Wednesday, 4 March 2015

School Run Mum Hacks

Last Monday morning when I was happily congratulating myself for having enough bread to make all the sandwiches for packed lunches for once, just like a slap in the face it dawned on me that today was also the reception class Fair Trade Fortnight picnic and Year 5 Bikeability.

Which I had forgotten about.  Again.  


When I first had children at school I used to be ever so organised (I even had one of those whizzy organised mum diaries with stickers and stuff). 

These days I still have a diary but it only gets used when I can't find a pad to write on, and the only reminder I have in my phone is for Judge Rinder (priorities I say), which is pretty pointless because I never miss an episode as its on series link.

Oh, there is also currently one children's birthday party too - I am unusually proud of myself for remembering to put that in, let me tell you.  Normally I forget to even reply...

The thing is that when you are this disorganised you become used to winging it and also knowing that no matter what the disaster there will be a school run mum* hack that you have invented or can employ to make everything OK.

And, as sharing is caring, I have decided to confess my best hacks for your enjoyment.

Fair trade Fortnight Picnic

The email said "On Monday please bring in one picnic item that is fair trade to share with the class."

So, of course I ignored that until I remembered that it was Monday morning and we'd done a big food shop at the weekend which included no fair trade produce whatsoever.  Bugger.

*starts frantically searching through kitchen cupboards for something that is fair trade*

Unless my twins fancy taking some out of date ground coffee then I suddenly realise that I am screwed.

Or maybe not...

Spying a bunch of ordinary supermarket (probably very badly traded) bananas in the fruit bowl I went about destroying all the evidence of them being anything but fair trade.  Yes, that meant packet in the bin and peeling all the stickers off until all that remained was the fruit itself.  Obviously you also have to do this behind closed doors so that the kids don't grass you up to the teacher - no point in a hack if you get rumbled is there?

There you go kids, lovely fair trade bananas - enjoy!

Of course other parents bought in bananas or chocolate which had the proper fair trade symbol on them (the swots), but placing them on the table very very swiftly I think I got away with it.   Just.

World Book Day

Now, I really like the whole world book day thing as a general rule, but sometimes our school joins in and sometimes they don't. How the hell are they expecting me, super forgetful mum with no diarising abilities whatsoever, to know what's going on and when?

So if, like me your child suddenly announces the need for a book related costume at the eleventh hour then how about one of my tried and tested 30 second outfits?

School uniform, a black cape from a Darth Vader costume and a magic wand swiftly wrenched from the front of an overpriced Sooty magazine (at last it appears that having preschoolers is useful for something) and with a quick lip liner drawn scar to the forehead there you have it - Harry Potter

Or quicker still

Last year's skeleton Halloween costume and a hat - Funny Bones

Last year's Halloween costume and a hat will totally make your kids look like these guys

No time to get ready

I don't know about you but there are some days when I cannot be arsed haven't got quite enough time to shower, straighten my hair and put on makeup for the school run.  That, my friends, is time to employ the one school run mum hack that is garaunteed to work.  No, I'm not talking about getting your husband/wife/significant other to do the school run for you, although you could do that I suppose.  My trick is far simpler and requires less bribery than that.

Just put on some sportswear.

Yes, that's it.  Sportswear is essentially a fashion invisibility cloak. 

Think about it.  When was the last time you saw a Lycra clad school run mum and thought "wow, they look like they got ready in a hurry"?  I bet what you really thought is "oh, she must be off to the gym".  See, it works.  

Sometimes when I do this I might very well be on my way out for a run but sometimes?  I go straight back home and have a shower in peace (The Dream!).

Going running or just off for a nice peaceful shower at home - who can tell?

Dress down day

Another dress down day?  But we only had one last week?  If you find yourself thinking this as much as I do then there are a couple of tactics you can use here.

If you only need to supply that elusive item - the £1 for charity (is it me or do pound coins seem to magically disappear from your purse as soon as the term starts?) then just borrow it from a child's money box and replace later (this is not a hack, just common sense).

If the item in question is the dreaded tombola prize donation then as I see it you have three options:

1.  Send the kids in dressed down with promises to drop something in at home time (be warned that you basically are admitting how disorganised you are, plus you are just doing what is asked so not really applying the hacker mentality).

2.  Send the kids in dressed down and donate an unwanted gift of your own - if for a bottle stall a big bottle of (unused) bubble bath works well (I once won one of these which was probably donated by a fellow hacker - proof that nobody else cares either), but never give away your own wine unless you are mad.

3.  Send the kids in dressed down and don't bother with the tombola prize.  This takes a thick skin and nerves of steel to get past the PTA without being noticed.  I have never done this.  Much.

Who knew that being so disorganised could lead to such duplicitous behaviour?

It would be better for me to be organised, I won't deny it, and maybe I should learn to use a diary properly and put all the essential dates in it every once in a while.  

The feeling of being prepared would certainly be an unusual one, and the kids would always have everything they needed and without me ever having to think up any inventive strategies to get us through, but then where would the fun be in that?

* I say mum, but dads are welcome to try these hacks too.


  1. Pah ha ha, this is excellent. I particularly like dressing in Lycra sportswear - this is a completely untapped market for the use of sportswear. God knows I never use it to actually do any sport in. That's tomorrow's outfit done, cheers for the hacks

    1. You are welcome! ;) Glad to have you on board as a fellow hacker too xx


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