School parenting fails not to worry about

Some things just aren't worth beating yourself up over.
Some things just aren't worth beating yourself up over. Photo: Getty Images

As the school term gets well underway it's apparent that the year ahead will be busy - particularly so for those new school mums amongst us.  

As we adjust to a whole new routine and a whole new stage of life there are challenges ahead that we'll only know when we face them head on.  

However, for the more common occurrences, there needs to be plenty of room for error and plenty of room for accepting that some parenting guilt and 'fails' we just need to get over. 

Not saying yes to every single play date 

As your child's friendship circle begins to increase, so do the invitations for after school and weekend play dates.  

Naturally, we all want our children to be liked and make friends, so it's really nice when this starts to happen.  However, when organising your week requires 55 calendar reminders and your day is about cramming in 24 hours worth of tasks in just 12, then something has to give.    

The biggest fear in saying no to an invite is that we may never get invited again but, realistically, all mums are in the same boat and are unlikely to be offended if you're honest.  

Don't be tempted to make up excuses - whereby you run the risk of getting caught out - but instead just admit that this week doesn't work for you. 'I'm shattered, overwhelmed, or just can't be bothered to socialise today' are all perfectly acceptable as far as I'm concerned. 

Your child will probably hold it against you momentarily (or longer if they're particularly stubborn), but the reality is that everyone needs down time and sometimes that just means being at home without anything scheduled ... which brings me onto my next point. 

Not signing up your child for every after school activity 

There's a tendency in the first few terms to get caught up in the whirlwind that is enthusiasm. Hearing about all the different clubs, activities and sports your child can join gets them all excited and it's easy enough to agree to letting them sign up FOR EVERYTHING. Besides, you couldn't cope with the guilt of them being left out, right?  

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But, once again, the likelihood is that the novelty of certain activities will soon wear off. Enthusiasm will be replaced with whining and what started off as fun will suddenly become hell. You will begrudge the time and money spent and happily use any excuse for them not to attend. 

Therefore, try to be realistic when you're signing up for things. Consider how much time you want to commit each week to activities - particularly given you'll be the one driving them around and reshuffling other commitments - and don't focus on what they WON'T be doing, but rather on what they will. 

Not baking your own homemade cupcakes for cupcake day 

With every school term comes the onslaught of cupcake days, fairs or events that calls you to draw on your non-existent baking skills. The pressure to comply and present something Pinterest worthy feels huge - if only you're putting it upon yourself and doing it for the other parents and not the kids.  

There's a tendency to think that anything rating less than a 9 out of 10 on Masterchef will just not do, and you consider anything store bought as a 'fail' and an indication of your lack of interest and love for your child. 

However, not everyone has the skills, desire or bloody time to be making cupcake art - particularly when the warning comes from your child the night before the event when you've run out of eggs, milk and flour.  

So, therefore, if you're going to have to head to the supermarket to get the ingredients anyhow, just buy them ready made while there! Save the mess, time and energy and, seriously, don't feel guilty about it. Kids only ever lick off the icing anyhow and other parents really don't notice or care! 

Not partaking in parenting volunteer duties at the school  

Much like the requirement to dust off your baking skills, the school term also requires you to dust off your teaching and volunteering hat. There are school reading groups, canteen duties, fairs, fetes and sausage sizzles happening, and most request parental support.  

Whilst some parents relish in being involved in these activities, others don't. For some of us committing time to getting showered, dressed and out of the door is enough of a challenge, without adding in anything else.  

So if the thought of volunteering does nothing more for you than elicit a groan, sigh or eye roll, then don't feel bad. Remember that for every parent who says no, there's a parent who says yes and if you say no often enough your child will come to expect it and accept that it's just not your thing.  

Forgetting a school event

With so many events scheduled into the school calendar it's hard to keep your head above water and remember what's happening from one day to the next.  

Therefore, it's inevitable that there'll come a time when you send your child to school without any cupcakes on cupcake day, without swim gear for the swimming carnival or dressed in red when the requirement for the day was actually green. 

Life is busy and whatever your situation - whether you work or not - juggling everything is really challenging. So, forgetting an event is not the end of the world. Schools cater for this kind of mishap (let's face it, you won't be the first or last to forget) and so your child won't miss out or be left to feel silly.  

That's not to say that they won't lay it on thick when they come home of course, but for that the simple answer is wine. 

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