Disappearing school uniform


What is it with school uniform in the summer term? It seems to get swallowed up by schools. Only son has lost another tie. He was wearing his sister’s tie on Friday. I was at a breakfast meeting so I left my partner with instructions to ask what happened to the last one [and the socks]. I’m not particularly good at breakfast meetings. I’d rather stay up till 4am than get up at 5am, and it didn’t help that I’d been up till 1am the night before at an event about the migration crisis in the Mediterranean or that only son had woken up at 4.30am.

My partner whatsapped me to tell me there was no news on the tie front and that daughter one had not managed it into school due to the mild stomach bug I’d had the day before which had led to daughter two – who is slightly norovirus-phobic – immediately barricading herself in her room.

He does the Friday afternoon pick-up so I focused on catching up from the breakfast meeting. Only son came home, minus any tie. “What happened to his tie?” I asked. “We went to the lost property and they hadn’t found it,” said my partner. “No, I meant the tie he had on in the morning, not the one he lost earlier.” Apparently, my partner had been so focused on trying to find out about the earlier tie that he had failed to notice that only son had taken off the one he had on in the morning. “I saw him with it on at break time,” said daughter three. “It was round his head…” Ninja style.

So now no-one has a tie and daughter three’s top is missing. Meanwhile, daughter one needed an outfit for UN day or some such. “We’ve got to be different countries,” she said. She had drawn the short straw and got Luxembourg, a country not renowned for its rock and roll image despite the best efforts of Plastic Bertrand. Daughter one’s normal wear is ripped tights, oversized thrift store shirts, very short skirts, massive shoes and a tassly jacket, worn even in the height of summer.

“Why do we drink water and we don’t drink the sea?” asked only son as we tried on Luxembourg-worthy outfits. Daughter three was dancing around to Pharrell at Glastonbury and daughter two was making a frame for a picture of a forest, having moved on from Jackson Pollocking the old CDs by way of dip dying assorted pieces of fabric to hang on her walls.

I rang my brother to wish him a happy birthday. I told him about UN day. “The UN was just invented as a way of spreading global capitalism,” he said. My brother has his first book on anarchist history out any day soon. This was not helping with the Luxembourg outfit. Eventually we settled on a slightly see-through blouse and a black and white skirt. Daughter one complained of being sucked into the system. “I look like an office worker,” she said, slightly alarmed, and promptly spilt water onto her laptop.

She blow dried the laptop with a hair dryer and tried to get the back off, but the laptop only got angrier. She started sobbing. Her whole life is on that laptop. All her music. I managed to get the hard drive out and watched several Youtube videos on recovering a hard drive. I now know what a SATA docking system is. Sort of. Daughter two started rearranging the computer room, with all that entails. Only son and daughter three set up the slide so it slid right into a big bowl of water and screamed as they chased each other round the garden. Saturday ebbed away to be replaced by Sunday, which is really when the working week begins all over again. I ironed the school uniform minus the tie, wondering if it would be the shorts or the shirt that would go missing this week and if, come Friday, only son would emerge from school stark naked.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: Ollywozere (talk).Ollywozere at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.

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