The school run is a whole new ball game for me. But taking babies on it too, turns it from a game into a bit of a nightmare.
How do mums do it? I needed a lie down after!
My three year old started pre-school this month and as we live just minutes along the road, the ‘school run’ is basically as simple as you can get.
That’s before you add in having to take 15 month old twins as well, of course.
I have to say I’m lucky that the Other Half sometimes works from home and my parents help me out, so I don’t have to take them every time. Thank f*ck for that.
This week was the first time taking all three to school and it was one of the most sweaty upper lip situations I’ve been in since becoming a mum. I now get what all the school mums used to talk and joke about! And we have to do this for HOW many years??
Generally I am a very organised person – just ask my former journalist colleagues. I think I was basically the joke of the newsroom at times – with good reason I suppose.
But because none of the children have needed to be in childcare, I’ve not had to do these hectic mornings yet and am certainly not used to it yet.
So I organised literally everything I could the night before in my military-style operation of getting three children aged three and under out of the house by 8.20am. This had never been done before. And certainly not when I was flying solo.
I had already packed the lunch/drink/bag, laid out clothes, shoes and coats, organised breakfast stuff – even chopping the fruit the night before (impressed myself on that one), and set my alarm extra early. I had figured out at what time I had to be doing what thing, when to get the buggy out of the car without a child escaping, and had practically done a full blown risk assessment on every element.
Okay, not the last bit, but everything else is true.
I was on top of things. I didn’t even need to shout. And that’s unusual for me – as the three year old becomes more like a stroppy teenager and I become increasingly shouty
Then there was a flaw in my plan, something I couldn’t have planned for.
Literally. THREE bloody lots of it, 10 minutes before needing to leave for school. And I don’t mean 10 minutes before the over-cautious ‘ideal’ time of needing to get out the door. I mean 10 minutes before CUT OFF POINT.
Each baby was changed at record speed. Then Twin One shat again, and I could feel my heart rate rising. I didn’t want to be late for school obviously, (although I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the end of the world at a little preschool) but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this on my first attempt – the simple task of getting all three out and on the school run which I’m going to have to do every day from next year, for what already seems like FOREVER
So he had to deal with a shitty nappy until we were back. Hey ho.
But apart from that I did it and with two minutes to spare. Although I’m going to have to work on the three year old insisting on ‘helping’ me push the buggy up the road in future…
Top tips for a stress-free school run
Despite me doing everything I could to be organised (three dirty nappies aside) I’m always up for tips on how to run things more smoothly. So I asked my lovely fellow bloggers. Have a read and check out some of their blogs. Here’s what they had to say:
“Get as much as you can prepared the night before – packed luches, breakfast things, shoes lined up and bags ready etc.” https://Over40andamumtoone.com
“Carrying the baby in a sling makes things much easier for me – he is generally more settled that way and I have my hands free. I also have the downstairs clock set to be 5 minutes ahead (which drives my husband crazy). Even though I know it’s 5 minutes fast, it still somehow tricks my brain a little into aiming to leave at the “right” time which gives me that 5 minute leeway to cover the usual last minute faffing. I also get as much ready the night before as you can and encourage the older child(ren) to do as much as they can themselves.” https://littleheartsbiglove.co.uk
“The bell for school goes at 8.45am so we always aim to get to school for 8.30am. Having 15 minutes contingency takes the pressure off. It means the older ones can dawdle and stop to pick up the VERY INTERESTING leaf they have just found without you shooting daggers at them when they stop for the 7th time!” www.maidenheadmum.co.uk
“I bought one of those pullalong wagons, so much easier to pull with one hand if you need another free to hold the hand of an older child to keep the pace up!” www.cloverandtonic.com
“Call on good friends. When my twins were tiny, I had a few lovely friends who would offer to take my son into school so I didn’t have to get the girls out in the rain. Having a good support network really helped saved my sanity as Charlie started school when my twins were three months old!” www.twinderelmo.co.uk
“Be organised. Have water filtered for your morning cuppa! Have clothes out ready the night before, shoes by the front door and everything you’ll need to had. Plus factor in the extra time for getting those wrigglers dressed!” https://emmareed.net
“Start getting ready way before you need to leave! Aim for 20 minutes before so you leave time for the putting one coat on, then the next, then the first one again, then the inevitable nappy change and last minute desperate toilet trip even though they just went, the missing shoe… oh and putting the coats on again! If you are really struggling, take the little ones in their pyjamas and get them ready when you get back!” https://autismkidsontour.com
“I lean book bags and lunch boxes against the front door when I lock up the night before, along with my keys. I also get everyone’s shoes out of our black hole cupboard to save the frantic 10 minute scramble which inevitably begins three minutes before we’re due to leave.” https://themumconundrum.com
“I get my daughter to sign up to as many after school clubs as she so hubby can pick her up instead of me 🙂 We also get special permission from the school office to have the disabled access gate opened for us, because trying to get a twin pram with eight month old twins in, up and down the steps into the playground was ridiculous.” www.bigfamilybigfunblog.wordpress.com
“Create a command centre with all your book bags, shoes etc all in one place and ready to go in the morning.” http://thequeenofcollage.blogspot.com
“I have a three year old and a one year old – I make lunches the night before and have all clothes laid out ready to go. I’ve got my makeup down to under five minutes. Breakfast bowl and cereal is out ready as well, and if things are really not going to plan then my one year old comes with us in her pjs rather than getting her dressed. I have a buggy board with a seat attached to our pushchair/pram so we all go at my pace. At the end of the day it’s not actually a big deal if we are late – I remind myself of this a lot!” www.arthurwears.com
“Always prepare the night before and wake up about an hour before the kids do so you can get yourself ready.” www.life-as-mum.co.uk
“Our school is a good half an hour way always! I use a carrier (or a sling, but I can’t work them out!) and always aim to leave just before 8am (whistle goes at 8.45am). It leaves time for pee breaks in Morrisons, SUPER exciting leaves and conkers and anything else that your eldest simply has to do. Although we are always rushing out the door, it’s relaxing knowing we have lots of time to walk slowly if we have to and and we’re able to chat on the way there. We do learning on the way, like spelling what we can see, playing I Spy, doing a little scavenger hunt (without picking things up!), counting/sums etc. Nothing too taxing but enough to keep him focused so he doesn’t moan about the distance or weather.” https://lukeosaurusandme.co.uk
“My daughter was 22 months when the twins were born. Trying to get out of the house is just a nightmare. Create a holding pen – get one organised then shut them in the holding pen while you try to catch the next one! Kind of like one man and his dog! 🙂 ” www.yourmoneysorted.co.uk
“Be realistic. I am terrible for trying to fit way too much into one day. That can be stressful, making sure you have left the house with the correct bags and enough nappies as well as three dressed children and a school bag. If you have a young baby, maybe you could leave them in their sleepsuit for the school run rather than rush to change them. Once you’re back home or at a baby group, you could dress your baby then. I’ve now come to realise it’s just too much of a rush to do my makeup at home before getting the kids in the car and my eldest to school. So now I take my makeup with me and apply in the car outside school while we wait for the school bell.” https://outandaboutmummy.com
“Put school bags and coats in the car ready for the morning. If there are any forms to be returned or money to take in, put this on the driver’s seat (hidden under something if required). That way when you go to sit down you have to move it first and it will help you to remember.” http://shiftworkingmum.com