Which School Mum Are You?
If you’re a parent of a school-aged child, you’ll know how terrifying a place the school gate can be. There are unwritten codes, rules, and labels everywhere. Even if you want no part of the cliques or never see any of the other mums, you’ll still have a label. You’ve still been pigeon-holed. They notice everything! Sisterhood? Sister-hoodwinked, more like!
Take the test to find out which school gate mum you are.
Q1. The school bell is due to ring in five minutes. Where are you?
- a) Bell? They have a bell? They don’t for breakfast club. I’m long gone by the time any bell rings!
- b) Chatting to the other mums about a delicious recipe they absolutely must try this weekend, darling!
- c) What?! I haven’t left the house yet!
- d) Making sure my little darling knows that it’s Spanish at lunchtime then hockey after school before swimming before tea. It’s good to have lots of interests, after all.
Q2. You notice on a Sunday night that there is homework due tomorrow that has not been completed. Do you?
- Frantically write a note to the teacher with an embellished story about how busy the weekend and been and you’ve just discovered the homework and that it will be done as soon as possible and sorry, sorry, sorry. And then wonder when on earth there will be time to get it done?
- You have a quick conference with the other Yummies on your private WhatsApp group to see what everyone else did and then get the little darling up early to complete it on time, at the expense of lipstick for the first school run of the day.
- Homework? Again?! This isn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.
- Yeah, as if that would ever happen!
Q3. It’s World Book Day and all the children are dressing as their favourite character from literature. Your child is . . .
- Wearing whatever costume they want and who cares if it cost a load of cash. Thank God for Amazon Prime and next day delivery!
- A very intricate costume that is so good it almost looks shop-bought so you tone it down ever so slightly so nobody questions your commitment. Imagine, buying a costume!
- They go in their home clothes and if anyone asks, they’re dressed as a little-known character from a book no-one’s ever heard of. Because you just made it up.
- You tell your little darling who they’re dressing as. They might not have read the book, but who’s going to pass up this opportunity to show how high-brow and well-read your family is.
Q4. What do you pack in your child’s lunchbox?
- Broadly the same as yesterday and tomorrow; you make lunches in bulk on a Sunday to save time during the week.
- Whatever it is, it’s organic.
- Maybe a bit of sandwich, but there’s little point – s/he won’t eat it.
- Something Pinterest-inspired that would put Pret to shame. Pumpkin and quinoa salad, mini frittatas . . .something no-one else has, anyway.
Q5. What are you most likely to be heard saying?
- “Email me. I’ll pick it up later. Sorry, must dash.”
- “I was back to my pre-baby weight it a week, but I’m starting a new diet today because I looked at a bar of chocolate yesterday.”
- “What’s your name again?”
- “Did I tell you my little one’s just been awarded another trophy?”
Q6. Do you join in Mummy Bonding sessions with the other mums?
- Join in? I organise it! I have to, so it fits around my timetable.
- Of course! They’re a giggle. And a chance to get really dressed up.
- Er, no. I didn’t realise they have them. I’m NFI and I couldn’t care less.
- I’ll go, just to see. And then when it’s my turn to organise, it’ll be bigger, and better, and more fun, and do you think they’d like to see photos of my child’s latest performance?
The Results Are In
From the moment you wake, things are chaotic in your house. Trying to get small people to school on time and still get to work yourself is a challenge, and by the time you get to the gate, you’re probably already hoarse from shrieking, “Put your shoes on now!”
You children might still be eating their breakfast in the car, but every second counts in the morning and you want to show the world, and your boss, that you’ve got this.
Your time-keeping is pretty good, but you always feel like you’re rushing, especially in the morning when getting out of the house is not just down to you. Everything feels frantic till you get to work, then you get to do it all again at the other end of the day. You always end up sitting at the back of school plays because you have to sneak in just as it’s starting, hoping no-one (bar your little darling) will notice you.
Don’t be surprised to learn that Working Mum will often have a sly glass of wine once the darlings are in bed. To wind down, of course. Not because she needs it.
Once an aspirational figure for many, the Yummy Mummy is now often despised by mums at the gate, though you’re never alone. No. There’s usually a gaggle of Yummies in the playground, all looking immaculately turned out and made up, whatever time of day it is. You’ll spot them easily enough, if you don’t hear them first, that is. They’re the ones dressed in Joules and Boden, with beautifully blown-dry locks that Scummy Mummy, whose grease-coated hair is scraped back into a lank ponytail, can only dream of. Your nail polish matches your lipstick and your (designer) handbag co-ordinates with your scarf. If you can’t see a Yummy, it’s probably you. You’ve probably been for a run already, and if you haven’t, you’ll be heading off to Pilates in a bit before meeting a friend for lunch and then shopping for organic ingredients for a home-cooked cordon-bleu masterpiece this evening.
Poor old Scummy. You’re trying to hold it together, and you’re not a bad mum, but you don’t find this school run thing easy. You’re quite easy to spot because you’re generally late, and if you do get out of the car, you probably still have your slippers on. Or a pyjama top that you’re going to try and pass off as a t-shirt. There will be tears later, but most likely your child’s, because you’ve forgotten to pack their swimming kit again. Just get that coffee down you, girl, and get on with it. Get some sleep, then up and at ‘em! Competitive Mum will look down at you because your kid’s taken in a shop-bought cake for the fundraiser rather than an elaborate home-made offering. Hey, at least you remembered this time! Just ignore her.
Your child is destined to be the next Big Thing; singing sensation, football fiend or already fluent in French before term even starts. Of course s/he is. We all know that because you’ve been telling everyone at every opportunity since the settling in sessions when they started school, whether they wanted to hear or not. Chances are, you’re on the PTA, and you love to talk about SATs. You’re obsessed! It’s not your fault, Competitive Mum, it’s just the way you are, and you want the best for your child. That’s not always the same as them being the best at everything, so lighten up and let them be kids.
And remember – the school mascot’s diary is for your child to write in, not for you to show off to all the other parents about how wonderful and fulfilling your family’s life is.