Dear Working Mother,

I’ve just finished labelling my daughter’s school books.  My first baby is off to big school on Friday.  And if I’m brutally honest, I’m petrified.

I’m not worried about my daughter.  She’s ready and can’t wait to get back to Mrs. Murphy’s classroom.  She did a three day induction in June, where Mrs. Murphy doled out Jellies instead of homework.  School is going to be incredible, according to my enthusiast five year old.  I’m not sure she’s figured out yet that Jellies are not part of the curriculum.

My concern lay primarily in what I don’t know.  I’m a planner, a list maker, an organiser.  I’ve read all the back to school articles and lists.  I know I’m to label everything in her bag, her clothes and shoes.  I know I should make the lunch the night before and lay out the uniform before bed for a quick getaway in the morning.  I know I’m supposed to make sure she can open her lunch box, tell her which snack is for what break and to keep the water on the outside of the school bag.

But what about everything else?  I fear I’m a bit of a school gate virgin.

Our school letter indicated she needs a tracksuit for PE.  The school doesn’t have an official tracksuit so we can buy whatever we want…which is good in one way.  But as a first time school mother I’m being cautious.  Left up to Caitlin she’d probably pick a bright pink or purple tracksuit.  But as the age old women question goes, what are the other girls wearing?

The letter goes on to say that Friday the kids are allowed to bring a treat in their lunch box…but what does this mean?  Does it mean a cereal bar/popcorn level of treat or a chocolate bar/cake?

My daughter’s been toilet trained since she was two but what happens if she has an accident at school?  Are we supposed to put a spare pair of undies in the bag and will someone help her?

And what happens when, despite all my meticulous labelling, little Sally brings home my daughter’s new coat and there’s no sign of it coming back?  What then?

It’s the school politics that worries me…or maybe it’s the politics between parents…which is it?  I’ve no idea.

My daughter is starting school in a rural area which we’ll move to by the end of the year.  We don’t know very many people in the area.  I certainly don’t know anyone well enough to ask them should I put the spare undies in the bag.

And if I’m completely honest, I worry about being accepted into the community and if I’ll make friends in the school yard.  It feels like I’m starting school all over again.  I’ve heard plenty about the school gate mammy wars.  I’m seriously hoping the media is just hyping it up.

Starting school is a big milestone in any child’s life.  It’s a big deal for both child and parents.  I know once she’s happy and settled I’ll feel much better.  As my three year keeps saying “It’ll be just fine Mammy”.

Hopefully I’m not alone and that other mother’s go through the same emotions when their first child starts school.  If I’m lucky I might meet another school gate virgin on the first morning or a seasoned pro who will take me under her wing.  I’ll let you know how I get on.


Martina Perry
The Working Mother

P.S. One thing I don’t have to worry about is getting my daughter to and from school…thanks to the flexibility affords me I can do the school run and fit my work around school.