School's nearly out - Leave no mum behind!

One of my favourite programmes at the moment is Motherland. In case you haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t, you should) it gives an insight into the side of motherhood that you don’t read about in the Mother and Baby books.

For those of you who care, I’d say that I am about 65% Julia, 20% Amanda, 10% Anne with 5% of Kevin thrown in. (NB: I know that no one really likes Amanda but we all need an Amanda or two in our lives and I’m happy to make the case for her)

My children are a little younger but I will be entering the world of playground politics and PTAs in September when my eldest starts school.

Having two pre-schoolers in nursery and a teenage stepson as given me a taste of the chaos of childcare juggling, last minute drop-offs and pick-ups, football training and dance class schedules but sources tell me that I can expect it to go up a level in when I arrive at those school gates. Am I ready?

Back in the day when I went to school, the majority of contact that mums had with each other had was a brief ‘Mother’s Meeting’ outside the school gates and the occasional game of bingo. Play dates were arranged occasionally but they were usually ‘drop-offs’ so again the chat was often limited to a quick brew.

These days, with the arrival of breakfast and after-school clubs the opportunities to meet the other parents are very few and far between so in the age of constant communication seems to be mandatory what’s the answer.  Well of course it’s the school WhatsApp group.

Loved by many and loathed by others the parents message group seems to be a staple of school life these days. A space in which to share info, have a moan and organise social events.

I am in a few group chats and because they are with my close friends (the people that I choose in my life) they are a great way of staying in touch. However, from what I hear from friends that have gone before me, School WhatsApp groups are very much more hit and miss.

In the past I’ve witnessed colleagues experiences in these groups and listened to the incoming pings met with the rolling of eyeballs.  Expert organisers (let’s call them ‘Amandas’) that take on the roles that most hide away from eg: line up supervisors for school discos (remember those?) securing those volunteers to run the tombola and the Summer fair or think about arranging a prom or teacher’s thank you gift before the last day of term.

The beauty of the group message is that we can hide away and watch it unfold for a little while (we’ve all done it.) Hopefully the chat will provide the necessary number of hands up before you feel guilted into raising yours.  It’s really easy to roll our eyes and hide from them whenever we can but let’s be honest, we need these ‘Amandas’ in our lives and the truth is that they should be celebrated our heroes.

Who else will whip us into shape when we need it and at this time of year they really earn their salt when they arrange the annual teacher gift.

Fewer people now chose to buy individual gifts such as a bottle of wine, something generic with ‘Best teacher’ written on. Whilst the booze has been very well earned this year, how many mugs, plaques or teddies does one teacher need.) The growing trend is now to buy a group gift, that way a smaller individual budget goes a long way.

A luxury personalised hamper from Artisan Hampers is the best of both worlds. You chose from a range of contents (including booze if you wish) but the vintage style crate engraved with your own personal message will give them a gorgeous keepsake that will always remind them of their Class of 2021.

So there’s no need to hide from those messages any more. Step up and take the glory while letting us take the hard work and stress out of the end of the school year.   

Be more Amanda!

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