The summer school holidays stretch on forever don’t they, but suddenly September arrives; no preamble, no warning & no hope of finding that mandatory pair of black school shoes for your youngest offspring.
The pressure starts to build from around June with exam time; the pressure of ‘will I get my choice of secondary school’ or ‘will I get the grades I need’ and ‘what will mum and dad say about my school report’ etc.
Then with July comes Sports Day, end of term play, Speech Day & Prize Giving. It’s a relentless barrage of school related trauma as parents juggle and squabble as to who goes to what.
So with all this going on, the prospect of it coming to a sudden and complete halt sometime in July is something of a relief for both parents and children.
But with the end of the term timetable comes the end of the structure you have relied on for weeks; when order and well being collapse to be replaced with dis-order, anarchy and lack of direction (except for those parents wise enough to organise holiday clubs).
You may have your 2 weeks in Portugal or Plymouth planned, you may even be fortunate enough to have two long breaks planned; but at some point – usually one day before the term starts, you are faced with sorting out new uniform, new school shoes, trainers, football boots, bags, stationery…..the list is endless.
Then of course there’s the last night of the holidays, when your little darlings are still in holiday mode and running around like feral cats whilst you are planning packed lunches, school bus times, drop off/pick up, etc.
Generally around midnight peace descends giving you just enough time to sew name labels onto all those new clothes…you’ve forgotten haven’t you?
Name labelling – the bane of every mother’s life (oh come on, how many men out there do this job?!) Of course some go for the iron on labels, but let’s be honest, they don’t work and your child will make it their mission in school life to try and pick it off (that along with the scabs that have perfectly formed on their knees, elbows, ankles, etc).
Yup, it will be around 3am before you have finished, giving you enough time to brush your teeth & have a quick shower before getting breakfast lined up.
So is it any wonder when you wave your pride and joys off on the school bus or give them a hug at the school gate, that your whole body & mind deflates like a huge blown-up balloon that you finally manage to undo the knot; as you sink into the driver’s seat of your car, the chair at the kitchen table or for that matter, collapse in a heap on the bed?
Yup, school summer holidays are fantastic as they loom ever closer on the ‘end of school year’ horizon, but that first day of a new term when the quietness descends on your house and mind like a blanket of snow, means your sanity, having retreated in terror 6 weeks earlier, returns unscathed; the misdemeanours and vile behaviour of your children are forgotten and even though they’ve only been at school for 3 days in that first week, you are looking forward to the weekend to spend some quality time with the little wretches!