I have done it! I have survived the first week of a new school. Who cares about the kids? Those first few days as the ‘new mum’ have to be harder than anything the kids go through.
All summer I have been catching my breath, imagining going through the gates for the first time. All the other mums who have known each other since ‘mums and bubs’ in their little huddles, cooing over each others newest arrivals, turning to look at me, wondering who I am, where I’ve escaped from, why I have really greasy hair and vegemite all over my t-shirt. It’s never a pleasant time of the day for us, I am usually wiping snot and tears from Poppy’s face as she sobs her way into school with Monty following behind shouting something offensive to her. Throughout the holidays I had moments where I could almost feel the eyes on me, even though I was at home and still had weeks until the dreaded day arrived.
I received , read and re-read all the introduction letters, the ‘preparing your child for school’ information, but had nothing to help prepare me! Not one checklist on how to prepare myself for the playground onslaught. Nothing to advise me on where to stand or how best to behave on that first day, or teach me the “best one liners for playground mums”. No one waiting by the gate to take a photo of me on my first day! How on earth are we expected to do everything we do, turn up to school and be prepared for this every morning? Entering the playground for the first time as a mum is worse than any job interview. It’s worse than giving birth, it’s worse than that dodgy tummy you get after a curry… My god it’s worse than stubbing your big toe. There are a million things I would rather do than be the new mum. Yet everyone focusses on the children, and how they’re coping in the run up to school. Well, this selfish mum was more worried about her eyebrows being plucked to within an inch of their life, and making sure she didn’t wear those trousers that give her a serious camel toe (please don’t google that mum!).
I have done the playground thing for a few years; I have been the new mum a few times now, and trust me it doesn’t get any easier. No matter where you are in the world, the playground is always the same. The cool mums, the sexy mums, the bloody all round perfect mums. The baking mums, the super tanned mums, the working mums, the stylish mums, the immaculate mums, the loving mums, the classy mums, the sassy mums, the funky mums, the arty mums, the ‘totally in love mums’ who are always there with dad! …… Then me! Standing out like a sore thumb, as I am nothing in particular, just a little nervous, very clammy and usually stood on my own hoping that my children come out of school without an escort from the principle!
On Friday’s here a coffee van turns up to school and the parents get some time to meet the teachers, chat, make new friends etc. Yay! Even more playground time!! I decided, as it’s the first week I should be brave, take some deep breaths and use this opportunity to meet some more people; so we left the house early, free coffee voucher clasped in my hand and headed into the school playground. To be honest with you, I dread things like this. Will anyone talk to me? Will I recognise anyone from the kid’s classes? Will I just be sat on my own wishing it was a G&T in my hand instead of a long black? In typical Wilson fashion, I turned up, drank my coffee, and didn’t really manage to chat with anyone properly as Monty was on at me to play cricket, and Poppy was emotional! I told the one mum I managed to chat to that I was planning on going to the P & C meeting after coffee; she looked at me as if I had said I was thinking about joining ISIS! I decided then that I would leave the parent volunteering to someone else and I went straight home. Maybe it’s for the best!
Well go me!!! The first week of school is done, I have survived the beginning of the school year, and I will now, (fingers crossed) not be the newest mum again for a long while. (By no means does that imply that I am having any more children, I just mean, I don’t think we’ll be relocating any time soon.)
The ‘new mum’ playground thing is getting a little easier. The children have friends; I have friends (I know… Yay me! Again!) and I am absolutely loving being home alone all day! I try my hardest to look a little forlorn when I drop the children off, giving them a few blinks as if I’m a tad emotional. “Mummy’s going to miss you today”, and “Aaah I can’t wait to see you this avo my little champ” and then boom; as soon as I’m out of sight I skip out of the school gates, and burst into Cream’s “I feel free” as I fly past the school crossing supervisor, racing home to dive into Hello! magazine and smother Nutella all over my face! Oh it’s absolute bliss.
I would love to tell you that I miss them like crazy, or the house feels empty without them, or it’s made me feel super homesick, but I’d be lying. I don’t feel any of those things. I just feel pure, unadulterated joy! I have been filling my time with writing, tidying, cleaning, sitting on my backside, drinking copious amounts of coffee, online shopping (don’t tell Mr W), walking on the beach, laundry, and by then it’s 3:20! My mood drops a little, Cream stop singing in my ear about freedom, I grab my bag, a spray of rescue remedy, and I head miserably past the school crossing supervisor, dragging my feet, into the playground for round two. Here’s to the next 12 years of playground encounters! Wish me luck!!