So you have managed to survive pregnancy, childbirth, sleep deprivation, teething, nappy rash, immunisations, kindergarten, and you somehow navigate your highly energised offspring to begin their education. Tears and separation anxiety aside, you think this is the beginning of the rest of your life, right? You will have 'time' to go back to work, get fit, build a vegetable garden, shop for food only at sustainable organic markets, volunteer at the local hospital, cook 3 course dinners every night with ingredients only sourced from previously mentioned sustainable organic markets and reacquaint yourself with...well, yourself! The possibilities now opened up to you are endless! Sorry lovey, but by the end of the first week you will find your email looped into every working bee, fruit and scoring duty roster, social committee and in-class reading group that you can be emotionally blackmailed into. Yes, apparently your child's ability to make Melbourne University Medicine is directly related to how many cupcakes you can churn out in a 12 month period.
For most parents this is generally a positive experience so long as the activity does have some correlation to skill set (so you will never find my name next to the commemorative quilt hanging at school reception). It can be a great deal of fun, surprising friendships are formed and you do get an appreciation of what it takes to make our kids' school lives that much richer and enjoyable. However (and you knew it was coming), nothing prepares you for the joys of forming part of a SCHOOL COMMITTEE! The life skills you will learn from attending meetings in small rooms on uncomfortable chairs often without decent coffee (or other psychologically supportive beverages) knows no bounds. You will come to understand the importance of over working and dissecting topics that make local government look efficient and worthwhile. Who knew that there could possibly be opposing views on serving a buffet dinner as opposed to a stand up cocktail party for a school social, that tanbark for the playground comes in either dark brown or red and a business case is required for both or that a 'thank you' bouquet of Gerberas for any occasion is a strict 'no-no'.
These are all remarkably important issues and fabulous blog fodder. The amusement value is abundant, although a sad reflection on what I deem as entertainment, however along the way you manage to do some good, raise money and give our kids a sense of what it means to be part of a community (one of the biggest lessons being that we are all different I would have thought). So, to those who feel the need to write a three page diatribe on the irresponsibility of serving cold mini quiches at the Grandparents morning tea, (which is surely better than when Bridget Jones' mum served miniature spotted dick to Mark Darcy's parents), may I recommend that next time perhaps send an email to the parent who gave up their time to put out the plate of miniature food and just say 'thank you'; because if I didn't have to think about it, prepare it, order it or hand it around then good on the person who did!