Worried about embarrassing school moments? You're not alone
I thought becoming a grown-up meant you could put those embarrassing playground moments behind you, but apparently not...
If there was a school prize for ‘parent most likely to forget swimming kit’ or ‘mother most likely to send her child to school in her pinafore on a non-uniform day’, I’m pretty sure I’d be a strong contender, definitely worth an each-way bet.
The trouble is, I just have too much going on – I don’t have the time, and possibly neither the inclination, to pay proper attention. Most of the time I get away with it, and try to pass it off as me being one of those flighty but nonetheless adorable type mums, but sometimes it’s just plain embarrassing.
My friend Sarah is just as bad, and confided in me last week that she’d inadvertently sent her son Theo to school with scraps for lunch. “We were in a rush,” she admitted, “I checked his bag, and his lunch box was there. Turns out it was yesterday’s lunch, and I’d sent him in with a half eaten cheese sandwich, a penguin wrapper, a squished banana, and an empty yogurt pot.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not a lunch Jamie Oliver would approve of.
Surely we aren't the only mums like this?
In service what now?
One of my proudest parenting moments was the time I forgot about two in service training days. In a row.
One is almost excusable, we've all done it haven't we? – you turn up, there’s no one there, you look a bit sheepish and scuttle home - but two? You’d think after the first one I’d have checked wouldn’t you?
The second morning we were on our way when one of the always-beautiful-turned-out-like-a-lady-from-a-make-up-counter-mums pulled up alongside us in her equally well-polished car. “You do know it’s another INSET day today don’t you?” she asked, giving Belle a pitying look.
“Yes of course!” I wanted to reply, “We’re just on our way to a school themed fancy dress party!”
“No,” I answered instead, looking slightly pathetic, “really? Another one?”
“It makes me sad when Mummy hits me…”
It could be worse of course, Belle could be spreading vicious rumours about me, writing secret pleas for help in her exercise books.
Like Linda’s lovely children.
Linda was less embarrassed and more terrified when one of her daughters dropped her in it at school. “Melissa was asked what makes her happy and what makes her sad,” explains Linda, “and she wrote in her school exercise book that what made her sad was "when Mummy hit her".
I was mortified, I had raised my hand once, and that was out of pure panic when she walked into the road as a toddler. At parents' evening, the headmaster brought it up and mentioned something about social services… I still come out in a cold sweat about even though I (think) know he was joking.”
Daddy drops a clanger
Let’s not forget about the dads here too. Yes, as mums, we appear to be more than a little prone to putting our foot in it, but we’re definitely not the only ones.
Stuart is dad to Erin, eight, and on his last trip to the playground came away more than a little red faced. “I don’t normally do the school run,” explains Stuart, clearly immediately on the defensive, “but I was on pick up duty one day when my wife text me to ask me to check with Erin’s teacher about a school trip they were having the next day.
"Sounds like a simple request right? Well I approached her teacher, who was standing by the classroom door, as the kids filed out, and asked whether or not Erin had to bring spending money or not. “Spending money?” he asked, looking at me blankly, “What for?”
"I wasn’t very impressed with the teacher’s apparent vagueness, and asked again, a little irately. “Spending money, for tomorrow, does she need any?”
“I’m terribly sorry,” he replied, looking slightly scared, “I don’t know who Erin is.” Shocking! I was about to get properly annoyed, when a younger man, with a staff badge round his neck, who was clearly Erin’s actual teacher, came out of the classroom. Turns out I’d been haranguing an innocent Granddad. What can I say – I saw a beard and assumed he was the teacher…"
Oh dear Stuart.
Still, it's good to know I'm not the only one making a fool of myself in front of parents and teachers alike - we all do it, it's an inevitable part of that elusive work-life balance struggle isn't it? We simply don't have the time anymore to do everything right, all of the time.
Well that's my excuse at least. And I'm sticking to it.
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