At first I thought the group chat would be handy (Picture: Getty Images)
When the ding-a-ling of my phone chimed in the pitch black silence of my bedroom, I sat up with a bolt.
‘Who was getting in touch in the middle of the night?’ I wondered as I groped frantically at my bedside table. ‘Was there any emergency? Was everyone OK?’
My heart raced as I logged in and my eyes scanned the message quickly.
‘Don’t forget, everyone!’, it read. ‘It’s a non-uniform day today!’
As I flopped back onto my pillow, the adrenalin gradually retreating, I cursed, once again, the ‘2022 Reception’ WhatsApp group.
At 6am, it wasn’t quite the middle of the night, but it was still over an hour until my husband and I needed to get up.
It may have only been four months ago that I’d joined this particular group, formed of parents of the other children in my little girl’s reception class, but it felt like a lifetime ago – and it was already the bane of my life.
When my daughter started school last September, I had numerous concerns and worries.
Would she make new friends? How would she settle into going five days a week? Would she enjoy learning her letters and numbers? Would she eat her school dinner?
It turned out that none of these things would be my biggest stress. No, no, no, it was the other mums who set my teeth on edge and had me howling with frustration.
Of course, I had no idea that this is what it’d be like at the start. In fact, when I was invited to join a Facebook group for parents who had children starting at the same school and someone suggested setting up a WhatsApp chat, I thought it was a great idea. Handy, you know?
‘How many uniforms is everyone getting?’ one mum asked, and I nodded approvingly. I’d only bought two jumpers and five polo shirts so far, and I’d been debating investing in some more.
‘I’ve got three white polo shirts and three blue ones and two skirts and a pinafore,’ one mum replied. ‘No idea if I’ll need more.’
‘Never buy white polo shirts – they just get ruined straight away,’ another mum pinged back instantly. ‘You’ll definitely need more than that too, you won’t believe how often they lose clothes. I’d go for 10 polo shirts, but I reckon you’ll need another seven if three of yours are white.’
I learnt later that this lady already had two older children at school and considered herself the fountain of all knowledge – no really, that was actually how she introduced herself in her next message.
But of course, she wasn’t the only one to pipe up. There are 63 of us in the group and almost everyone had an opinion.
I can’t be known as the ‘woman who left the group’
‘I’d start small, stick with what you have – you can always buy …read more