The Bad Mother’s Guide to the School Run

Flea is now in the early stages of her fourth year at school (if you count pre-school) and you’d think I’d be getting better at the business of being a school Mum.

You’d be wrong, though.

Having said that we have become experts at what I call the ‘Bad Mother School Run’. This means I have developed a routine that means I can stay in bed until precisely 8.11am and STILL get out of the house by 8.25am, and deliver Flea to school, 7 miles away, on the dot of 8.40am.

If you, too, don’t think you’ll ever be one of those ‘up at 7am making healthy sandwiches and home-made granola’ type of Mothers, this post explains how you, too, can get the morning school run down to 30 minutes or less. 

Tip One: Don’t give yourself time for things to go wrong

Ensure your alarm is set for 15 minutes before you need to leave for school. Seriously, if you allow yourself more time than this, you’re just building in time for things to go wrong. Given time, kids just get distracted, or start remembering things you need to do, like sew on buttons or respond to party invitations. Avoid this at all costs.

Tip Two: Location is everything

Don’t leave hairbrushes in the bathroom. That just means running up and down stairs and wasting valuable minutes. Instead, place a basket immediately inside the back door that contains hairbrush, detangling spray and bobbles – allowing you to put up your child’s hair in 10 seconds, en route to the garage.

Tip Three:  Eat on the move

Breakfast in a cup. Seriously, breakfast in bowls at a table? A luxury that we can’t afford in this household. Cereal in a cup, mixed with some dry fruit is a perfectly nutritious breakfast and can be eaten in the car – meaning we gain an extra 5 minutes in bed each morning. This is a good thing. Also, send your child to a school where school lunches are compulsory – makes life a LOT simpler. 

Tip Four:  Prepare your vehicle

Rather than messing around washing and filling flasks of juice and water, simply give your child a small bottle of mineral water each day. Advanced Bad Parents may opt to keep a large multi-pack of water in the boot of the car, thereby removing the need to find a bottle in the fridge each morning and meaning you can never forget your child’s drink. Valuable minutes can be shaved off the morning routine using this approach.

Tip Five:  Don’t raise anyone’s expectations

Never be the parent who remembers forms and letters and permission slips. The school’s teachers will quickly realise you’re incompetent and will make allowances for you. For example, this morning when I dropped off Flea, the teacher had prepared a photocopy of a required permission slip for her music lessons, anticipating that I would have forgotten to bring our own form with us. 

Tip Six: Buy a hat

Seriously. Hat and sunglasses = you don't need to brush your hair or put on make-up. It's a no brainer. 

I feel confident that if you follow my method, you too could transform your school run. Please feel free to share your own time-saving tips in the comments. 

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