So your little one starts kindy in the new year, huh? It’s an exciting time with lots of new things to think about; lunchboxes, uniforms, making friends, homework, setting the alarm to go off at dawn and then leaving it there for the rest of your foreseeable life.
You spend months preparing your child for the changes ahead. At the mere hint of wobbliness, you leap straight into crazy cruise director mode; Big school’s great! Wait till you see all the fun things you’ll get up to! You’re gonna love it!, all the while sending up a silent prayer of thanks that you never have to go through all that crap again yourself.
Because the cliques, the gossiping, the judginess, the playground politics, they’re all behind you now, right?
Fact is, the minute your child steps foot inside that classroom, with big ol’ deer in headlights eyes and a wobbly smile that you can just about make out over the top of the gargantuan bag strapped to his back that threatens to swallow him whole (why WHY do they make them so big?), you officially start school too.
Only this time, none of the action takes place in the classroom, it all happens at the school gate.
The school mums. You already know them, you’ve met them all before. The mean girls, the cool girls, the sporty girls - they didn’t go away, they just got bigger. And now they’re back.
Like the proverbial watering hole, at approximately 3.05pm every afternoon they gather outside every school gate of every primary school across the country, pushing aside their natural instinct to kill each other (or at the very least, remain as far apart as humanly possible) united in one shared purpose…to collect their tired, hot and cranky young and deliver them back to the lair.
Which means, in the minutes between 3.05pm and about 3.15pm, you’re open prey.
My kids have moved around a bit so we’ve seen our fair share of school gate action. Some things are different, some things are always the same.
There are the fit mums, pimped out in their lycra activewear, fitbits gleaming from their wrists. Having kids is no excuse to let yourself go! their whole demeanor cries. In fact, most of them have dropped a couple of sizes since giving birth. They love nothing more than giving you a blow-by-blow account of how training’s going for their next half, full or triple marathon. It’s riveting stuff. Anyone still carrying a bit of baby weight or a wobbly self-esteem is best advised to give this group a wide berth.