick word of warning. Choose your school run chums carefully. These people will see you for 10 minutes twice a day at your best and your worst for the next seven years.
In just 12 months my school run buddies have seen me hungover, emotional, giddy, sick, with make up, without make up, angry and elated. The good news is this crash course in bonding means you've probably made friends for life. Or blackmailers - it just depends how you look at it.
6. Judgey, judgey – The playground is a cold, unforgiving environment. Because you don’t know people’s names the labelling starts very early on. For example, in my circle, there’s ‘Fruit shoot mum’,‘Loomy Dad’ and I’m ashamed to say ‘Hooters mum’ who has a habit of wearing crop tops irrespective of climate or occasion. Just know that they all have names for you too and you’ll all get along fine.
7. It will make you cry – Sometimes the fraught, time sensitive journey will reduce you to tears.
I had my first Michael Douglas Falling Down moment a few weeks ago. I was late, stuck in traffic when a school coach wedged me in. The coach driver grumpily ushered me to reverse back along a road lined with parked cars. It was too much. I knew I was in the wrong but I rolled down my window and loaded 12 barrels of f-you in his direction. Then I cried.
8. You will see dead things – At some point you will come across a dead thing on a school run. Dead things have a habit of dying on verges in the early hours. This means early decomposition coincides perfectly with your morning walk to school. Be prepared for questions and even curious stick poking.
9. Dads on the school run – in 2015 Dads doing the school run is a very normal occurrence. However, Dads tend to have their own set of rules which I quite admire. They operate like lone wolves. A common technique is to walk in confident, avoid eye-contact, grab the kid and get hell out of dodge. That's it - in and out without so much as a f*ckety-bye.
10. All weathers - It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing because your child’s school will have its own micro-climate. Prepare for rain and the playground becomes a back-sweat inducing sun-trap, prepare for sun and torrential rain will ensue. My advice is wear waders with everything.
School run fun? What’s your experience? Also if you like this please do share innit.