The Dreaded P’s of Being A School Parent

Jess McGlynnSeptember 17, 2014

I have been the mother of a child going to school now for a whole year and I am hoping that I’m not alone with the feelings of trepidation which took over the first week that Meg went back.

I was actually torn between tearing my hair out wishing the six week holidays would hurry up and end because I was fast running out of ways to entertain my two errant children and the knowledge that with the school year comes a whole heap of horror fun and games.

Please tell me I’m not alone in this?

I have to admit that I’m not the most organised when it comes to forms and things but seriously, are schools trying to kill off the trees single-handedly?  I cleverly signed up to receive the school’s weekly newsletter by email and yet Meg still comes trotting out each Tuesday bearing the paper version in her hand.  It never gets read and usually ends up in a heap in the footwell of the car.  Of course, it’s rather handy when I realise I’ve forgotten the date of something and can’t find the original email.  I like to think of it as my own little filing system.

Add into that the little scraps of paper such as the ‘Bug busting’ form we get at least once a month (nits is a whole other issue!), the various clubs and gangs that are advertised as well as the lovely creative pictures my daughter draws on a daily basis and I could honestly start my own recycling factory.

Oh, and of course now that my darling daughter is in Year One we also have a homework folder which comes home once a week, complete with yet more paper!

What I would like to do to said pile of paper!

I hate the playground.  I really do.  I never know where to stand and I accidentally sat on the bench used by a faction of mothers of which I am not a part last week.  I still have the heat burns from their eyes to remind me of my error.

Why is it so cliquey?  I thought I had finished with all of that when I left school!  Clearly not.  Mummies of the world, learn to smile.  Seriously.

Well, not really, but you know what I mean.  Those bugs and germs which have previously been off infecting other people suddenly make their way back into your lives.  Eli has only attended his preschool for six days in total and he has already got a cold.


And don’t even get me started on the issue of nits.  We have so far dodged this bullet but I do get the impression there is a large timer hanging over our heads.  It’s only a matter of time.  I just know it.  Either that or I don’t wash my kids hair enough.  I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Evil germs be gone.

Packed Lunches
I was so so pleased when I realised that I didn’t need to make Meg a packed lunch any more.   Thank you Government!  No more warring with the school over why I can’t send my child in with a chocolate biscuit without her being ostracised by the dinner ladies.

Unfortunately, Eli still has to take a packed lunch so I have yet another year of worrying that the teachers are going to be assessing my parenting skills by the quality and quantity of food I send him in with.  When I get into a flap about having enough options squeezed into the lunch box my husband likes to point out that once upon a time, school packed lunches were about ham sandwiches (cut into squares!) and a packet of crisps.  Maybe a penguin bar if it was your lucky day.  He’s so medieval.

I cannot be the only one who is afflicted by a fleeting moment of panic as I pull up to the school gates and wonder if there is something I have forgotten.  Look, there’s a Grandparent accompanying that child into school…oh no!  Is it ‘Bring Your Grandparent To School Day’?!

No…just me then?

When I was at school I would have been mortified if I had forgotten that it was ‘such and such’ day and turned up unequipped and that fear has clearly not gone away.  Now I worry about it on Meg’s behalf.  Of course there was that day last year when she was the only child who turned up in school uniform and not her own clothes, so perhaps the fear is justified!

Do you have any back to school dreads?  I’d love to hear them!

All images courtesy of


  • Kate C

    September 17, 2014 at 18:44

    I LOVE having our newsletter by email. I know I can always always find it because I file it in my outlook folders whereas paper ones get moved or thrown away. And we do not get the paper version! So much more effective than by paper which I'd miss getting some weeks. We do get slips but thats cos if they send out stuff to return, people moan they haven't got a printer. It's been invaluable as the school can quickly send out stuff if necessary – there was an "incident" that happened to a Y6 girl on the way to school last term and something got sent out before lunchtime. And because our newsletter has a complete list of dates, I rarely panic that things aren't forgotten. I am starting to make the kids more responsible for remembering things so it DOES get easier, I promise. At the moment, Missy has to remember her swimming stuff on Tuesdays and a guitar on Wednesdays.

  • Kim Carberry

    September 17, 2014 at 21:01

    Ohhh I'd love to get our newsletter by email….My youngest is terrible for losing hers between the classroom and getting outside at home time. lol

  • Clarina85

    September 17, 2014 at 23:47

    Lol. This made me chuckle.

    Especially the panic!

  • Run For The Quiet

    September 19, 2014 at 08:55

    I wish my daughter's school did email news letters. They don't even update their web calendar. I think they send out smoke signals or something.

  • Tas D

    September 19, 2014 at 09:22

    Hhaha the Grandparent one made me chuckle. I am going to dread the homework one I think. Since Z has started pre-school he used to be constantly snotty for about the first 8 months…then we'd be snotty as soon as he was done having his latest cold. I'm hoping this year we have steely immune systems. Probably not though 🙂

  • Nickie

    September 19, 2014 at 09:31

    aaahhh I remember all those P's – they disappear (mostly) when they go to high school as all communication is sent electronically and they don't seem to get nits! No playground to stand in either, however they then have their own playground battles.

  • LakesSingleMum

    September 19, 2014 at 20:23

    my fears now extended as I don't take kids to school gate at all! they walk on their own on Monday and my parents have them until I collect them late on Thursday. Means that notes in book bags need extra checking…

  • Holly Hollyson

    September 21, 2014 at 16:38

    Ahhh…penguins. I used to love my unhealthy packed lunches – they never did me any harm!! The playground sounds like an awful place to be! Believe it or not, it is the same as a teacher!

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