I did consider calling this post ‘running the gauntlet’, which I suppose hints at the direction today’s blog is about to take.
Those who don’t do the daily school drop off and collection, many call ‘the school run’ (run? who’s running? ), may imagine they are missing the happy chit-chat of parents catching up about their weekends, and kissing their kiddies goodbye in the playground.
All I can say to you, is that this Utopian scenario exists only on the first three days of term. At least, that’s how it goes at Buddy’s school. IF it last three days.
Once past those warm fuzzy days of new jumpers and shiny shoes ,you find yourself embroiled in a whole new social dynamic. Or perhaps hell, though hell would be simpler to navigate.
There are cliques, there are arguments, there is name calling, there have been fisticuffs, there are affairs started and wronged women seeking solace. Did you think this blog was about the children? Oh no no no ……..this social maze consists of parents!
There is fuel added to this fire regularly (and unknowingly) by the school.
The school commit the heinous crime of arranging a trip for the little cherubs. There is always a cost. Some parents can afford this, and others cannot. There is a fund to help those parents who just can’t give anymore cash to the book bag bandit. Everyone knows this fact.
It’s humiliating to need this fund. You do actually have to fess up to someone that you are flat broke, and its beans for tea again! This humiliation however, does not stop the endless discussion of who has paid and who has not. For days after a trip consent letter arrives in the satchel post the playground rings with
‘I can go there cheaper myself!’
‘I think those who don’t pay should be left at school’
‘i know SHE wont pay, she never does’
‘I’m not paying next time, why should I? My husband WORKS’
Awwww the cute children with their little packed lunches off to the zoo (or some such) to have a fabulous, mildly educational, trip with their friends……… the poor Mother, trying really hard not to fart (all she has eaten for three weeks is beans), running home shame faced and humiliated. While people ponder what contribution she made, and insist loudly that her child should ride in the lunch bag crate! She wont have contributed enough for their little bum to touch a velour bus seat after all. Maybe, just to be sure, they should be banned from the penguins too? You know, to make it fair.
Then there are the those Mothers who are instantly your gossipy best mate.
Be afraid… be very afraid!
As sure as there is a nose on your face, if they are gossiping about others then they will have no qualms sharing the details of your laundry basket with anyone who will listen. And some who wont. They talk about what a shouty mother this person is, how that person would rather buy beer for themselves than bananas to feed their child , and, the always fascinating, who is sleeping with who and what their respective spouses are likely to do about it. This is all fun and games for the unsuspecting mother enjoying all this news, until THE day.
‘THE’ day is the day the unsuspecting mother rounds the corner to see the gossipy best mate, pint in hand, laughing with the parent who wont buy bananas. The expression on her poor face when she realizes who and what they are laughing at could probably be viewed from the international space station. ‘Oh look’ says one spaceman to another ‘theres a woman realizing that the day she answered the door to the postman, with a breast pad stuck to her cheek, is now public knowledge. Ha HA!’.
Well ,you can’t blame the spacemen, there’s nothing to look at out of the other window.
At buddy’s school, a school with a good reputation, In a nice area and good ofstead reports, police have had to be called to gates due to fighting fathers. Social services have had accusations of abuse from one parent against another. Parents have had to be invited in to meetings with the school to sort out their own play ground arguments. Not to mention the calls to husbands, hinting at the extramarital activities of wives.
And you were feeling sorry for the breast pad woman!
I tell you the school run is not for the faint of heart. My advice? Smile at them all, say good morning politely. Ignore all friend requests and run home like hell. Oh, that who’s running, ME!
Oh and please, please, for your own safety DO NOT MENTION YOUR CHILD’S READING LEVEL…… EVER!
We both know your child is a genius, lets just leave it at that.