But they’ve not even finished here in the UK I hear you all cry!
That’s my normal reaction to those words when I read them in July too.
But, bear with me on this.
Picture it now.
Around the 4th of the month.
Off they all go down to the playground.
Through the gate in their shiny unscuffed shoes, the slight hint of a tan from the summer holidays still intact (I’m a positive thinker – For those of us not jetting off abroad, here in the UK we WILL get some sun this year), the clothes are fresh out the wardrobe quite often in a new size, hair cuts looking smart, some have completely new styles, up-do’s, short and tidy. More or less skipping down to the doors, they all look so happy! They all look pristine for the first day back. And that’s just the mum’s.
Some of these mothers have actually made their kids look this amazing too!
Compliments fly around like wildfire and last for the first 3 days whilst everyone catches up with who went where on holiday, who did the most daring theme parks, who got married, separated. It’s actually a busy week for mums.
So, I can sort of understand why the shops and internet are awash with advertising the great “Back to School” campaign.
With a little under two weeks until they actually finish, every supermarket is promoting their schoolwear. Some have even been doing it since the last week of June – A month before they finish and nine to ten weeks before they go back.
I tend to think of going back to school mid to late August. Last year we were very much on the ball and saw lots of Special Offers in July and bought early but that was a one off.
We have been known to get white polo shirts in the size we want when we’ve left it until the last minute but the kids always got them. School trousers never run out – Not until the first knee has a whole in it, then it seems that the other kids have all done the same.
Over the last 4 years we’ve acquired many school jumpers. Most with the school logo thanks to friends who pass them down and lost property. Having actually been part of the group that has taken lost property down to the local recycling bins five minutes from the school, I am very aware the school does mean “lost property not collected the last week of school will be donated to charity”.
So, yes, I am writing this in a blog, but if it’s going to waste, it can help me out next term.
Last term, Easter term, we disposed of 22 jumpers with the school badge on, 14 without. 36 unnamed jumpers went in the bins with a huge number of socks, a few polo shirts that must have got mixed up in PE and even 2 pairs of trousers. How do kids lose trousers???? Jogging bottoms were in the mix too, I understand that the bigger boys wear them for football and they do fall out of PE bags, but honestly, trousers???
I am a mum that does do the soul destroying naming of every item every first weekend of September. A Sharpie Pen that works on everything and our surname in every label works suffice. We don’t need the iron on labels. (I don’t iron) This year I will just name 6 white polo shirts, 6 pairs of trousers, jumpers are normally done, 6 PE tops, 6 PE shorts. This is my first year of having 3 kids in uniform.
On the plus side, we will only be paying out for one lunch bag since the two youngest will be getting free school meals thanks to a Government initiative to make sure all kids up to and including year 3 (or maybe 2) will get a cooked meal every day. The kids will still come home to a cooked dinner regardless but it saves on making sandwiches and searching for the extra bags every day.
This is all good enough reason to start the back to school shopping early, yet I want to enjoy the school holidays with my kids. Admittedly, it is so much easier now they are 10, 5 and 4. Some of the toddler and baby years have been tough going having all 3 of them home for 6 weeks but in general, they do really well these days.
I enjoy the time with my ever growing up little family yet I also appreciate that week back when I can have a bit of time for myself. A bit of time for a deep clean of the house, a bit of time to sit in silence with a cup of coffee. No tv. No kids. No rushing about it will be a moment I treasure before I realise how boring the first few days can be.
This year will be a big change with the youngest one starting full time school. I’ve spent the past 3 years doing the 3 times a day school run. That 8.25am walk to school and nursery, 11.25am leave to collect from nursery, 2.55pm leave to collect from school.
Lunchtimes will be all mine. I won’t have a little friend sharing lunchtime with me stealing my food, bombarding me with Phineas and Ferb on repeat. It really is a lifestyle change for ME as much as it is him. Bless his little cotton socks.
This first term back, especially the first few weeks is going to be tough for me, the days will feel long and whilst it will be a blessing some days it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to.