Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Mothering Test - On your marks for back to school

Forget Australia Day that falls on January 26th every year, there’s only one thing the last week of January means in Sydney – the start of the new school year and the crunch test for Mothers everywhere – the Back to School exam season. 

During the holiday season I kick back and relax, waggle my toes in the sand and reach for the sparkling Shiraz whilst congratulating myself on a relaxed attitude to bedtime and parenting in general.  But as in all good morality tales, retribution beckoned, this morning heralds the Back to School for Mothers test- fortunately only 2 Unit this year as one unit has taken itself off university bound.

Here is a general outline of the type of test that I sit and fail at the start of each year.  Feel free to tick the answers that you think are the most likely response in the house of chaos. Note I have designed it as a multiple test in order to give you at least a chance of scoring a correct answer.  

School blazers

Are they a) still at the cleaners necessitating my jumping up and down outside the shop gesticulating wildly at 7.30 a.m., b) at back of cupboard with interesting mould streaks (clothes in Sydney go mouldy as soon as you take your eyes off them, c) guaranteed not to fit, d) missing most of buttons and e) actually on close examination of the name tape, not belonging to my child at all?

Black school shoes

Are they a) scattered to the winds or b) adopting a trial separation and as a consequence shacking up with partner shoes of radically different sizes c) in a state that even at my most optimistic I would have to condemn as unwearable and d) yet again guaranteed not to fit.

School dress for Drama Queen No. 3
Is it a) discovered to have holes round the hem where some sibling has absent-mindedly used a hole punch during the hazy lazy last days of the previous school year b) either ankle length (she’ll grow) or c) now so short that Drama Queen No. 3 looks like she is auditioning for Playboy Pet of the Month

School book list
Was this a) tossed to bottom of filing pile in December b) subsequently discovered to contain new editions of siblings’ perfectly good old textbooks – (what’s with this new edition lark anyway? I’d like to reinvent myself every year but I don’t do so and then charge a minimum of $50 for the new me) and c) tainted by the realisation that those books that by some miracle have retained a shelf life of at least 2 years are guaranteed to contain sibling graffiti of the eye popping variety necessitating copious white out and pasted on grin whilst reassuring Drama Queen No.3 that graffiti covered books have a certain cool charm.

Packed lunch box

Is this a) Oh God, it’s still in the school bag – a prize to the person brave enough to prise off the top of the fermenting lunch – anyone fancy a sandwich marinated over 6 weeks in the sun? b) It’s lost but at least there is a certain charm in buying lunch boxes and stationery or c) frankly at this point the lunch box is the least of my worries.


  1. Just think - you still have all those books to cover with adhesive contact during the first couple of weeks as well!

  2. So glad a lot of schools in the USA don't have a uniform. Lunch box dilemma - been there! A four month old ham and cheese sandwich really stinks!

  3. Hi Dutchess - my contact covering skills are such that the Drama Queens refuse to allow me near their books (result!). However they do admit they spent hours at primary school chasing the air bubbles round the book covers.
    Expat Mum - oh yes, the smell of fermenting lunch box is a truly joyous thing.