OPINION | Back to school, and to sanity

Well, wherever you are in Australia, the school year has now officially begun.

Sometime over the last couple of weeks, parents have bought new uniforms and stationery (or ‘stationary’, as far too many of the school notes say), told their kids to wear in their new shoes before day one, supplied Bandaids when said child refused to do so and came home with blisters, and either breathed a sigh of relief or shed a tear at the school gate.

I’ll let you guess which of the latter two categories I fell into, if the tyre marks from squealing off with a joyful whoop don’t give it away.

Not that I did that until I was well outside the 40km/h school zone, of course.

I know there are parents who really love school holidays – the break in routine, the lazy mornings, the trips to the beach or pool or river – but there’s a downside I think they’re missing.

Firstly, we go through about three value packs of Weetbix a week in the school holidays. Subsequently, they grow about ten centimetres a week as well, and I keep having to buy them new clothes. Finally, then they want to go out and do stuff all day, wrecking their new clothes at the beach/pool/river. It’s exhausting. Not to mention expensive.

But going back to school brings its own problems. Some parents manage it really well: they arrange the uniform/shoe/stationery shopping trips with military precision, locate exactly the right feint-ruled exercise books in an aisle of feint-ruled exercise books, and – to top it off – they actually enjoy covering things in contact.

Then there are parents like me.

I sent my son off to school with a broken school bag and shorts hastily hemmed that morning, my daughter wore a damp shirt (because 15 minutes before she had to leave we realised her new shirt was still in the washing machine), and – worst of all – we ran out of coffee.

But in the end (and to my astonishment), none of it mattered. Because somewhere in all this muddle, everyone had a really good first day. Roll on 2019.