Going Back to school

Choosing a childrens school


It’s that time of year again when every other press release is about the cost of school or the holidays. We know: the summer holidays are expensive!

Now that every child in school is at a different school, sharing of school uniform is difficult. Fortunately, daughter two is heavily into recycling and says a boy in her class has offered her his shoes. It sounds unlikely, but apparently he has very small feet.

The bottom of daughter two’s shoes had come off by the last week of summer term and she was supergluing it on. Her shirts have passed their natural sell-by date and are several shades lighter than they should be. We have invested in some newish ones off eBay, but they are around four sizes too big for her. “Room for growth,” I stated. “I’m only doing one more year of school, mum,” she replied.

Only son has announced that he hates school and that it is “a wasteland”. He only wants to wear trainers and was in non-school uniform ones for much of last year. There has been a letter round since about the need for standard black shoes.

He’s got some shirts off the next door neighbours, but he tends to spill stuff on them so that within a week or so any smart effect the uniform might have had has worn off.

Daughter three has required a whole school uniform as she is at a new school. It is very particular. Not just a black skirt, but one with a certain type of pleat at the front and shirts with a “revere collar”. I have become slightly obsessed about revere collars in recent days. They are not in great supply on eBay, but I have managed to track some down.

Meanwhile, the whole of September and large parts of October are filling up work-wise and the emotional levels in the house are rising. Daughter two has GCSE resits and mocks this term. Daughter three is anticipating tests in her first weeks. Daughter one is doubting every decision she has ever made, but most particularly taking a gap year. The emotional side of parenting was not something I had focused on before having teenagers. Now it takes up most of my time and thought processes.

Teenage girls are besieged by so many pressures; it’s hard to build self esteem in the circumstances. It feels a bit like fighting the tide. I never had high self-esteem as a teenager. On several occasions I would have willingly walked into the water and become submerged rather than fight the tide. How much does that pass down the generations, no matter all your conscious efforts? Parenting puts the microscope up to all your flaws and weaknesses, however hard you try to disguise them.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.

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