Tuesday, March 13, 2012


We're into week six of my eldest child's first year of school. And what a learning curve it's been.

So far he's learnt that school is every. single. day. And it goes for a loooong time. Each day we must wear a uniform, pack our bags, brush our teeth, and even put a comb through our hair. There's no time for ABC 4 Kids, and we must eat our breakfast quickly. Every day there is something special happening: PMP programs, French, Art, Library, Sport, Life Education, Cooking. But most of all, we have to remember to be on time, keep quiet when sitting on the mat, hold hands when we go anywhere within the school, put our hands up before talking, ask before going to the toilet, learn the name of our Grade 5 buddy, remember to pack library books and readers... oh, and learn how to read and write.

No wonder my little lad is tired by Tuesday.

While I'm not wanting to take away the huge things my five year old has undertaken in the past few weeks, it's no wonder I'm tired by Tuesday.

The amount of mail that comes home in my child's backpack is enormous. The help required is never-ending. Help at the tuck shop? Support the cooking program? Join the school council? Help read in class (after the required three-day literacy and numeracy training)? Photocopy the school newsletter? Support the maths-a-thon? Bring an egg (or two) for the easter raffle? Attend the teacher/parent meet BBQ? Participate in the school working bee?*

Oh my.

Not that I'm complaining. But I confess I'm w-aaay behind the eight-ball. Hang on. I'm not even sure where the eight-ball is.

So far I've missed the most important assembly for the year, crazy hair day (a fundraiser), and The Teddy Bear's Picnic.

I was feeling like a very bad mummy indeed, because I thought I had read all the memos, the newsletters, the school website, and yet I still managed to miss so much.

Until I spoke to another mum. (At the aforementioned assembly which we happened to stumble upon because we were late to school that day.) Her words will be tattooed inside my brain for years to come:

"In my first daughter's first year of school, I almost had a nervous breakdown. There was so much to learn. And that was just me."

You cannot understand the relief I felt after hearing that.

Not that I was expecting to just drop my kids off and have them babysat by teachers who I have an immense new respect for. I want to be involved in my son's education. I want to be part of the school community.

I just didn't know how involved I needed to be.

It's a massive lesson for my son and I. And while my son will adjust in no time, I suspect it might just take me all year to get into the swing of things.

On the up-side, at least I'm good at packing lunches.

How did you survive your eldest child's first year of school? Did you breeze through, or struggle like me?

* I promise, I'm not exaggerating. Not even a little bit. All this - plus the things I missed - in just five weeks of school. And that's just prep. If my son was in Grade 3, there would also be the Stephanie Alexander cooking program, interschool sports, and the chook program. I'm sure I've missed some things seeing my child is actually not in Grade 3. But I'm taking notes for later.


  1. I hear you, 'parent class room training' this thurs, canteen duty the following. And I thought having my baby in creche once a week mean't I might get a break, lol. It's all good. My mum worked full time as a single mum and we'd have done anything for her to have been available to do canteen, hence my need to do it now for my children. But yes friday is definitely my rest day. kinda, sorta, if you know what I mean.

  2. It is indeed an eye-popper Kymmie and I'm a teacher so you'd think I'd be 'au fait' with it all.

    You'll get into a rhythm no doubt and as for those other Mum's - treasures!


  3. Have not survived it yet! Stumbling along with you - hang on, shite, it is 3pm. I have to pick her up...again!!!!

  4. I dived right in for the first four years of Sapphire's school - passed the 'police check' that allowed me to work with children as I went in to hear kids read; ran a weekly jewellery (yep, that I made myself) fund raising stall, planned and hosted a quiz night, car boot sales, fete day, book week ....

    ...then when she was in year five and we were in Melbourne, I gave myself permission to focus on my paid job and not volunteer for anything and everything, otherwise it becomes assumed that you'll be there to do everything always.

  5. I was going to say that I guess it will get easier with time but I am not actually sure that's true...
    He looks so much like you :-)))

  6. Oh god! It's not just me!! I was just saying to another mum today how I need "parent training for school kids" as I feel so under the pump! Plus I just had to worst play date experience with a new mum and her child! It was excruciating!!! I think i will have to blog a post about my experience to gauge other people's responses!!! I'm not cut out to be a school mum!!! no sirr-eee!

  7. i dread all the mail that comes back with the children. its ALWAYS something that requires me to send money back to the school. Last week, it was 'ice cream day' and every child was supposed to take back a certain amount of money the next day to school. How it was going to be spent, what the children would be doing... none of this is explained. it drives me nuts. and i feel like i am the only parent who asks questions at the school... why this and why that... so i am thinking i should just go with the flow ...?

  8. I bet, just like learning to tie shoelaces, that it's getting easier, little bit by little bit.
    And now you have a well earned 'Mummy break' with the Easter holidays upon us - I hope you all enjoy some fabulous time together.

    Happy weekend and thank you for joining in with this first 'Post Of The Month' Club by the beach.

    PS: Reading back through this post and then seeing my comment made me recall that you were the inspiration for the 'au fait' word of the week entry - thank you...as ever!

  9. Was it like this for our moms? It is a busy schedule for me as well at school. I don't know how this works when both parents are working. Hang in there!


Thank you for your thoughtful and positive words and taking the time to comment. Love Kymmie. xx