We’ve hit PART FIVE, people! There were some* who told me it couldn’t be done, but I’ve done it – five posts in a week, and there’s still more to go!
(actually, I’m thinking I might take Saturday and Sunday off because God* told me to).
If you’ve found yourself on here and wondering what the f-bomb is going on here, then cast your f-bombing eyes here, motherf-bombs (and read in order):
So now you know everything.
*OK, nobody told me. I lied.
DISCLAIMER: None of the examples in this series are people I know in real life. They are just stereotypes. Everybody is a mixture of all of these things, it’s just that some people are more of a stereotype than others. It’s like the thing where people characterise drummers to be the stupid ones in bands, even though I’ve never actually met a stupid drummer. I’ve met permanently-confused drummers, but that’s not quite the same thing.
(Please Note: This is a guide to the UK species. I cannot say for sure whether parents on School Runs behave like these various personality types; although if parents were salmon, and School Runs were Salmon Runs, then I suppose there would be some similarities. Salmon of various different species have to find spawning rivers, negotiate waterfalls and obstructions, and bears. And so do School Run Parents. Especially the bit about bears. Lots of bears on the School Run, y’know).
The One Who Doesn’t Give A Shit
Letter home? Bollocks to it. Homework? Nah. School Fete? Nope. School Play? Too busy. Getting the kid to wear the most spotless school uniform? Meh. We are all this person. We all don’t give a shit at some point. We give up on homework. We can’t get to every meeting with the teacher. We can’t attend every single public performance. We don’t check to see if every school uniform garment is looking completely stain-free. Really don’t want to have anything to do with The Christmas Fayre. Spelling test? Nah, stuff it. Life’s too short. OFSTED inspection? So what. SATs exams? It’s the school’s problem, why should the kids work themselves into an emotional husk?
Nah, don’t bother. The School shoves so much down our throats, it’s hardly surprising that we occasionally cannot muster the fucks to give about Every Single Sodding Thing the School does. OK, some things get ignored. Letters go astray. Money and forms do not get returned on time. Piano practice does not get done. Lines are not learned. Spelling is not practiced and books are not read. Fine, we’re all guilty of that. I certainly am. I am sometimes The One Who Doesn’t Give A Shit more than any of the other stereotypes we have discussed thus far.
Some parents don’t give a shit all the time, and this drives the schools up the wall. Especially if the child is excluded from school trips or treats, or non-uniform days, or has forgotten key homeworks, or misses out on taking part in a performance, or is denied certain services.
Sometimes the Not Giving A Shit Parent makes life a bit embarrassing for the kid. Like the time we showed up to school,and I wondered why everyone else had Indiana Jones-style hats, and velociraptor backpacks. It turned out I forgot (or didn’t know, or never bothered to read the letter, one of those is probably true) that it was a non-uniform trip to the local Forest School, and the kids were supposed to be dressing up as explorers. Alice showed up in her school uniform, and was the only kid who wasn’t wearing awesome, comfortable and very cool clothes. Alice went from normal to upset in less than three seconds after realisation. My frantic apologies to her – because it was my stupid fault – seemed ineffective. I then had to run back home, pack a Tesco bag (classy and prepared, yeah?) full of Alice’s favourite outdoorsy clothes, and raced back to the school before they left the classroom.
And some parents don’t give a shit to the extent that they show up to the School Run in their pyjamas. Now, I’m NOT judging anyone who wants to show up in their onesie or pyjama or nightie or negligee. I’m not. I’mnotI’mnotI’mnotI’mnotI’mnotI’mnot. I swear I’m not…
Not Giving A Shit can be quite a refreshing approach to the scrum of the School Run. There’s an awful lot about School stuff that is not as important as it likes to make out. Disassociation from the gossip and nonsense that some people get really wound up about is a very enviable position to have. Not getting involved in every single school activity means more spare time. I mean, obviously do some of it – to completely not take part is not advisable, because refusing to do anything for your child and their School makes you a bit of an arsehole – but not all of it.
And, let’s be frank, there are times when we all feel that the School expects us, as parents, to do more than is practical or reasonable. I don’t mind helping with homework, or taking part in activities, but I do get fed up at having quite as much homework that is specifically aimed at parents taking part**. I get that there are complicated but essential family-bonding reasons why children benefit from having parents help out, but I don’t like the feeling that I am getting marked in some way.
(**Confession time: In our house, because I really cannot be trusted with scissors or sticky tape because of all the swearing, mess and inevitable tears from me because I HATE BASTARD SELLOTAPE, Sarah oversees the making of homework dioramas with Alice. Last weekend Sarah gave up hours of her free time to make a superb cake version of Stonehenge. Last year, Sarah built a Tudor House for the Great Fire of London topic. Much as I am currently ranting about it, the collaborative parent/child homework stuff is overwhelmingly done by Sarah in our house, because she is a fantastic craft-person, and she is a fabulous wife and mother).
I do also get occasionally annoyed that the School insists on us taking part in so many events. Surely, they can manage without us? That’s why schools have staff (albeit poorly paid and craply funded). Sadly, much as I regret that there has to be a need for it, this is why it is essential for the School community to have a parent be The Organiser
Look, I’ve been to school. I’ve done it. I did it for 14 years, sat the exams, played in the wind band, took part in the team sports, did the school plays, and helped out at the events. I enjoyed it. But I’ve done all that. I’m an adult now, and I don’t have to attend school any more, or do schoolwork, and it bugs me that I am expected to on quite such a scale. I don’t mind doing it for my daughter’s benefit, but sometimes I feel as though I’m doing it for the school’s. And that’s why, sometimes, I get a case of the fuckits.
Hang on, what were we talking about?
Oh yeah, parents who couldn’t care less on the school run.
Actually, I can’t be bothered any more.
Plus Side: Laid back approach, relaxed attitude to School Bullshit, not that bothered, The Organiser doesn’t even try to recruit you into running a stall anymore – WIN!!!!
Minus Side: Sudden realisation that today is charity non-uniform day and your kid is in uniform unlike everyone else!! What homework? When?? It’s a SCHOOL TRIP??! And lastly: If you don’t give enough of a shit to even escort your child to the school gate (see the forthcoming guide to the Dump-and-Run Parent), then I’m sorry, but The Gang will gossip about you and pass judgement in their special courtroom.
APPEARANCE: Pyjamas. Shrugging. Nonchalant attitude to school nonsense. Not showing up to every single sodding thing. Not interested in School gossip.
CALL: “Laterz, kid”
HABITAT: Ploughing the field of fucks, and finding none to harvest