If you have school going children, this time of year is a very big deal. While some aspects of back to school are universal, there is indeed a particularly Irish way to handle this season. Irish mothers have a long and proud tradition of suffering. So if you are wondering how Irish mothers deal with the return of school, here is the inside scoop.
You have hopefully already begun complaining about the cost of school uniforms. Uniforms are entirely the norm here, and while you can find the basics in most department stores at fairly reasonable prices, you would never want anyone to think you purchased your child’s uniform staples there. Furthermore, many schools here do require the uniforms have the school crest sewn on them, and that is where it starts to add up. If your child’s clothing comes up in conversation, you must sigh and complain about the ridiculous price of children’s clothing. Bonus points for throwing in a comment about the cost of school supplies.
Dealing with the Drop Off
As for the first days of the school year, you must be sad. Go ahead and have a champagne breakfast at home, but at the school drop off you must be sad. You must also comment on how short the summer was, how it flew by. (Obviously, your summer was filled with wonderful vacations and so much fun. More than anyone else’s in fact.) Never mind that last week you were checking to see if your insurance covered a hospital stay for exhaustion and stress, at the school drop off, the summer was too short and you are sad to see your little darlings in school instead of swinging on your arms whining that they are bored and demanding an endless flow of television and chocolate.
Don’t feel bad about being less than forthcoming. Mummypages.ie recently released a survey claiming that almost two-thirds of all mothers are secretly relieved when school resumes. The key word there is ‘secretly’. Hence the very Irish ritual of making sure the other parents know that you are sad. (And yes, that your summer flew by.)
Remember, this is the digital age. No doubt you are posting photos of your adorable children on the first day of school, but do not forget to include mention of your sadness at their daily departure to school. This is not the time to gloat about being able to go to the bathroom alone for the first time in 12 weeks.
If it is at all possible, try to spend the first day of school home alone. Not all employers will be sympathetic, but if you are lucky, you have an Irish boss who understands that this is supposed to be a time of grief for you. While you are home alone, you can safely celebrate the overwhelming relief of knowing your children are learning important things in a safe, nurturing environment while they compete to see who can inflict the most damage on their expensive school clothes. A mug of hot tea laced with whiskey is the perfect autumn beverage when the champagne runs out. All those after school treats you stocked up because they were on sale? They’re probably still on sale. Bon appetite. Time to rediscover the world of not-animated daytime television, or even take a nap. All that being sad and lamenting how summer flew by is almost as exhausting as summer, and if you do shed a tear be sure to mention it at drop off the next day.