parent opinion

"Just when I thought I was nailing parenting, I forgot my son’s school prep orientation."

“There are too many things” is what I said by way of an excuse when I entirely forgot to take my youngest child to his prep orientation day a couple of weeks ago.

I had spent the day feeling like I was absolutely acing being a parent. To be fair, I should have been suspicious at the first hint of confidence in my own parenting skills, because that alone is usually a pretty good indication that I’ve forgotten something pretty significant.

My sense of pride was deserved though, I think. I’d remembered that it was Day for Daniel, so my kids were wearing red t-shirts (which I’d run out to Kmart to buy the previous evening), and I’d even remembered to give them each a gold coin to fulfil the donation requirement of the day.

I’d managed to drop all three off on time, and with minimal fuss, and I spent the day at home hand-making their costumes for a Halloween party we were to attend that evening.

“Gee-whiz,” I thought, because something about sitting in front of the sewing machine transports me and my vocabulary right back to the 1950s. “I’m really winning at motherhood today.”

But, like all my shining moments, it quickly crashed into a worst-mother-in-the-world kind of day when I glanced at my phone calendar on the way to kindy pickup at 2:45pm. I know it’s probably a bit late to be looking at my calendar for the first time, but I’m cocky enough still to think I can remember everything without setting alerts. On this particular day, I realised with a sinking heart that I was supposed to pick my five-year-old up and take him to prep orientation at 12pm.

forgot prep orientation day
We all make mistakes as parents... right? Image: Supplied.
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I’m a hot mess at the best of times, but I felt so guilty because the first year of school preparation was such an event with my first two kids, but it had altogether slipped my mind with the poor third child.

Yes, it was unorganised of me to forget, but considering the staggering number of extra activities and admin that suddenly enter our lives when our kids start school, I think it can be excused. Can it? Please?

Off the top of my head (and a good lesson in why I definitely shouldn’t rely on the top of my head), here are just some of the things I have to remember this week: readers on Tuesday; swimming gear for my grade four kid on Monday; swimming gear for my grade one child on Thursday; homework due Friday; gymnastics Tuesday after school; place the tuckshop order for Thursday on Tuesday evening; clarinet Friday (and don’t forget early morning band practice, like we do literally every single week); permission slips times two for excursion due Wednesday; and gold coins for ice blocks on Friday.

I am so completely overwhelmed that just last week, following the unfortunate forgotten third child incident, I talked only half-jokingly about getting a virtual PA just to organise the kid stuff.

Meanwhile, I’ll comfort myself with wine and the knowledge that my third kid is independent and as tough as nails - because with a mum like me, he has to be.

Come on fellow mums, how do you manage to stay on top of it all? Answers in the comment please.

There are two types of parents when it comes to school shopping. Which one are you?

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