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Parent committees and 'nude' lunchboxes: The things I'm saying no to this school year.

While some people make new year’s resolutions about weight loss or getting fit – ‘improvements’ that will make their life better in some way, mine were about my children heading back to school.

Or more specifically, what I will NOT be doing when they go back to school, because ultimately these are the changes that will make my life better.

Better in oh so many ways.

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I won’t be joining any sort of parent committee.

I would like to preface this by saying that I have been a part of one, I did try, and I will not do it again.

Anyone that is on a parent committee or any of their alternatives will know that it can actually be pretty demanding.

They lure you in with a “once a term meeting” and “once a term canteen duty” like you don’t have to do that much and before you know it you’re creating contact lists, organising class catch-ups, gifts for staff who are being fare-welled and twenty other ‘small’ tasks that need to be done, ending up completely and utterly exhausted.

I won’t be hanging out at school pick up.

For two years I have met my eldest at her classroom, stayed an extra ten minutes or so for her to play with her friends on the playground and in doing so made the obligatory small talk expected in these situations.

I have also watched the well-established and ‘in progress’ cliques from a distance, while simultaneously trying to fly under the radar. But now, this year, I’m staying in the safety and comfort of my car.

I won’t be volunteering for any fete, concert or working bee.

Simply put, I don’t have time.

Again, this is something I have done multiple times before (I’m not just being lazy.)

Once, I offered to help with the school concert’s marketing and promotional posters and material. I thought it would be fun (silly me.)

Who knew that a volunteer position as graphic designer for a primary school school would involve more drafts and hours of design work than a major ad campaign?

I won’t beat myself up if my lunchbox isn’t 100 per cent nutritious or ‘nude’.

Yes, on occasion there will be plastic packets in my children’s lunchboxes – bags of popcorn or pretzels, perhaps a Stringer will make an appearance. I’m sorry. It’s true, they like these plastic-wrapped snack items and they are somewhat nutritious…

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I won’t organise all my kid’s things for them.

Every school day there is something on and every day they require an item to do that something.

P.E and runners, art and smocks, music lessons and the music book, library day and the library bag, show and tell with whatever themed item it is for that week. It’s hectic.

Honestly, with one child it was hard enough to try and remember what was happening and when, but now with two at school I am saying NOPE.

So, this year my children are organising their own school bags, what needs to go in them and when. And if they forget I will not be making a mad dash to school, they will just have to cope without it.

I won’t freak out if I’ve forgotten to iron their school dress or they are wearing odd socks.

I’ll be embracing the iron-free method (entirely made up) and the same-colour-range sock pairing approach (also made up) and not feeling like a negligent mum if my kids go to school with creases in their school dress or two socks that aren’t from the exact same sock family – white and beige are at least sock cousins, right?

After seeing my kids on holidays picking their own ‘matching’ outfits, clearly they don’t notice this sort of detail anyway.

I will not spend days planning and creating costumes for Book Week or any other themed day throughout the year.

No more giant custom-made sushi roll costumes for Japanese Day, no more volcanoes with lava erupting from the crater for Book Week. I’m ensuring costume creations are much more straightforward this year. 2020 is all about keeping it simple.

I won't school edition
Farewell, volcano costumes. Image: Supplied

I will not feel guilty about making weekly lunch orders (even twice-weekly).

While I'm glad Billy’s mum can make homemade pasta or rice paper rolls for his lunch each day, I won't be doing that, and I won't feel bad about it.

In fact, if I've run out of bread mid-week for my daughter’s daily Vegemite and cheese sandwich (her request) I will order her go-to canteen item – lasagne and an apple Prima.

There, I said it.

Shona Hendley, Mother of Goats, Cats and Humans is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education and is a passionate animal lover and advocate.You can follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/shonamarion/

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