Five Reasons Why The School Run Drives Me Crazy

5 September 2014


One of these days the morning school run is going to drive me round the bend. Either that, or it'll be the death of me. Here are five reasons why I loathe school mornings...

Getting kids to brush their teeth is agonising...
My children have had teeth for many years now. The need to brush them twice daily is not a new concept and yet every morning feels like Groundhog Day when I casually enquire as to whether they've brushed their teeth.

First they claim to have already done it. (So kid, how come your morning breath smells like you've swallowed three sweaty meerkats who’ve just been on an all-night tequila-fuelled bender?) Then they wail that the toothpaste tastes too minty. Or that the toothbrush tastes like soap. (Nothing to do with the fact that you can’t seem to wash your hands in the bathroom without squirting soap all over the place, hmm?) Then, eventually, they brush their teeth. For 3.5 seconds. At which point I lose the will to live and silently hope their teeth fall out as payback. “For the love of Pete, kids, I’m not actually torturing you - this is for your benefit,” I cry, as I virtually pin them to the floor and scrub their pegs just a teeny weeny bit more abrasively than is strictly necessary.

No-one can ever find their shoes...
I have helpfully provided a basket for placing shoes in, which is strategically positioned in the cupboard under the stairs, and yet every morning my breezy ‘Shoes on, boys’ is met with tortured cries of ‘I can’t find my shoooes.’ A variation on that theme is ‘Someone moved my shoes’ which is a thinly veiled way of blaming me. Sometimes I am patient and go through an enlivening game of ‘where did you take them off’ but by the end of September I am hissing through gritted teeth about using the bloody shoe basket, and muttering threats under my breath about sending them to school without their shoes if that’s what it takes to drive home the point that shoes belong in the shoe basket. That's the point at which I usually realise that *I* can’t remember where I left my shoes...

In-car fighting...
Forget all the clever gadgetry that posh modern cars have; my wheels are equipped with in-car warfare. It’s easily activated. Simply add two children, give it a nanosecond and - ta dah! - bloodshed is practically guaranteed. Biting is also available as an optional extra. Seriously - it’s a miracle if by the time I’ve reversed out of our driveway I haven’t sworn, cried or uttered an ill-considered idle threat. (That’s IT, kids! No TV after school… right, because that won’t backfire and leave me lumbered with tired, argumentative and also BORED children…) 

I’ve tried making the kids burn off excess energy by cycling or walking to school, too. That’s worse. They either try to out cycle one another (because everything is a competition to brothers) only narrowly avoiding a collision, or they drag their heels and moan so consistently about walking that that I consider lying down in the traffic just for a bit of peace and quiet.

Someone always forgets something...
Taped to the inside of my front door is a helpful reminder to my kids of all the things they need to remember to take to school. Break money, lunch box, school bag, PE kit, homework folder, reading book, school diary, pencil case. And that’s on a ‘normal’ morning when we’re not also required to send in two-dozen baked goods at a moment's notice for the school fair, a box of tissues for the classroom supply (what?) or several rainforests’ worth of permission slips.

In spite of this, I also spend the final five minutes before we leave the house randomly barking reminders at the kids in a faintly maniacal way. And yet, without fail, as I pull up at outside school one of my kids will confess to having forgotten the one thing their teacher told them they must not forget today. I will beat my fists on the steering wheel, wonder aloud why no-one ever listens to me, rant about the reminders I lovingly taped to the front door, and angrily REFUSE point blank to drive home to collect said forgotten item. And then, because all mothers are suckers, I will sheepishly return home - sitting in traffic for an additional twenty minutes - just to collect the forgotten item.

School run parents park their cars like maniacs...
If there's ever a zombie attack in our town, I fear for the zombies when they get near the school gates because parents are merciless when it comes to parking their cars in such a way as to avoid the slightest inconvenience to their precious cargo. There is no car park at my children’s school which means it’s a bun fight of a morning. There are those of us who thoughtfully park legally in quiet residential roads near the school building - but this invariably means returning to your vehicle to find that the bin lorry, oil van or indeed an ambulance have called to the house outside which you’ve parked, which means a ten minute wait to get back inside your car, by which time the entire vicinity is gridlocked and you’ll realise you could have walked to school and back again three times in the time it’ll take for you to get out of there.

Then there are the parents who never let a little inconvenience like nowhere to park throw them off their school run stride - those yellow zig zag lines outside the school don’t phase these hardy folk - so when you finally try to drive home you’ll place your precious life in their feckless hands as you're forced to venture gingerly into the path of an oncoming juggernaut thanks to their double-parked and abandoned vehicle. But hey, at least their little darling got to school safely without having to tire his precious wee legs out by - God forbid - actually crossing a road. 

It usually takes me twenty minutes and a strong cup of coffee to recover from the trauma of nearly dying underneath the school bus on the average school run. And, despite dicing with death today, I get to do it all again tomorrow. Oh yay.

1 comment

  • LauraN
    This is actually hilarious and the part about parents dropping their kids off at school is so true. We always park out of the way or walk up to school but some parents just don't care do they! They block the road, park awkwardly or cause a complete hazard for everyone apart from them. It was the same at nursery unfortunately even though the nursery had a car park say 20 seconds away!!

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