According to a Sainsbury's survey, the average mum spends £60 on new clothes, shoes and accessories for the first day of the new school term - and that's not for her kids, but for herself!
Furthermore, 1 in 5 mums splashes out around £50 on a new haircut, 58% wouldn't front up to the school gates without make-up on, and three quarters would never drop the kids at the school gates in the same outfit they wore the day before.
And here's the really mad bit - one in six admitted asking their partner or a neighbour to do the school run on days where they 'didn't look up to it'.
I nearly choked on my coffee when I read that. Who on earth are these mums, because they certainly don't represent me or the other mothers I meet at the school gates. Maybe it's something to do with living in a sleepy seaside town, but I don't know a single mum who models her school-run ensemble on Elle Macpherson.
And frankly anyone who wafted into our playground looking all coiffed and sporting spray-on jeans would very likely be vilified by us mere mortal mums who consider ourselves to have made an effort if we've swiped a bit of lipgloss (not this season's - several years old and discovered in the bottom of a handbag) on our chops and remembered to change out of our shameful crocs before dashing out the door. And yes, I'll admit to having done the school run in my pyjamas before now.
Shannen, a working mother to two daughters, says she's more likely to be found grabbing her school-run outfit from the tumble drier, not from the local fashion boutique. 'I set my clothes out the night before - they're always the same ones. I'd love to be one of those pristine mums but unfortunately I live in the real world and have work and kids to get sorted in the morning.'
But fashionista and mum of one Johanna Payton begs to differ. She's eBay's resident fashion blogger, head of fashion at stylecompare.co.uk and author of www.fashiondetective.co.uk. While Jo didn't buy new togs specifically for her son's new school term, she happily admits to making an effort with her appearance for the school run.
'If the truth be told, most women who care about fashion dress to impress other girls - rather than men. So what better time to flaunt your fashion sense than in the playground with gaggles of other women? The school run isn't a fashion parade - the whole world is! Good luck to those who couldn't care less about how they look when they step out of the front door; I do.'
Jo says her desire to look her best on the school run isn't really about other people though - it's about how her outfit makes her feel. 'If I go out looking like a scruff, I feel deflated and timid. If I was corned by another mum in the playground or (perish the thought) by my son's teacher and I was all dishevelled I would be totally off guard. I wouldn't be able to handle it as well as if I'm dressed properly - which to me means something on-trend and eye-catching that expresses my personality and my love of the sartorial. I love looking my best no matter where I'm going - it's not done to intimidate anyone else or to compete with them.' Jo adds that her clothes are often a talking point with the other mums, which helps break the ice.
I love a high heel and a chic jacket and agree with Jo that looking your best can do wonders for your mood but I'm equally at home in battered wellies, a storm force jacket and no make-up.
And seriously, after the mammoth task of getting my kids ready to leave for school on time, it's a wonder I can still string a sentence together, never mind think about putting a cutting-edge fashion look together. Life is just too short, and I can't think of anything more ridiculous than trying to match my look, which is mostly designed to hide my muffin top, to that of a woman better known as The Body.