'Every parent has their own 'rules' to survive the school year. Here are 6 of mine.'

Thanks to our brand partner, Moov

While each year genuinely seems to fly by, there are also moments when it feels excruciatingly slow – the end of most terms and Term 4, in general, are some notable examples. 

But with my two daughters now well and truly in their primary school groove, my eldest, Addison, in Year 6 next year, and youngest, Milla, in Year 4, I have finally (yes, it takes me a while) worked out a system that helps me get through each school year better than the last.

Let me introduce you to my energy, time, sometimes money, and just general zest for life-saving: the 'Rules of Making it through the School Year.'

1. Get the kids involved 

For too long, I always did way too much for my daughters. So much so that at one point, as I delicately balanced their breakfast plates in my hands, carrying the hearty morning meal to them while they sat waiting as if customers in Mum’s Diner, I wondered if I had inadvertently switched professions and become a full-time volunteer housekeeper/chef/waiter? 

While absolutely embarrassed and annoyed at myself for allowing this to happen at all, the event also doubled as an ‘aha moment’, initiating the 'kids get involved' rule.

Not only has this rule lessened my workload and stress, but perhaps more importantly, it has provided them with the opportunity to learn some valuable life skills: from preparing their own breakfast and packing their own school lunches and bags to time management and independence.

2. Share the mental load (if you can)

In my view, the mental load and workload that comes with parenting ought to be equally distributed one (when the situation allows).

For my family, this means my husband, Matt, and I divvy up the logistical juggle of school, work, child admin and activities between us.


I am a taxi driver for Addison, taking her to swimming training three times a week, while my husband takes Milla to Little Athletics and netball.

While I organise the schedule, confirming attendances and updating the calendar, he files any paperwork or pays the bills associated with excursions, camps, and activities.

Grocery admin and keeping the house stocked? His camp. Kids' health admin? My camp. (The dentist, the GP runs, keeping the home arsenal of chemist products at the ready. We do turn to a fair rock-paper-scissors battle over who deals with nit duty situations. Can recommend the MOOV Head Lice Defence Spray if this falls in 'your camp'. With you in solidarity!)

Doing this isn’t just fair; it means that neither of us has a plate that is too full and unachievable. In the end, you can't be in two places at once, and while you might be able to multitask, sometimes, even this isn’t possible, or at least not well.

Image: Supplied. 


3. Find your silver linings

While I wouldn’t identify myself as a half-full kinda gal, I do like to use my time wisely. So, when I calculated that my daughter’s swimming training is around eight hours per week, I realised that there is a lot of sitting around and watching (and may I add, often watching swimming-capped heads).

I also realised that there was a spin class at the same centre and time as my daughter’s training, so I embraced this pocket of silver lining and opportunity to improve my health and fitness and signed up.

Doing this has not only helped my physical health but my mental health too and because my class is shorter than training, I still can watch on for half of each session and support my daughter.

4. Don't underrate the power of sleep 

I hate the saying, “I will sleep when I’m dead,” because honestly, if I don’t get a solid eight hours each night, that is exactly how I feel the next day. 

This means I follow a pretty consistent sleep schedule myself (yes, as a nearly 40-year-old woman). I have my weeknight routine, which is so ingrained that my husband and I just follow it without communicating.

And so do my daughters, just two hours earlier.

While they sometimes complain that 8pm is too early and their friends get to stay up later, I know that for them, as early risers (regardless of bedtime), this is the only way they will get enough sleep and also allow my husband and me some child-free unwind time too. Oh, and given they are out most nights like a light, well, I’d say I’m on the money here.

5. Self-care isn’t selfish 

To be honest, I used to be a bit judgy about mum friends of mine who really embraced self-care. Whether it was solo staycations or holidays without the kids or just scheduling in their own hobbies or sports to play, in my mind, I didn’t understand why it was necessary.

Then I had kids. And I understood. I really understood.


Self-care isn’t an optional extra; it is mandatory for optimal function.

For me, this means socialising with friends (without my kids), it means my spin class and doing it without guilt, it means that sometimes my plans will come first and take precedence over my kids because I know that it will fill my cup, and a full cup (or at least over half) is required to actually parent effectively.

6. It’s okay to say no 

Especially toward the end of long terms or Term 4 in general, saying no can be a lifesaver.

A lot of the time, saying yes as a parent can seem like providing opportunities for your kids (like extracurricular activities or weekend excursions), or sometimes simply making them happy (yes, you can have one more lolly despite knowing that you have already had half a packet). But saying no can be just as important and kind, for them and for you.

Saying no for my family has meant that instead of my daughter taking on a third extracurricular commitment, which would have cost an additional few hundred dollars a term and meant another weeknight taken up, we now have two weeknights free to spend time together as a family, to eat dinner before 7pm, and to just regroup before another busy day follows.

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Feature Image: Supplied.

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