Mornings have never been my strong point. In term-time I rush out of the house at 7am looking as though I’ve been pulled through a hedge backwards – without a scrap of make-up and my hair sticking up on end. After I’ve dropped my teenage daughter at the bus stop I dash into Sainsbury’s to buy the papers, hoping I don’t scare the cheery man on the till or, horror of horrors, bump into someone I know.
Now, as the long summer holidays draw to a close and the new school year gets into its stride, parents up and down the country are reportedly full of angst about what to wear at the school gate. Apparently yummy mummies – think Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer – swear by glossy hair, full make-up and high heels while slummy mummies go for tracksuits or even riding gear. If you don’t wear the right outfit, some mums warn darkly, your children might not get invited round to play by their pals.
With two teenagers who would be appalled if I dared to get out of the car and wave them off, at least I don’t have to worry about what other mums think. But even so, I feel positively chic and well turned-out compared to some parents doing the school run. Why? Because at least I’m dressed. A couple of years back the head of one primary school was so appalled at the number of parents arriving in their nighties and pyjamas to drop off their children that he appealed to them to show a little more respect. Known as the “pyjama mamas,” some were turning up in baggy PJs and fluffy mules while others sported dressing gowns and curlers.
As the head wearily told his local paper: “People don’t go to see a solicitor, bank manager or doctor wearing pyjamas so why do they think it’s OK to drop their children off at school dressed like that?”