This week I am absolutely delighted to have a guest post from the lovely Emma from Bubbablue And Me on how to cope at the school gates as a working mum. The school gates can be a minefield at the best of times, but when you are a working mum and don’t get to do the drop off or pick up every day, it can become really difficult!
How To Cope At The School Gates As A Working School Mum
[ctt template=”12″ link=”XcdUK” via=”yes” ]When our children start school, it’s not only daunting for the child. The parents can be worried about it too.[/ctt] How will they cope in the playground? What will the other mums be like? Will they end up standing on their own like Billy or Norma No Mates in the playground? As a working mum those feelings can be more extreme because they may not even get to do normal drop offs or pick-ups. It’s even harder to speak to the teacher or meet other parents.
There are some things you can do to help you cope at the school gates as a working school mum
. (I say mum, because largely the mum is the one who does the school run and are the ones who feel more pressure to fit in with other mums. Although the fewer dads who do the school run may feel even more left out being the minority parent)
Before your child starts at the school
If you don’t know anyone else at the school, try and meet up with some other new parents and children over the summer. Try speaking to parents at any initiation or parent days, or speak to your child’s nursery or pre-school staff to see if they know other parents in the same situation and can introduce you.
Take time off work for the first day or so to do the school run.
That’s the perfect time to meet other parents in the same boat, and maybe suggest after the drop off some of you could go for a coffee to compare notes.
Speak to people
If you’re in the playground speak to people, whether they’re on their own or not. It might look like they’re in a group, but it might be they’re willing to let others in, and you won’t lose anything by asking. Ask them for advice especially if they have older children in the school too.
If your child is at wrapround care, it’s harder to chat because you’re all in a rush in the mornings, and picking up at different times. But a quick hi and how’s things doesn’t take long, and will help them feel a bit more included as well as you.
Turn up early but not too early
If you do get to pick up, arrive early and look out for parents from your child’s class you recognise. Go and chat to them – especially on a Friday. I find people are willing to chat on a Friday more because they’re less likely to be rushing off somewhere. But don’t get there so early your child is bursting out of the door to be collected and you miss seeing the parents to have a quick chat to.
Join the PTA
Some PTAs have meetings during the day (ours!) which aren’t working parent friendly, but if yours has evening meetings or ones you can get to, then join in. Even if you can’t be on the committee, you can often volunteer to help with events, man stalls, or bake cakes etc.
At birthday parties, don’t assume you’ll dump your child there and run.
I find birthday parties are the best for having a decent chat with people as everyone’s relaxed and outside the school grounds. They’re really my only chance to see people as well, so make the most of them before the kids are older and don’t have all class parties.
Work out which school events to go to
It’s surprising how often parents are invited into schools for assemblies, churches services, fun events, performances, open mornings and more. As a working parent, even if you split the jobs between you, you might struggle to get to everything. So choose sensibly, ask your child which they want you to go to, and try and work it out so they’re events you know other people from the right school year will be at.
Organise a year group mums or parents meal out
We had one organised by one of the reception mums in the first term our children started and it was lovely to meet all the mums and get to know them a bit better.
Do you have any other tips for feeling more like an insider at the school gate? How did you find your feet in the playground when your children started school?
Emma blogs at
Bubbablue and me
blogging about life on and off the farm with her 6 year old son and a farmer husband who keeps well off the blog. You can find her on:
Twitter https://twitter.com/etusty or