Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Dreaded P's of Being A School Parent

I have been the mother of a child going to school now for a whole year and I am hoping that I'm not alone with the feelings of trepidation which took over the first week that Meg went back.

I was actually torn between tearing my hair out wishing the six week holidays would hurry up and end because I was fast running out of ways to entertain my two errant children and the knowledge that with the school year comes a whole heap of horror fun and games.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this?

I have to admit that I'm not the most organised when it comes to forms and things but seriously, are schools trying to kill off the trees single-handedly?  I cleverly signed up to receive the school's weekly newsletter by email and yet Meg still comes trotting out each Tuesday bearing the paper version in her hand.  It never gets read and usually ends up in a heap in the footwell of the car.  Of course, it's rather handy when I realise I've forgotten the date of something and can't find the original email.  I like to think of it as my own little filing system.

Add into that the little scraps of paper such as the 'Bug busting' form we get at least once a month (nits is a whole other issue!), the various clubs and gangs that are advertised as well as the lovely creative pictures my daughter draws on a daily basis and I could honestly start my own recycling factory.

Oh, and of course now that my darling daughter is in Year One we also have a homework folder which comes home once a week, complete with yet more paper!

What I would like to do to said pile of paper!

I hate the playground.  I really do.  I never know where to stand and I accidentally sat on the bench used by a faction of mothers of which I am not a part last week.  I still have the heat burns from their eyes to remind me of my error.

Why is it so cliquey?  I thought I had finished with all of that when I left school!  Clearly not.  Mummies of the world, learn to smile.  Seriously.

Well, not really, but you know what I mean.  Those bugs and germs which have previously been off infecting other people suddenly make their way back into your lives.  Eli has only attended his preschool for six days in total and he has already got a cold.


And don't even get me started on the issue of nits.  We have so far dodged this bullet but I do get the impression there is a large timer hanging over our heads.  It's only a matter of time.  I just know it.  Either that or I don't wash my kids hair enough.  I'll leave that for you to decide.

Evil germs be gone.

Packed Lunches
I was so so pleased when I realised that I didn't need to make Meg a packed lunch any more.   Thank you Government!  No more warring with the school over why I can't send my child in with a chocolate biscuit without her being ostracised by the dinner ladies.

Unfortunately, Eli still has to take a packed lunch so I have yet another year of worrying that the teachers are going to be assessing my parenting skills by the quality and quantity of food I send him in with.  When I get into a flap about having enough options squeezed into the lunch box my husband likes to point out that once upon a time, school packed lunches were about ham sandwiches (cut into squares!) and a packet of crisps.  Maybe a penguin bar if it was your lucky day.  He's so medieval.

I cannot be the only one who is afflicted by a fleeting moment of panic as I pull up to the school gates and wonder if there is something I have forgotten.  Look, there's a Grandparent accompanying their child into school...oh no!  Is it 'Bring Your Grandparent To School Day'?!

No...just me then?

When I was at school I would have been mortified if I had forgotten that it was 'such and such' day and turned up unequipped and that fear has clearly not gone away.  Now I worry about it on Meg's behalf.  Of course there was that day last year when she was the only child who turned up in school uniform and not her own clothes, so perhaps the fear is justified!

Do you have any back to school dreads?  I'd love to hear them!

All images courtesy of

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Glamping versus Camping With Children

We have now done both camping and glamping with our children and I can, hand on heart say, that whilst glamping is inevitably more expensive than a regular old camping trip, when it comes to going away with children, you can't beat it.

Here's why:

Glamping takes out the need to bring your tent/beds/bedding/cooking stove etc and all the other accoutrements you might need to pack in order to have a successful weekend away.  Why?  Because it's already there!  This is incredibly desirable when you have children and you have to pack everything and then some.

This year we went without our gigantic all terrain pushchair and the boot of our car was still full to the brim so I have no idea how we would have managed regular camping without taking a second car or purchasing a trailer.

This might just apply to my children but when we last went camping, we had to turn our tent into Fort Knox, buying padlocks which we could place on every zip compartment available.  This was to stop Eli deciding he wanted to get out of said tent and opening the nearest window and crawling out.  Unfortunately, we discovered this the hard way and had to make a mad dash to the nearest hardware shop.

This doesn't happen when you are glamping because there is only one way in and one way out of a bell tent.  As a parent you can man the entrance or set up suitable obstacles to ensure there are no little escapees when you aren't watching.

On this trip we also had to make creative use of windbreaks hammered right down into the ground, and the caravan next door to create an enclosure which stopped Eli from escaping...possibly not every child would be like this!

If you are a regular on the camping scene then you will no doubt have been lucky enough to experience the 'let's all sit in the car and wait for Daddy to put the tent up' type of scenario.  I remember it from my own childhood and I certainly remember trying to entertain two young children in the limited confines of our car whilst the rain hammered down and James desperately tried to get the tent up in rapid time.  Had we not had the assistance of several other campers on that particular trip, I very much imagine we would have been heading for home the very same day!

With glamping there is none of this as you simply turn up and settle in to your already constructed tent.  Genius!  This is particularly helpful if you get delayed or end up arriving in the dark.  Not mentioning any names for that one...

Arrive in the dead of night if you so choose, it will be all ready and waiting.

Glamping really does take the effort out of camping and I think that although you may not get the full 'experience' that goes along with camping, it certainly takes many of the complications out, which can be vitally important when you have young children.  

It was refreshing to simply have to pack our clothing and some food and then turn up at the site.  I'm not all that enthusiastic about camping, but James is, so we got to have the best of both worlds.  I was in relative comfort (although it still gets cold and there is still a need to venture out into the pitch black if you need the toilet in the middle of the night etc...) but James got to have a little bit of camping fun with the kids, which they all really enjoyed.

Although some people would no doubt feel that it isn't really a camping trip unless you are roughing it, I would definitely recommend glamping for families with children, and those who like the idea of getting close to nature and the outdoors, but aren't necessarily ready to go the whole hog!

Have you been glamping before or would you prefer to go camping?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!