But, when the holidays start I realise that once I've dumped the book bags in the corner and forgotten about the routine for a few days, there are things that suddenly need organising for the new term.
Uniform suppliers email me their offers and gently remind me of the lead times for blazers and sports kit, the kids wave lists of things they absolutely must have before the start of the new term under my nose (yes, thank you for letting me know about your GCSE English reading list 36 hours before the new term begins) and I swear this is getting worse each year.
So I've started to make my own lists of stuff that they all need, before the new school year. They are long, long lists. Before I can go and get any of the new things I need to take stock of all the old. Another list. It got me thinking. What does happen to all the missing school stuff? Is it on a planet somewhere next to the missing sock planet and the place where all my earring backs end up? And why isn't all school uniform black, and stretchy so that it grows with the kids? It would be so much better than this...
The End of Term Inventory
- 40+ polo shirts of various sizes/shades of white. Name tapes missing (washed away, or maybe I didn't bother last year, who knows?). Several demonstrating how the twins artwork has come on over the course of the year in various media. Presumably there are so many because I didn't make a note of the 20 odd hand me down ones we already had last year.
- 2 school logo sweatshirts (2! I thought I bought more of these...) both too small, with yet more black marker pen to the fronts. Why does this stuff never wash out? Obviously a ploy by the school outfitters to make more cash out of us unsuspecting parents. They must give them to the teachers for free...
- 2 plain red jumpers. One aged 5-6 like the rest of the twins uniform and one aged 6-7 (not ours)
- 2 red cardigans with stupid heart shaped buttons that hurt my fingers to do them up. Who thinks of these things FGS? I bet it's someone who has never had to dress children in a hurry.
- 2 Blazers. Still fit but wrong colour for next year. FFS. (Another school outfitter trick - why does one school need two different colours?)
- 6 pairs of boys trousers. Various sizes. All too short. Just stop growing will you?
- 2 standard issue high school skirts. Still correct length. Not replacing. *watches as teenage girl has meltdown because she's not as swaggy as her friends whose mums buy supermarket pleated skirts* Although quite why this makes a difference is anybody's guess, I just follow the uniform list.
- Shoes and trainers. 10 pairs. All need replacing. It's no wonder they treat me so well every time I go into my local branch of Clarks.
- Three Biff, Chipper, Kip books (or whatever the hell they're called. I must have read them all by now). Must return these this week. I'm not reading them again.
- So. Many. Drawings. Do they ever do anything else in year one?
- Several party invitations for parties held in the past six weeks. Oops. I am crap. This also explains the death stares I've recently been getting from other parents in the school playground.
- 2 School holiday diaries. Not again? Just no. I hate this side to the holidays. We all know that our children are going to split their time 50/50 between the iPad and the TV so why do I feel so guilty that I have to do wholesome things and diarise them for the teacher to judge?
- A flyer for the summer reading challenge. This might be wholesome enough to balance out the guilt from iPad time?
- 3 potential biohazards. Although they could make a nice little science project? I could spend time cleaning them? No. Nobody has time for that sh*t. In the bin they go.
Other School Equipment
I'm too frightened to look. I mean, is it too much to ask that the teens could keep their maths sets in the bloody tins they came in? Maybe then they would be able to find their sodding protractors at 8.20 am on a Monday morning when they have double maths first thing. And calculators? Pens? Art equipment (oh my god the cost of this stuff, the cost!).
All of this does make me wonder how on earth we have managed to even get through the school year in one piece. But, we have. And once I've distributed the contents of my current account between the shoe shop, uniform suppliers, WH Smiths and several large supermarket chains, we'll be ready to do it all again next year.
It's just never ending isn't it?
God, I love the holidays.