The Workingmums’ guide to the big return to normality


It’s the big return to normality this week. You’ve made it through the last six weeks and a truly Olympian childcare marathon. Now it’s back to the early mornings, the school run and homework. Lovely. has some tips for how to get through the next week.

1. Re-establishing a sleep routine

All the books recommend a gradual return to a reasonable bedtime hour. You should probably have begun this some time back in August, but such plans are not helped by things like the X Factor. Thank Goodness for ITV Player. Ignore all protestations by older children that all their friends stay up till 1am every night. You may have to bore them into submission by forcing them to watch the news or talking to them about the old days. You will also have to psyche yourself back into the whole sergeant major routine of getting people into and out of bed on time and out the door. Practise saying “We’re laaaate” in front of the mirror to get in form.

2. Dealing with post-holiday blues

Inevitably after six weeks off, your children may be either desperate to get back to school or down in the dumps about having to get up early and do homework or a mix of the two. There may be appeals to be homeschooled. By the end of the first day, however, they will probably have been asked to write about what they did on their holiday and will have entirely forgotten anything except what they did in the last couple of days. By the end of the week they will have no recollection whatsoever of the holiday.

3. Finding stuff

After six weeks, it will be almost impossible to locate the school uniform and especially the PE kit if you have not put it somewhere important and written down somewhere where that somewhere important is. Double check that everything they need is there and still fits. If it doesn’t and you’ve left it till the last minute, try washing it and stretching in extremis. PE shoes can always double as school shoes for the first week or so. The teachers will be so depressed at being back they won’t notice.

4. Finding last minute homework

Inevitably on the last day of the holidays your child will announce that they have a homework project which needs to be completed on the first day back. It will probably be something really complicated that requires a lot of research. Switch on the computer and get to work. It may be a long night. Enlist all known friends.

5. Find a bag

Why do children, especially girls, feel they need to have 100 bags these days? Sit them down and get them to select just the one for the first week back. Otherwise there could be tears. Other important things to locate include hairbands and socks that match. Prepare in advance, but not so far in advance that you locate said items only to lose them just before the crucial first morning.

6. Fitness training

You may have spent the whole summer watching the Olympics and Paralympics feeling rather unfit. That time has ended. The intensive fitness routine called The School Run is back. Start eating more cakes. You will need the energy boost.

7. Find a job

For many women, the start of primary or secondary school can mean a return to work after a career break. In the current climate it may seem like you are facing a Herculean task to get back into the workforce, but Workingmums has some tips on how to get started. For those starting a new job, our coach Katerina Gould has some advice on the first 100 days back.

8. Christmas countdown

Remember. There are only three months to go till Christmas…Pace yourself.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    LOL moment reading this especially the ‘100 bags for girls’ my heart goes out to all the ‘newbe’ Mums leaving children at reception this week…..they think their children are starting on their educational journey…haha just wait till they get their first letter about a dress-up theme day! xx

  2. Anonymous says:

    Also loved this article and how true it is! All now ‘back-to-normal’ and going well.. And with regards to the kids not remembering what they did during the long summer holidays – I don’t remember either. Our lovely relaxing holiday in Majorca seems an age away rather than just a month!

  3. Emma Kennedy says:

    Haha! This made me laugh out loud – it feels like someone has been spying on my life, and the result is this article! Roll on October…

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