17 things that make every primary school parent see red
You’d like to think that you’re pretty easy-going most of the time, right? But when you’re a primary school parent, certain things are guaranteed to make your blood boil. How many of these have you experienced this week?
1. Discovering that your child’s homework – yes, that homework that required THREE HOURS’ worth of tears and negotiation over the weekend – hasn’t even been looked at. Two weeks later.
2. Dog poo on the school run. Because we have nothing better to do that try to scrape excrement out of the treads of a school shoe with a stick before our child is allowed into class…
3. Disappearing school jumpers – especially when yours are all carefully labelled (okay, scribbled on with a Sharpie) and you have a sneaky suspicion that another parent's laundry basket must be overflowing with jumpers in all sizes...
4. Parents who give the evil eye to anyone who dares make a sound during their child’s appearance in the school play, but then gossip incessantly with their neighbour while your child is on stage. Rude!
5. Your child’s inability to remember that certain things really need to be brought home. Lunchboxes, soggy swimming kit, letters about the next school trip… None of them are going to be much use left on their peg in the classroom, are they?
6. Last-minute notice about book day/maths day/international day. Seriously, how are you meant to produce a prize-winning Elmer the Elephant outfit when the shops are shut and your only resources are a couple of loo roll tubes and an empty cereal box?
7. The fact that your child chooses to play a fight-to-the-death game of Ninja Warriors on the muddiest corner of the playing field on the day when they’re wearing their brand new, regulation crested school shirt. Why don’t they ever get covered in filth when it’s a Tesco £1.50 polo day?
8. The 48-hour hour sickness rule. Okay, so we know it’s there for a reason, but is there anything more frustrating than having to spend two days on house arrest with a child who puked once and is now (literally) bouncing off the walls?
9. Other parents who ignore the 48-hour sickness rule, thereby resulting in norovirus spreading through the whole school like the plague.
10. After-school clubs being cancelled with 10 minutes’ warning. One minute you’re sitting there with a cup of tea, relishing the prospect of an extra hour of peace and quiet; the next you’re dashing to the car in a panic, still wearing your slippers, because hockey club has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
11. Competitive parents. Every class has That Mum whose child’s model dinosaur homework project looks like it should be in the Natural History Museum and puts your child’s eggbox-and-poster-paint monstrosity to shame. All their precious offspring’s own work? Yeah, right.
12. Unreciprocated playdates. We’re not mean, honest – we know that some parents struggle to fit them in because of work and other commitments. But when your child wants to invite their BFF round for tea for the seventh time this half-term when they haven’t had a single playdate in return, it’s hard not to be riled.
13. The constant demands for petty cash. Fifty pence for baking ingredients here, £30 for swimming lessons there... We're all for doing our bit for charity, and of course we want to support our child's learning, but sometimes it feels like we need a bank loan just to fund all the requests. Not to mention the fact that we NEVER have the right change when we need it.
14. Headlice. They’re a fact of primary school life, but de-nitting your child always results in an hour-long tantrum (from both of you).
15. School run parking. With cars parked on double yellow lines, on the pavement, across the school gates, there is no driving situation more likely to end in road rage. No wonder the air is blue at drop-off time.
16. Uneaten packed lunches. What is the point of getting up early to put together a nutritious lunchbox when nine times out of 10, the cucumber sticks and chopped apple come straight back home again? Especially when the first thing your child says on seeing you in the playground is, 'Muuuuum, I'm hungry!'
17. Biff, Chip and Kipper. They seem quite endearing when you first meet them, but after three terms of listening to your child read about their exploits, they start to get just a bit annoying. And by the time your child is in Year 1 and still bringing them home every day, frankly, they're about as appealing as the distant relatives you're forced to spend time with every Christmas. No more, please!