On the weekend, my husband and I attended the annual art show at our child’s school. It was a wonderful night, we had a lot of fun, the kids’ artwork was amazing; some truly touching, some hilarious, but the students, teachers, and volunteers had clearly put a lot of effort into making it memorable.
As well as the students making a piece individually, each class also collaborated together to make larger works which were auctioned off at the end of the night as a fundraiser for the school. Being a child-free event, the drinks were flowing and everyone was pretty happy, and my husband and I ended up “winning” a beautiful artwork made lovingly by the special education unit at auction.
In the morning, nursing pretty violent hangovers, we looked at our bank account and groaned and managed to laugh at ourselves for having spent quite a lot of money on a children’s creation. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love it, but let’s face it, sober and sensible, we probably wouldn’t have spent so much.
Our school has a Facebook group which is used to share information about events, ideas, and general discussion about what is happening in the school. On Sunday morning, another parent had posted about what a great and successful evening it had been; and a thank you to those involved in organising. After “liking” the post, I made a light-hearted and obviously joking comment that I was suffering buyer’s remorse and drinker’s remorse (i.e. I drank too much and spent too much money).
I expected to get some commiserations from others with pounding heads and shrunken budgets but instead, almost immediately, the teacher whose class had made the artwork that we purchased jumped down my throat about not being appreciative enough of the effort the children had put in the work, and said that “if you don’t want it, there are plenty of other people that would”.
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I understand that things get taken the wrong way on social media, but I in no way denigrated the children’s work. I mean, it’s not like I said, “Woke up with a pounding head and vomited when I saw the trash I wasted my money on”. I would have thought that paying the equivalent to five years’ worth of voluntary contribution fees would make my appreciation for the work pretty clear, but apparently not.
I’m devastated that now when I look at this artwork on my wall, instead of seeing it for what it is I’ll just remember feeling hot and sick and upset over the vicious criticism I received instead. In fact, I’ve all but decided I won’t even be picking it up due to the angst it has caused. In future I won’t be attending any of these events, let alone buying anything. Hell, I won’t even be buying a sausage on election days.
It has been pointed out to me that I could write the most glowing review of this school and still be mercilessly trolled by other parents in this group who manage to twist every word into a personal insult, and so I am out.
“Are you sure you want to leave this group?” Hell. Yes.
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