To the mum who is struggling on the school run with a toddler,

I see you trying to get a reluctant kid to school, with a toddler in tow who wants to stop and pick up every leaf they see. I see you struggling with the bags and the lunchboxes and the toddler who wants to go in the opposite direction. And I see you trying to encourage everyone to go a bit faster with the toddler refusing point bank to sit in the buggy.

I see your forced cheeriness and hear your high pitched “come on” said through gritted teeth. I see the exasperation on your face and the fake smile plastered on for all the passers by.

And I see the lump in your throat as you hold back the tears.

I know that your battle is not over when you finally enter the school gates. You still have to coax your oldest child to go into the classroom that he doesn’t want to enter. Then coax the toddler back out of the classroom that he would quite happily stay in. I know there’s a high chance you’ll be the mum walking out with a screaming toddler.

I know you will have a knot in your stomach worrying about the kid you left at school. And I know It’s going to take you 40 minutes to do the 10 minute walk home with the toddler. I know by the time you get home it will still be relatively early yet you will feel like you’ve done a full days work. You feel guilty that you begin your day by counting down the hours to bedtime. And you dread 3 O’clock when you get to do the school run with a toddler all over again.

I know that you feel totally alone in this.

You feel like you have some how been duped, things were supposed to get easier. But right now things are really really hard. But please know that you are not alone. I see you. I see you, because I was you. The mum with a toddler on the school run. The mum pushing the buggy with the screaming child. I was the mum with a toddler in the pushchair eating an ice lolly at 8:30 in the morning, because it was my last resort to get him out of the house.

I know how hard it is to keep an eye on a toddler who wants to run around a busy playground whilst trying to keep an eye out for your other child to make sure they are ok. The conversations with your friends are snatched and rarely finished.

mum on the school run with a toddler
Look how happy he is to have an ice lolly at 8:30 in the morning. Not my finest parenting moment!

There were times when I cried as soon as the door closed behind me and I was back home.

I would dread the school runs and I would wonder why everyone else seem to find it so easy. The rest of the day was fine, but my world seemed to fall apart on the school runs.

When my eldest son was 6 he had a really tough year. My kid who had previously loved school suddenly hated it. His best friend had moved away and his class has been mixed up. He was struggling to find his place. The mornings were really hard. He cried when it was time to leave, begged me to let him stay home.

I also had a two year-old who was quite happy playing with his trains. He didn’t want to be interrupted by the inconvenience of the school run. And once we did get out of the house getting anywhere with a two year old is never straight forward or quick. My son’s classroom was in a corner away from the main playground and I felt so isolated. I felt like I was the only um in that playground struggling with the school runs.

I can look back now and laugh at some of the things that happened on our daily commute.

Like the time Big had a strop on the way home and stormed off. At the same time Little decided to leg it in the opposite direction. I was left with the parenting dilemma of choosing which of my children I liked best in that moment to go after!

Another time Little to decided to stop halfway across a road and lie down. Big decided the appropriate reaction was to also stop in the middle of the road and scream for help. Repeatedly. I picked Little up kicking and screaming and dragged Big across the road. Basically looking like I was abducting my own kids.

There have been face plants into puddles (always on the way to school). There has been dog poo trodden in. And there have been scooter crashes and tantrums. When they were happening I felt awful, it was horrendous. I tried everything. I always left plenty of time, we tried reward charts, games, reigns, and of course, bribery.

But the truth is getting two small kids out of the house and where you need to be for a certain time is hard.

Let alone doing it day in, day out, when they don’t want to go to that place you’re going to.

mum on the school run with a toddler

Now days both of them are at school the school runs are easier. Mainly because I no longer have to do the school run with a toddler. They are actually normally quite uneventful. Although a full day at school can cause some serious whinging!

So to all the mums on the school run with a toddler, I just want to say… I know you are in the thick of it right now. It does pass, it does get easier. School runs won’t always be like this. Please don’t feel judged. And if you need a cup of tea and a hug we are here.

With love from all of the mum’s who have been there.

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An open letter to the mums who are struggling to do the school run with a toddler in tow from someone who has been there.




Claire Kirby

2 Comments on To the mum doing the school run with a toddler

  1. Oh I remember this and will have to do it all again soon, my youngest is a baby and currently perfectly happy in the buggy, but I remember pushing my daughter to school absolutely screaming on more than one occasion. And oldest crying and not wanting to go into the school and literally dodging past the teacher and running out again. Here’s hope my third time at toddlerdom is easier! Great post x

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