Ok so ranty post alert. Also … first world problems – I know this. Hashtag Blessed and all of that – but if this post makes just one of you poor women trying to cobble together a Peter Rabbit outfit out of a manky old muslin and some dodgy outfit you wore to a hen do in 1996 feel a little better then it’s been worth it.
Now I don’t have kids at primary school currently so thank christ I’m not making that outfit tonight but World Book Day is not the only example of something built in to modern society with a wonderfully positive intention that has inadvertently become one of a long list of opportunities for us as well meaning, committed and loving parents to fuck it all up.
Last night it was -3 degrees. I was cosy at home and had managed to cobble together a half decent meal for my family of five. Snow had fallen and the roads were a little bit dodgy. I really didn’t want to take my fifteen year old twenty miles across the county to his sports training session but we managed to get out the door – albeit five or ten minutes late – and off we set on the three hour round trip. Just as we approached the M5 he looked at the clock and said ‘there’s not much point going Mum’ – we’re going to be late and coach will just make me run laps – that’s what you have to do if you’re late.’
What. The. Actual.F………
I get it. Teach kids the importance of punctuality, responsibility, blah blah blah….. but essentially this punishment that my son would receive would be my fault.
Don’t get your kid to school in a lovingly hand sewn or exorbitantly priced Oliver Twist get up tomorrow – your bad! Don’t you dare try and use the excuse that you’ve been busy trying to put food on the table or that your mind is like scrambled egg because today you’ve just spent the last six hours completing online school applications – oh no! The ultimate punishment will be the walk of shame up the school pathway as you drag your child either dressed in school uniform because you forgot (is there anything worse?) or wearing a Disney superhero costume that they were given for Christmas that you know full well has absolutely no connection to any words that were ever written in any book, ever.
Child gets 6/10 in spelling test – your fault – you spent the weekend with your extended family and didn’t practice.
Dentist advises that back molars look slightly decayed – must do better – you give in to your tyrannical toddler every time they will not put their pants on by offering a sweet – anything to get out that door.
One of the 27 letters that came back from school last week not completed on time – little Jonny misses swimming and boom – you’re in tears from mum guilt all weekend.
The problem is that the need and reasoning behind every one of the demands faced by busy parents these days are all right and fair and meaningful. What parent doesn’t want their children to celebrate literature or learn the importance of punctuality? It’s just the result of all of this collectively is a generation of parents who are gradually all falling off the treadmill with a pretty hefty thud.
We’re burning out, melting down, bursting in to tears at parents evening – we’re all trying really really hard but there’s just too much to keep on top of and too many reasons to blame ourselves for not being quite good enough.
What’s the solution? My mind is too muddled to think of one… anyone else got any bright ideas? For now perhaps any well meaning and hard working teachers or sports coaches reading this out there will start to sympathise and keep up the excellent initiatives but take one or two steps to ease off the pressure.
Here’s hoping. Other solutions on a postcard. Would love to hear them. But if I did have a child at primary school this year I’d be in the superhero camp sticking two fingers up to anyone who dared accuse me of not taking this shit seriously.
And sorry for the naughty words. I’ve had a wine now – things are calmer, until tomorrow when we’ve all forgotten about World Book Day and are focusing on……….. snow. Gotta LOVE parenthood!