What do we want for Christmas? Time.
We have officially entered the Christmas season countdown and for many of us this means madly establishing just how as parents we are going to physically attend the huge number of concerts, fairs, meetings, parent interviews and various other end of year school-related events.
What do kids want for Christmas? Watch Jimmy Kimmel have some fun below (post continues after video).
The conversations at our house go a bit like this: “Ok, you miss that meeting and go to the school parent Christmas breakfast thing” and “I will finish work early, grab the baby and then if I run with the pram I think I can make it to the school concert on time.”
Or sometimes, “No I am not doing the volunteering at the fair as well, you have to do that,” and “do you think she will notice if we don’t make it to the choir? Maybe if I just arrive at the beginning and she sights me in the crowd I can shirk it to the back and get back to work?”
Then on top of all the events you need to provide a “physical presence” for, there is the extra amount of “remembering” required at this time of year.
“Remembering” special outfit days, christmas costumes, significant schedule changes for rehearsals, money for a gazillion different themed events, gifts to donate for the raffles, money for teacher presents, money for the parent volunteer presents …
You need to have a memory like a CEO to manage it all… and a bank balance like one to pay for it.
Then on top of the events is all the “volunteering” pressure. And yes it is pressure – exerted at times quite heavily.
This is not good pressure. This is a sense of pressure equally enjoyable to that felt when being 10cm dilated during labour.
It comes in the form of school newsletters, emails, WhatsApp group reminders and reams of paper worth of notes sent home – all with a strong undercurrent in the message … “you need to do more to help.”
Please don’t get me wrong, I understand it is important to create a supportive school community and to be involved in my children’s schooling. Yes I am being a little dramatic, however I do believe the expectations on parents now are simply too much. Actually mostly it is just the expectations on female parents.
When our kids are only going to school for a fleeting few hours through the middle of the day it is too much to then be constantly asking and expecting parents to leave work to be at school.
There is an unfaltering assumption across the entire modern day school system that one parent is at home and available full-time.
In fact the entire system is built on it. It is based on a falsehood that no longer exists.
Back when the school system was designed in its current non-work friendly form, it was true there was a full time stay at home parent in the vast majority of families.