Being A School-Mum Is Quite Involved And Kind Of Annoying.

by Lori Dwyer on June 20, 2013 · 23 comments

Being the mother of a primary school-aged child is so… involved.

Part of me (only a small part, but still, a part), is vaguely nostalgic for the days of last year, when I had two kids at home full time and I had full discretionary control over where we went, and when, and it never mattered much if we were late. Back when my biggest responsibility outside of directly caring for the kidlets was occasionally bringing a communal morning tea to playgroup.

Six months later, and I’m overwhelmed with all this… stuff. The school runs discos and excursions, cake stalls and Mother’s Day stalls. There’s Harmony Day, Easter hat parades, Book Week, and various fundraisers for various things.

And mufti days. Mufti days may be the absolute bane of my existence. The Chop’s primary school has a particular love for them. The P&C, or whoever makes these decisions, declares ‘Mufti Day!’ gleefully every few weeks sometimes with, quite literally, two days notice.

(Does that sound like the kind of bitterness of a mum who’s forgotten a mufti day, more than once? If you think that… you’re absolutely correct. As we’ve established, I’m not good at this being-a-grown-up thing.)

The reason I’ve missed two mufti days (both successfully saved by living only two minutes away from the school) and a smattering of other school-involved activities is, quite simply, that I just can’t keep up with the constant flow of paperwork that comes, crumpled and ominously threatening, at the bottom of the Chop’s school bag. Every. Damn. Day. Newsletters. Permission slips. Information notes. Home reading cards.

And homework.

The kid is five years old, and we spend half an hour on homework every night. The Chop doesn’t mind it, so, I tell myself, neither do I. But, really, I’m not even sure how I feel about that.

Six hours of school, five days a week… at the age he is, isn’t that enough?

Anyway. That’s probably topic for another blog post, on another day.

I’ve discovered that- apart from the skills of someone far more organised than me, who uses spreadsheets and calendars and stuff- being a school mum requires two things. One is a purse full of loose change. With constant fundraisers comes the constant need for one and two dollar coins.

That, I can do.

The other requirement seems to be school spirit and a bit of rah-rah-let’s-get-involved–ness; required for events such as weekend fetes, movie nights, information sessions and family maths carnivals (don’t ask me what that is… I didn’t go).

All those things fall in the same sphere as the dreaded school pick up and being a grown up.

They are all things that I’m not sure I’m very good at. I’m not sure if that matters, or not.

I’m telling myself… probably not.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Pink June 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

A planner is my friend.
So is giving myself a break and just not making it to everything.
I don’t do the P&C, or canteen duty. I do help out in class once a week, I like that because I get to interact with Bluey’s classmates, and see how the classroom is run. I’m a stickybeak.
Notes get signed and sent off the same day they come home, and any notes with dates needing reminding gets filled into my planner (dates, times, places, things needed etc.). Notes are sent to the recycling bin that same afternoon, so I HAVE to be on top of it that afternoon. I usually take care of it while Bluey does his homework.
Even with all that I still forget sometimes.
Maybe try putting it into your phone with a reminder set for 8am that morning?
Biggest tip though is you do it as soon as you get the note or it won’t make it any place and you won’t remember.
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Anne June 22, 2013 at 1:33 am

With 5 kids the amount of fundraising… some mandatory and then the folks that ask me to help out (I want to but I really don’t have time when the flow of stuff is coming in at the rate of a freight train and then kids getting sick, cars needing repair… animals needing fed, laundry and then the occasional need for a break for myself?) I’m absolutely wondering some days why I can’t do and then I remember … there is so much to do!!!! I’m not an organizational wiz and I wonder if I could be with all this? Thanks for posting Lori!


Suzy Mac June 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Oh my dog! I am soo feeling it. I have just come back from a school excursion herding 30 wild-kindergarteners around the aqarium. I was emergency back-up-mummy-helper& got the call as we were heading off for the morning school run. They assigned me one kid who was “a runner” & I still had the dog’s lead in my bag- just begging to be clipped on. (that would have been a ticket to the principal’s office 4sure) Now I have to start on my morning chores (3:30pm) I’ve plonked she-who-worships-pink in front of the TV to rest and wouldnt u know it-bloody Mister Maker is comming on. God help, me I cannot WILL NOT, start a craft project….


Lee J June 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I’m hearing you sista xxx


FunMumX3 June 21, 2013 at 12:11 am

Lori… two words BIG CALENDAR!!!!! Assuming that you’re mostly at home and don’t need it be portable, get a big-big-ass wall calendar and the only discipline you need is to grab those notes as they come in, mark it on the calendar and then it’s staring you in the face every time you walk in to the kitchen. Better still, you start to ask the Chop to look at the calendar tomorrow and thus gradually transfer some of the responsibility over (even if you’re checking too!).

And if you’re smarty pants you could get a coloured texta or whatnot and give each kid a different colour. Or maybe that’s overkill :)

Miss 8 is the one who checks which are sport days, library days and pizza days for me. Win.


Lori Dwyer June 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Is it really bad that I have the big calendar/family planner thingie… I just don’t fill it out…? :p
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FunMumX3 June 23, 2013 at 6:20 am

Hahahahahahahahhahahha hahahahahahha ahahhahahahahahhaha. That is all. Having the calendar is the first step :)


Drea B June 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I worked full time up until this year. I have yet to make it to parent help this year so far <.< I don't do excursions, tuck shop, Parents & Friends….I do buy things for stalls because it makes me feel a little better about not actually giving time. My mother never did that sort of thing as far as I can remember, so I don't feel too bad.

But the stuff…we found out about Book Week (which required a costume) with about 48 hours notice. As a full time worker with little creative skills that was kind of painful.

I find it gets better, you get used to the pattern. Plus my daughter is more proactive about handing over all the paperwork rather than me forgetting to look in her bag more than once a week.


Melissa June 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I here you. I am absolutely there with you and there is not enough wine in the world to cope!!!!


Melissa June 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I here you. I am sbsolutely there with you and there is not enough wine in the world to cope!!!!


Sam-o June 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm

We have a paperless school. Sounds brilliant until you log on to the dreaded school portal and can’t find the calendar! It’s just useless. There are way too many school activities to keep up.


Gab June 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Oh Lori, I completely commiserate with you on this one… I have that exact same problem but have 2 at full time school and one at 2 days of Kindy and its exhausting! The bane of my existence… school lunches LOL


Charmaine June 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm

You do get used to it. It’s not as bad as kinder was, with constant fundraising and short days, lots of running around. Both of mine are at school this year, nearly end of term 2 and my house still isn’t any tidier than it was when they were both home!
WTF is Mufti day?


Lori Dwyer June 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

Ahhh- sorry, I should have clarified!! Mufti day is where the kids wear casual clothes, instead of uniforms. So, if you miss it… it kind of stands out. Like, really.
I think I’ve resigned myself to the unclean house for the next… fifteen years. At least ;)
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Mrs Woog June 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Today I had a project due in, Crazy Hair Day and an excursion plus a dress rehearsal from some bloody concert. This afternoon we have rugby training. I AM DONE.


Lori Dwyer June 21, 2013 at 10:59 am



Kirsty Forbes June 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Lol Lori, you know I can always count on you to say exactly what is in my head. Except I am one of those crazy people that says well if I am going to be waiting for miss Ava at the disco, I mays well be working. Cue me doing tuckshop duties for 2 hours LOL …. But I can’t tell you how THRILLED I am that there are other mothers out there who HATE … nay LOATHE the dreaded school drop off and pick up !!! My god… I love my daughter, and would do absolutely anything for her without question. But I really hate school drop offs and pick ups lol mundane shit it is …. Its actually funny at Ava’s school in the arvy (not so much in the morning) but you have different groups of mothers standing around. There’s the Cheer squad parents (as lisa says) there’s the parents who literally are too up themselves to even make eye contact with anyone else. And do it in a way that is actually REALLY rude…. The parents who think they own the place and walk around like their own shit doesn’t stink and their kids shit rainbows…The car park mafia, who get there half an hour before school is out to get the PRIME park and then sit down in the school grounds and proceed to bitch about other mothers (vomit) and then there’s me and one other woman, a friend of mine… who stand wayyyyy back… with a grimace on our faces wondering how on earth 10 years after high school ( actually more for her cause she’s 40 lol) we manage to find ourselves in the high school mentality again? wtf is up with that shit? ok ok .. rant over lol see what this subject does to me?!


Lori Dwyer June 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Rant away, K. I’ll be here cheering you on :p x
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Mum of 2 sons June 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I so want to high-5 you for your post. Especially loved the comment: “…..with a grimace on our faces wondering how on earth 10 years after high school ( actually more for her cause she’s 40 lol) we manage to find ourselves in the high school mentality again?” How true is that?!

I’m a teacher as well as a parent and there was no way in this wide world I was going to be a member of the P&C. Always happy to help out with fete stalls and bits and pieces. But the b*tch*ng behind others’ backs was best left to those that excel at it. :D


Lisa June 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

The bad news is, it gets worse as they get older, and those requests for $2 coins turn into requests for $10, $20…. my daughter’s school recently asked for $20 for an incursion – an incursion! They weren’t even leaving the school and it still cost twenty bucks!

Sorry, having a rant. Love this post!

P.S. Don’t worry about the whole ‘school spirit’ crap – a lot of parents will act like it’s the most important thing on the planet, but I promise you, it really isn’t. Don’t let The Cheer Squad parents get you down ;)
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Tanya Wesolowski June 21, 2013 at 1:43 am

well, I love being involved in my kids school, but maybe that is because I am a casual teacher and hoping to land work!


Lori Dwyer June 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Go Tanya- I’m impressed. I think teaching is the last job on earth I could do!! :)
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Lori Dwyer June 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Oh crikey- you mean it gets worse..? Awwwwesssooommmeee :p x
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