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Mummy Grumble: Another School Costume

Thank god for that- school’s out for Easter! At this point, most mums I know would be staring at me with puzzled looks at my jubilant sigh of relief that the holidays have arrived. Two whole weeks with my rabble is far from a mother-earth, bond with your kids kinda experience – more of a “I need a G&T!” by 10am kinda saga, as I become an on-demand dinner lady for a fortnight. So, my joy at no more school is not that I get some quality time with my munchkins (well, just a tad!) but the fact I no longer have to be super-mum for the school’s pleasure – no more fancy-dress days, Easter bonnet competitions, sponsorship forms, cake sales………

Anyone under the impression that by the time your little humans head off to school that your life will become easier has clearly never encountered a school newsletter, PTA email or school office text reminder. Once the two eldest boys started at our quaint, village primary school, I was all prepared for days filled with work, evenings preparing dinner and chatting about our days activities then skipping off to bed at a reasonable hour. Oh how wrong could one mama be?!

We’d just recovered from inset day (they always shove those pesky little fuck-ups of days where you’re least expecting them) followed the very next day by the need to dress as an ancient Egyptian, in rather chilly weather, in order to mummify sardines. Then came World Book day – so the task of conjuring up two literary themed costumes had befallen me, only to be told by the 8 yr old the very same evening – “you know it’s my assembley this Friday and I need dress up?”. Eeek, no I fucking didn’t!! And to be honest, this is bloody obvious – there seem to be only two camps when it comes to fancy dress: the mums who clearly didn’t get the memo or have prioritised life over fancy-dress and, the admirable mums, who planned ahead and have turned little Charlie into a deep-sea diver complete with his own coral reef (yes, this happened!).

The Only Girl in the House Blog. Mummy grumble: Another School Costume. Fed-up of school's demands for fancy dress, dressing up, cake sale, sponsored this and that?!

Do the primary schools of Great Britain not understand the concept of a working mum and her inability to produce fancy dress costumes at the rate of an RSC seamstress? Working + baby + lack of notice, does not a good ancient Egyptian or Harry Potter make?! Ah, I hear the primary schools shouting – we send you newsletters via email notifying you of all these dates and events! Yes, but you send so bloody many emails about the road works outside school, Mrs Smiths maternity leave, new regulations for PE trainers and “fun facts for X month”, that I’ve started to zone out from your soddin’ emails. Can I just sign up to the “too busy to give a witch’s tit about the re-painting of shark’s classroom, just send me the bullet points of what I need to do” newsletter?

My main qualm with all this dressing up, baking and making  – is not that I forget or that the school even email me to let me know the caretaker’s taking a dump (ok, that bits not true!), it’s this: If the point is to raise money and awareness for worthy causes, which even grumpy old me is up for, can the kids not just wear,what we used to call Mufty (own clothes), and I’ll donate the £20 I would pay to a Chinese Ebay seller for a polyester, use once costume? My self-conscious, too-cool-for-school kids would be more excited about wearing their own clothes to school than having to wear a highly-flammable, ill fitting costume for the day and the teachers could do what they do best – teach, instead of adjusting 10 face masks, removing face paint from corneas and pinning a tail on for the 10th time.

Enjoy your Easter mamas x


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  1. March, 2016 / 8:59 am

    This is so true of schools, I have a 9 and 6 year old. Quite often they just have non uniform days BUT it’s with a donation (food/present etc) usually for a tombola or raffle easter/summer/Christmas fayres etc then you have the theme days and topic days of what Theve been doing in school. I even find homework…some kids take in models made at home for extra housepoints(luckily my kids don’t care for that!) I’m hoping it eases off at high school!

  2. Rebecca Savva
    February, 2017 / 5:52 am

    As a full time working mum, primary teacher!!
    I feel your pain. I have two kiddies. One at school the other at nursrry.
    I too feel I can’t keep up with letters, costumes, events etc!!
    Your blog made me lol as I just purchased an evacueee costume for my daughters World Book Day!
    My question to you?? Are there any characters in books about a full time working mummy, trying to juggle life and making a bad job of it!!
    If yes that will be my chatacter! No dressing up necessary!!