The school run: a love story

Books and stationary on a school desk


I have a love-hate relationship with the school run. On the one hand, I can see years more of my life stretching before me, with me driving down the same narrow roads against the clock, limiting any job possibilities until I am too old to even get through the sifting phase and am chewed up and spit out by youthful robots. On the other, it is a merciful pause in my day – I call it my lunch hour – when I get to catch up on the day’s events at school and sing along to Mamma Mia 2.

I feel I know more than is necessary about certain secondary school teachers. One of them apparently allows people to eat in his class and this means he earns triple stars from daughter two. She only eats her lunch in his class and swears it helps her to think. If she doesn’t have his class, she often doesn’t eat her sandwich until she is on the way home.

Only son’s comments on school are more to do with how much he hates it, though I’m pretty sure he really enjoys it when he’s there. He went to a party at the weekend under protest – “I hate going out” – only to describe it as “the best party ever” [since the last party which was also “the best party ever”]. Wednesday is his favourite day because there are no school clubs. He only does two school clubs so I can’t understand why it is only Wednesday which is so good. In fact, he skips one of the clubs because he keeps forgetting he is in it. It is called mindful colouring so I figure it might be a good idea for him to go to the club and learn how to be mindful so he can remember he is in it.

Of late, the talk of the car has been of crushes. Only son has not been impressed. He wants to be a bachelor. Relationships are for wimps. He provides a disdainful commentary on the crushes from the back seat. “What? You say you had a conversation with this boy and you barely said four words,” he remarked. Four words was progress. It’s been weeks building up to this point.

I turned up at daughter three’s school the other day. She moseyed up to the car and noticed I was crying. She looked at me quizzically, but then started smiling as she got closer. She could hear the strains of Mamma Mia 2 pulsating through the door. “I’ve been waiting for you” blasted at her as she opened the door. Where teenagers are concerned, it could be the theme tune to my life.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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