Hands up who's guilty of this parenting fail

"With no disrespect to my kids' school or to parenting in general, most school events are excruciating."
"With no disrespect to my kids' school or to parenting in general, most school events are excruciating." Photo: Supplied

As a Busy Working Mum™, I am constantly looking for statistics to make me feel better about my parental fails. This week, I found some.

According to research conducted by The Skool Loop App, lots of Busy Working Mums™ and busy stay at home mums and our (doubtless far less busy) male counterparts are pretty damn slack. In a survey of over 200 parents of school aged children, nearly three quarters admitted to missing major school events.

Now, here's where it gets interesting, though the interesting bit isn't spelled out. According to the research, 32 per cent of parents reported that they were notified of the event too late to attend. Another 25 per cent said that they weren't even aware the event was taking place.

And we've all been there. God knows I barely ever check my diary, and even when I do it's useless because I forget to write in it.

But something isn't adding up. Literally. I asked my kids to do the calculations and apparently 32 per cent plus 25 per cent does not equal 100. In fact, 32 per cent plus 25 per cent only equals 63 per cent (according to one daughter) and 57 per cent (according to the other). 

Either way, that leaves a large number of Busy Working Mums™ and busy stay at home mums and (not as busy) dads who knew the school event was on but didn't go anyway.

And I fall into that very large number. (I think it's 43 per cent, but I'd have to check with the teacher.) 

Now, many of the others in that 43 per cent would be unable to attend school events because of other commitments. They might be working, or caring for younger kids, or birthing new infants, or stabbing themselves in the eye with a sharp object because this would be preferable to the average school event. 

I mean, let's face it. With no disrespect to my kids' school or to parenting in general, most school events are excruciating. 

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Consider, for example, school sports days (which 39 per cent of parents miss). They are long. They are hot. There is nowhere to get a decent cappuccino and muffin (and really, don't even try the coffee from the tin shed at the stadium, it is awful and then you'll have to use the bathroom which is worse). And your kid is only competing for about three minutes every two hours, which is really a very unsatisfying time-reward ratio.

And let's reflect on parent teacher evenings (which 29 per cent of parents miss). The teachers are supposed to chat to each parent for 15 minutes, which is a ridiculous time frame, because it takes 15 minutes just to introduce themselves and get out little Chloe's Work Samples Folder, so after an hour each teacher is running approximately 75 hours late. And you have to sit around on a teeny chair waiting for your turn, so the teacher can eventually inform you that your kid talks a lot and needs to practice her spelling, which of course you knew already. Wouldn't a note be just as effective?

Oh, and let's not forget school concerts (which 27 per cent of parents miss). These are actually extremely beautiful and moving, if your kid is actually on stage. And your kid is never on stage, except in the group number, during which you can barely make out the top of their head singing enthusiastically in the back row. Really, school concerts should go straight to DVD so we can all skip ahead to the good bits.

The research pointed out that 57 per cent of Busy Working Mums™ and busy stay at home mums and (less busy) dads are unwittingly slack parents. Presumably they feel bad about it, and want to change.

But I am one of the 43 per cent who are slack by design, not accident. And happily, this research made me feel a lot better about it.