Why World Book Day Can Fuck Off

Why World Book Day Can Fuck Off

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!







  1. Hollie Adducci
    February 28, 2018 / 7:09 pm

    This has made my evening! Thanks for cheering me up Maman …,
    I’m currently home alone ( hubby away since Monday) with a nine month old snotty teething baby and a four year old demanding a hulk costume for tomorrow — nightmare! I have no clue how this will all be resolved — secretly hoping for a snow day 🤣
    Off to, also, drink a glass of wine and await the night feeds!

  2. Carla
    February 28, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    I HATE WORLD BOOK DAY! And bear in mind I used to teach English. I’ve a house full of books, I volunteered to distribute free book for World Book Night, my children love books, we are members of libraries in 2 counties, we support our independent bookshop……(I could go on….!)

    I see your rant and match it with one of my own……..

    World Book Day is now consumerist crap, forcing parents to waste money on plastic/polyester/furry crap arsed outfits that are never worn again. Here’s an idea- get a really great book and get someone who is really, really good at telling stories to read it to the children. Not some dull monotone dreary recitation- but super exciting Michael Rosen style reading. Or perhaps ask the parents that instead of wasting £10-15 on an outfit from Sainsburys, they all send in £2 for the school library? Buy new, exciting, thrilling books and give them out as prizes.

    No- we have parents trying to out do each other wasting pots of money on this shite. When my daughter did hers, we made a cardboard piece of cheese and mouse ears headband. Now we have ridiculous over the top outfits which are nothing to do with books!

    Our school is asking children to decorate a wooden spoon as their favourite character- great idea I thought- then I’ll have that spoon back for the kitchen. Until some sappy eyed idiot said that the children were ‘poor kids’ for not being ‘allowed’ to dress up. Catch a grip.

    I look forward to your next rant!

  3. Mumof3
    February 28, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Most of them turn up as characters from films and then claim it’s because it was the ‘film’ version of the ‘book!’ So you just watched the film and didn’t read the book then? Ok. Fine. Not sure what any of it achieves and am so glad my 3 are all at secondary school and things rarely extend to involving parents. Was I sad when my youngest left primary school last year? Ye…. erm, no, not really. PS I used to be a primary school teacher myself.

  4. Sharon
    February 28, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    I’ve worked in schools and Governed in schools and I totally agree. In first schools children would get told off for being late and I don’t think there was a child there that arrived under their own steam- you only had to look at all the cars around blocking the roads, driveways and junctions to see that. Why tell them off?? My kids are 25 & 21 a diva honestly say that I hated every project, model and dress up activity that ever came my way. Total nightmare and I’m so glad it’s over….although I do miss the snuggling up to read in the evenings and drawing smiley faces in their reading diaries. My heart goes out to all parents panicking tonight 🌸

    • Sharon
      February 28, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      Diva!?! It should say “and I can” 😂

  5. Ness
    February 28, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    This brought back so many memories!! Thankfully I have come out the other side, my babies now being 22 and 24, and can laugh at my many mum fails now, but at the time I fellt awful. Probably the funniest was the time I sent both of my two kids to Harvest Festival with out of date tinned goods, and I’m talking years out of date. Being the poor but clever kids at the posh school, they were mortified. But we really laugh at it now. Then my son wanted to go to world book day as Bart Simpson so I painted him yellow etc and he loved it but the teacher made some snarky comment and I wanted to deck her, He was 5 for gods sake. And the photo of him still makes me smile. Anyway all you lovely mums, the time you have with your kids is precious and fleeting so don’t let the bastards grind you down. You are doing an awesome job!

  6. Abi McPherson
    February 28, 2018 / 8:43 pm

    Fantastic rant! So glad you shared your thoughts and after a glass of wine makes it all the more comical. My eldest is in Reception and I am dreading the costume letters for the coming years. I don’t sew and my sister got all the creative genes. Talk of dress-up days makes me break out in a cold sweat argh x

  7. Clare
    February 28, 2018 / 10:55 pm

    Totally totally totally agree and for me it’s worse as not only do I have to source ‘outfits’ for them (Sainsbury’s obv) that bear no relation to the books they like but as I’m a teacher, my school makes US dress up too, so I have to sort myself out as well. Such a load of pointless stress, the focus should be on the books, we need to move on from this commercialised circus that it’s become.

  8. March 1, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    I hate conforming to World Book Day and we don’t quite frankly. Last year I was home schooling and we spent the day on the beach writing stories in the sand. This year although the children are back at school I was going to take them out so we could do our own thing. As it was the snow came down so they had the day off anyway. We’ve made ice stories using projector paper and marker pens then freezing it. The end result is fantastic and sets a much better example to the children of showing some iniative and creative thinking rather than following the whole drab dressing up thing. Ugh. Xx

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