Jam sandwiches and too-small uniforms: Welcome to the end of (school) days
Are we there yet? Amanda Cassidy on limping to the school term finish line
I’ve resorted to jam sandwiches and the children look like urchins from Oliver Twist in their uniforms. Welcome to the end of the school term.
All over the country, exhausted parents, worn down by the humdrum of school and sports routines are at their lowest ebb. The WhatsApp groups no longer contain 25 excited Thank yous! after each overly-thought out comment. Instead there are demands for cash or desperate pleas for last-minute sports camps. We’ve officially entered the twilight zone – the finale, the end of days.
Far from the fierce organisation of early September when we are positively brimming with good intentions, new hobbies, sharp pencils and clean schoolbags, this is the hardest mile of the marathon – our parenting swan-song. This is paper crumpled in the bottom of the schoolbag territory. Even the lunchboxes are unhinged. My children’s flesh is visible through their tracksuit knees, and if I ever have to boil another gumshield again, so help me God…
It think we can all agree, it’s been a long year. Especially after the covid lull. The kids are tired, the parents weary, the teachers are marking x’s on the calendars frantically, eyes on the school clocks.
Here are all the reasons most of us are SO over the school term.
Our artwork fridge is full. I never want to buy another pan of bread ever again and how are their shiny Mary Janes too small again? Teddy bear’s picnics, art exhibitions, recitals, another sports blitz, end of term BBQ’s, more sports blitz’s, a cake sale, a sale of work, an end of year coffee morning, yet another blitz. And this is in-between you know that thing we call working for a living. Not to mention all the meals. ALL OF THEM. You know what I mean: Those never-ending meals that we plan, shop for, cook, feed, clean up after and then get asked for snacks.
My son announced last week that he has two projects to finish before the end of term. My daughter has a presentation that she claims she has to know off by heart. My youngest has her show and tell on Monday. This weekend I listened to endless facts about every single planet, dismantled a project on the Titanic that included an entire page entitled Cheesy Titanic Jokes (really). We’ve to do an experiment in the garden that involves exploding a coke bottle and I’ve the joy of helping my youngest compile facts on Italy. How is anyone supposed to keep up with their Netflix viewing when life is this constantly jam packed?
Present Amanda is planning to go that extra mile NOW to surprise future Amanda with having all the new school books, shiny non-shabby uniforms pressed and ready to go for the new school year come September. Hell, she might even go wild and wrap the copies. Present Amanda is disappointed with past Amanda for her lack of organisation in the latter weeks of the term, however. Future Amanda is going to be better. More disciplined, prepared, punctual, firm and hit the gym three times a week. The problem is that present Amanda currently has three deadlines, a holiday to pack for, and has inexplicable agreed to start renovations on the bathroom this very week.
Expectation versus reality
The vision: The summer will be one long balmy lie in. The children will plant vegetables and play with the hose and I’ll garden and write on the veranda and we’ll BBQ and make memories. Maybe we’ll build a fire pit. I’ll take up running.
The reality: I don’t have a veranda. The children will try to watch screens any waking hour they have, there’ll inevitably be a hose pipe ban. I kill every plant I touch. One of my children has pyromaniac tendencies. I have shin splints.
I mean, it’s not that I hate people. Most of them are usually perfectly lovely. But during term-time, there’s a lot of l0w grade human interaction, right? There’s the three WhatsApp class groups, the sports groups, the drama class, the splinter group of mums, the cubs, the music, the book clubs. The school gate is pretty full on too, especially if you’re an introvert like me. And just for the record, no, we mustn’t meet over the summer at some stage for a coffee. It’s never happening. It didn’t happen during term time because I barely have time to shower or see my actual friends so it’s unlikely I’ll give up two hours to talk about which potential teacher our 11-year-old’s are going to get. AND WHY DO YOU CARE SO MUCH ANYWAY, KAREN?
In conclusion, we are limping to the summer finish line where’ll I’ll happily hermit away until mid August where Future Amanda will unfurl her mummy fronds and start buying pencil cases, ironing vertexes and finding hockey socks with the enthusiam that is frankly disgusting to Present Amanda right now.
But let’s be clear on one thing. This summer, there’ll be NUTELLA sandwiches. There’ll be wine on Wednesdays. There’ll be PG movies that I mightn’t even be there for.
Live dangerously. Get to June 28th. God Speed.