This list is more of a ‘note to self’, intended to prevent this morning’s shenanigans from ever again occurring in this house on a First Day Of Term. But please, feel free to read, wince and sympathise. You could even add your own suggestions as a reply if you felt so moved.
1/ DON’T discover the menu options you’ve spent the last couple of days bigging up, in the vain hope that you won’t have to make school lunches on their first day back, are actually a term out of date and this weeks meals are of course something your fussy children wouldn’t touch with several barge poles. Would it kill the caterers to make every Monday pizza and icecream day?
2/DON’T assume your children will be having school lunches and therefore not bother to get any packed lunch supplies in. You will find your already stressful morning made even worse by having children in tears because you don’t have their favourite type of processed cheese in the fridge.
3/ DON’T leave the school shoe finding until you are mustering the troops to leave for the school run. Those shoes probably haven’t seen the light of day for at least a fortnight and if your house is anything like ours, they could be anywhere.
4/ DON’T do a last minute check of their bags half an hour before you leave on the school run. Yes, I know that you’ve already asked everyone to hand you all their notices on the last day of the previous term, you have had a ‘just in case’ check and your other half has probably checked as well, but it really won’t improve your morning to discover that everyone seems to have missed a party invitation for a date that has already passed, a school report and a bunch of forms relating to various events that are going to cost you £150 in total.
5/ DON’T discover you are out of cheques in the middle of writing out cheques totalling the above mentioned 150 pounds.
6/And finally, NEVER, ever, ever buy anything new for the first day of term without checking for approval from the relevant child. This rule applies especially to socks, lunchboxes and toothbrushes. And if you buy a new toothbrush for your youngest and haven’t received approval, then for gods sake, do NOT throw the old one out, manky as it may be, before the child concerned has given verbal consent.
A small boy having an epic tantrum because he doesn’t like his new toothbrush is not something that will help any morning go smoothly, but it’s especially galling at 7 am on the First Day of Term.