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19th September 2016

Where’s My Mummy?

little girl blurred background. she's facing away
My social media feeds have been flooded the past week or two with gorgeous pictures of bright eyed and bushy tailed children eager and ready to go back to school. The uniforms are neat and tidy, the shoes are gleaming and unscuffed and for now the smiles are firmly plastered on faces. I’ve heard complaint from some about feeds being clogged with them, but if you don’t like then don’t look… just keep on scrolling! I personally enjoy seeing the children of friends, family, fellow bloggers heading off for another year of school and growing older so bloody quickly. Now, being a ex-teacher I also know the other side of the coin and whilst we are always sad to see the end of our summer holidays and the beginning of mountains of planning and marking, I was always eager to get a new batch of hopefuls and see what I could do with them. However, a teacher friend of mine message me the other night, already upset and aggravated by a confrontation with a parent already…

pack of crayons in the front a child colouring and blurred in the back

 

When I was teaching in Italy, it was a lot different. I was in a private school and parents could quite easily walk up to or into my classroom to say hi – most of the time this was okay, but you dread moments where they are seeking you out because of a problem with their precious child! I have no doubt I will be the same as a parent and will want to rectify any wrong doings done towards my child but I think I will definitely be more mindful having been a teacher and been on the receiving end of some rather passionate cases laid out before me – careful for gesturing Italians!

teacher at a blackboard

Now as I said, a fellow teacher friend and I were chatting the other night because only three weeks into term and she has already had to deal with a parent… but not because they are defending their child but because they are defending themselves.  The reason I am writing about it, is because it really got to me and for obvious reasons my teacher friend has to remain anonymous. Here’s the situation and tell me what you think…

“Yesterday I was confronted by a parent when leaving school. I had dared to telephone to ask where she was when she was half an hour late. She has been late every Friday the last 3 weeks… Week 1: one hour Week 2: 15 mins Week 3: 1/2 an hour. Yet she didn’t see a problem. I kept my cool…( just!!!!) and repeated that pick up time was 2.45 – but it was really awful. I also asked her to stop at one point and told her I found her behavior aggressive. You know the type – professional mum used to minions doing what she says. Obviously no respect for teachers. Just awful. But she just kept going on – how dare I call her! My parting shot was, this is not about me or you this is about your daughter…who by the way is still waiting for you”

office-woman-with-glasses

Firstly, I am so glad my friend kept her cool because otherwise she could have gotten into a lot of trouble – it does often come across where “the customer is always right” and in this case the customer is obviously the parents because the “service” being provided is the education of their child. However, that is not the real focus here and not what has gotten my back up. Yes, I think the way that the mother treated my friend was not particularly nice, but she is a tough cookie and will survive (and deserves a large glass of vino at the weekend too!!) No, what bothers me is the “Professional Mum’s” daughter… is it only me that has a problem with that mum turning up AN HOUR late the first week of a new school year to collect her child?! My own mum used to be frantic if she was even five minutes late for collecting me.  It’s not like everything carries on around our children at school until they are picked up – the bell rings and everyone goes home, the teachers, tidy and pack away things they have used in the day and get ready for the next… would you like your child to be the last one there? Wondering where on earth their mummy or daddy is and why they haven’t come to collect them like the other mummys and daddys? I know I would never want Alyssa to feel that way.

I totally get that things happen and things come up which are unavoidable like traffic, or in the case of “Professional Mum” a  business meeting over-running. However, tclock on a brick wallhe fact that it happens every Friday and only then makes me suspect she has something that regularly happens on a Friday which will always make her late and she is using my friend and the school as an unpaid babysitting service. That is still not the point though… I still can’t help going back to this little girl and imagining her upset or worried that her mummy has forgotten her?! I am sure she was fine once her mum had arrived and she had gotten home, but even the short fifteen minutes in week two would seem like a lifetime to a young primary child surely?!

What amazes me further, is that rather than being apologetic upon arrival, “Professional Mum” chose to make my friend , the teacher educating her child and then providing comfort and free babysitting until she, said mum, had arrived, the villain. I’m sorry, but in her position I’d have been on that phone too, finding out where on earth she was and why she hadn’t come to collect her child. I’m also not sure that a parent, confronting and belittling a teacher in front of their child who is the teacher’s pupil is sending the right message either – it is challenging an authority that the teacher needs to maintain with her students. There are so many things wrong with this situation and as you can tell from my somewhat ranty typing, it has really got to me.

 

girl facing towards sunset with trees and fence in front of her

Benefit of the doubt can be given in certain circumstances and perhaps my friend, obviously judging purely on appearance and demeanor from this short interaction, could be wrong and in fact she is not “Professional Mum” with minions to command and do her bidding. Perhaps she is “I’m Just Holding This Shit Together Mum” who is trying her best and every Friday her best just isn’t good enough. If this is the case, then rather than getting antagonistic and angry, she needs to ask for help. What are your thoughts on this? How do you think the little girl feels? What is the solution?

 

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51 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Some people immediately go on the defensive. I would have been really upset as a kid, and I know my mum would have been as well. So rude to take it out on the teacher though!!!

  2. Emma T says:

    I think it’s disgusting behaviour. Our school does have after school clubs running, so the child would have had to have gone to homework club on a Friday, but there is a charge. Maybe schools need to charge after 2 warnings…let’s face it, nurseries charge for late pick ups and they’re in the business of providing childcare, schools aren’t.

    If the mum can’t get there, she needs to get someone else to pick up, arrange for the child to be dropped off somewhere, or at least phone and apologise to the school for being late the first time – I’ know I’d have been panicking. An hour late is an issue, 15 mins is an accident but not great if it’s a second occasion, three times is lack of organisation. She needs to rearrange her Friday diary or working hours if she can’t get someone else to pick her up. But she definitely should be apologising to the teacher/school. It’s not their fault, there are rules and a child involved, she needs to do her side of the bargain.

    I’m already panicking about tomorrow afternoon when I’m in Cambridge for the day. My meeting is due to finish at 2.30, 2.30-3 hours to get back (including dropping colleagues in town), should get me back to pick up N. But I’m already worrying about getting a back up in place – thankfully after school club would likely be able to drop him at the farm if I’m late, but it’s still a worry (OH will be out late TB testing at another farm so I can’t rely on him tomorrow).

  3. Emma says:

    As an ex-teacher I understand your friend’s feelings on the matter. I wonder if the mum was embarrassed so that explains the way she reacted. Although, that is still not on. I used to work full-time and it was a constant juggling act getting the children ready for childminders, dashing to school, teaching all day, preparing for next and then after-school meetings. There were a few occassions when I was very nearly late but I always made sure I was there on time. If I suspected that it was going to be a long meeting that might over run then I would arrange someone else to help out and I would explain to my oldest before I left for work. It can be difficult but really the mum needs to sort alternative arrangements as it’s not fair on her child #bigpinklink

  4. I worked at a summer camp and always felt bad for the kids whose parents were perpetually late – they always looked so sad when all the other kids left and they were still waiting. Obviously that meant I had to stay late too, but that wasn’t the point. I didn’t know their circumstances – maybe they were juggling crazy work schedules with pick-up duties – but the kids didn’t understand that. #bigpinklink

  5. It is so hard to know a person’s inner world. Some people jump to aggression to deal with their own feelings of failure. It was not easy for your friend but sounds like she dealt with it really well. It is hard to get over those times when we know we have been unfairly blamed. #bigpinklink

  6. Davina says:

    I can’t imagine leaving O at school like that and not even calling the school to say I’d gotten stuck in traffic or whatever. I mean, maybe she is barely-holding-it-together-mum, but then she obviously manages just fine the other four days out of the week and therefore is holding it together well enough for that, so I’m sure she could cope with putting a contingency care plan in place on a Friday. I don’t know. Five/ten minutes is one thing. It’s not great, but it happens. But leaving your kid to wait for you at school for an hour after everyone else has gone home? NOPE.

  7. I can understand why this got to you. Not only is it disrespectful to your friend but it is disrespectful to her daughter. I would be mortified if I was a couple of minutes late to pick up my daughters. If I am not already stood at the gates when they leave school then I will be late in my mind. I know I would have been so upset if my mum was late to get me and I wasn’t expecting it. This woman obviously has a prior engagement on a Friday. If it can’t be changed she is probably better off getting a childminder to she doesn’t have to rush around the place and get herself overly agitated. In the interest of balance, as I like to try and see two sides to every story, this woman may have already been wracked with guilt before your friend mentioned anything. Of course this doesn’t excuse her aggressive reaction…. So maybe there is no balance needed this time.
    #BigPinkLink

  8. Awful behaviour from the Mum – not really much that can excuse her here. I do find it hard when some parents clearly don’t respect teachers. Good to draw attention to this. x

  9. Claire says:

    It is awfully suspicious that it only happens on a friday, every friday. I’d feel so bad for that poor girl. Maybe the mum, whatever her reasons for lateness and reacting the way she did, will find this confrontation embarrassing enough to sort it out. #bloggerclubuk

  10. Oooo I want more details. What happened once the Mum did arrive after the telephone conversation? And how was she on Monday during drop off?

    Imagine your teacher friend turning up an hour or two late in the morning? Sorry kids, I had stuff to do the morning.

    I keep imagining that poor little girl being left too. Makes you think how the Mum coped during the holidays. Where else has she been left? I just hope it all works itself out and professional Mum becomes ‘chilled Mum at the School Gates” on time x

  11. Rach says:

    This is really bad. I feel sorry for your friend but most of all I feel sorry for the little girl. I hate lateness, I find it rude and in most part, unnecessary. Especially, when it comes to collecting your children, they are the priority and everything else can wait. Your friends parting shot was classy and pertinent. Nothing more needed to be said. I hope this doesn’t happen in the future and the mother has learnt a lesson from this, but I won’t hold my breath. #bloggerclubuk

  12. Lucy At Home says:

    My daughter makes a point of saying if I’m not ready and waiting at the door to her classroom as soon as the teacher opens the door! Haha. I would feel awful if I was that late to school even once! If I was unavoidably detained, I’d be ringing the school to explain that I was on my way and I’d be there ASAP or to send my daughter home with one of her school friends. I like to think that your friend has given this lady the chance to see the error of her ways and reevaluate, and she will now be on time every day (fingers crossed) #BloggerClubUK

  13. Claire says:

    This is terrible, the poor little girl. I’d feel terrible being late! Hopefully she’ll learn her lesson! #familyfun

  14. I’d feel awful if I was late to pick up my daughters, but I think my daughters would feel even worse. If I’m ever running late or know I’ll be late I will always arrange for someone else to collect them- and I let both the nursery and my girls know. By the sounds of it your friend approached the subject with this Mum in a highly professional manner and was concerned as it seemed to be becoming a regular occurrence. I wonder if the Mother reacted the way she did (wrongly in my opinion) as she felt guilty and didn’t know how to react to being put on the spot. I do hope its resolved soon. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

  15. teacuptoria says:

    Crikey that is really bad form. I think she should think about after school care if she can’t manage to make it on time, this will be far less stressful for everyone, especially the little girl. I would be mortified at being late once, never mind three times. I think she’s showing a complete disregard for her daughter’s feelings and disrespect for the teacher. I think your friend did really well to stay cool. Interesting post! Tor xx #bestnworst

  16. helen gandy says:

    Wow……I’m amazed your friend stayed so calm, I perhaps wouldn’t have. Really interesting post, thanks so much for linking up #bestandworst

  17. That is such awful behaviour. I can understand that delays happen. It could even be that’s she’s having a bad few weeks or train issues etc. But parents should just communicate. Also, in a society where everyone has a mobile glued to their hand, it would be really easy to ring the school. She’s basically forcing your friend into a corner because she has no option but to stay with your child as the person responsible for her care at that moment in time. I feel so bad for the little girl too. I feel bad picking my toddler up from nursery 10 mins late when she doesn’t know the time, the nursery is still open for ages and all her friends are still there!!! Sometimes ignoring Mum Guilt can go too far… #FamilyFun

  18. Tammymum says:

    Oooh interesting one! Well for what my two pence is worth I would suggest said teacher was. Well within her rights to make the phone call. It slightly ashtobishes me that people seem to think pick up time is elective. I totally appreciate we will all be late one in a while but an hour, 39 mins on there regular seems a bit much, to me anyway. I do hope your friend is ok and I am sure she knows that she did the right thing, it’s just a sham the mum, the most important, doesn’t see that! Xx thanks for sharing at #familyfun x

  19. I’d be heart broken to think about my little one being left to wait for me. At any age. I used to run a brownie pack and I had to ring parents at 7 oclock at night to say are you coming back to pick your kid up. They are so so apolgetic when they arrive. If there is a legitamate reason for being late then that is fair enough but it doesn’t seem this way on this occasaion. I’d be a little annoyed too. Thanks for linking up to #familyfun you’ll be more than welcome again next week!

  20. I was heavily pregnant with my second child and my first had just started school full time. I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up just as school was finishing. I ran (yes ran) all the way to the school and arrived 10 minutes late. The look on my sons face was so sad until he saw me. His whole face lit up. I apologised to the teacher, she was lovely and hugged my son. Never again was I late.

  21. The thought of my Daughter waiting on me for an hour makes my heart sad. I coud.’t do that to her! Your friend was very professional managing to keep her cool- I’m not sure I could have done the same. #ablogginggoodtime

  22. The important person in this whole situation is the child. I’m shocked that there were no feelings of remorse from the parent to keeping her child waiting at school. I think the natural response from everyone is to be defensive but it is a truly wonderful characteristic when someone is wholly apologetic and accepts total responsibility for their error – they are my favourite kind of people #ablogginggoodtime

  23. I don’t know how teachers cope with some parents.But I don’t know how a parent could leave a child waiting, without it being a dire emergency. To keep doing it is ridiculous.

    #blogginggoodtime

  24. Emma says:

    Just popping back again. This is another reminder of why I am glad that I no longer in teaching! #ABloggingGoodTIme

  25. Wow – poor child! Once or twice in a genuine unavoidable situation is understandable but if it’s happening regularly then she clearly knows what she’s doing and is just ignorant! If you can’t be there do what every other parent has to do and arrange alternative childcare. #ablogginggoodtime

  26. Ellen says:

    Oh I feel really sorry for the child. We don’t know what’s going on with her mother but even if the reasons are acceptable it’s never ok to take it out on a teacher. And horrible for the kid, I would have been distraught if that was me. Also surely you can contact the school if it’s an actual emergency or arrange alternative childcare. One of my friends is a teacher and the disrespect she’s been shown at times by parents is genuinely appalling. #ablogginggoodtime

  27. Harriet says:

    I’m fortunate that my work knows my situation, hence I leave every day at 5pm, sharp. Even if I was in a meeting I’d up and leave. I’d never do what this Mum did and I’d never be so rude to the person that was ultimately looking after my child’s welfare and best interests. #ablogginggoodtime

  28. Baby Anon says:

    This is awful. that poor child, what message does it send to her? This would kill me, being late to pick up my girl. I work but my attitude is that I need a life/work balance – work flexes around life which is my baby. I would do anything to avoid picking her up from nursery late – no meeting is ever more important than her. Your friend did brilliantly well to keep her cool. One day that woman will reflect and think ‘what was I thinking?’ Let’s hope so anyway x #ablogginggoodtime

  29. If I am ever late to pick up LP I panic – I hate to think he doesn’t know where I am. And if I am running late I ALWAYS call the school. I understand that working mums have a more difficult time sometimes with school pick ups and such but doing that every week surely indicates a problem that should be rectified. Great post hun.
    #ablogginggoodtime

  30. I make it a point to never be late for anything if I can help it and if I think there might be a chance at being late I wanr my kids so they do not become anxious. It is probably the only things in regards to parenting that I am doing well at.

    #ablogginggoodtime

  31. It used to be really upsetting as a Head when there was always one child who was left behind. The parents didn’t seem to be aware how upsetting it was for their child, and when we said that they would have to pay for the after school club they thought we were being unreasonable. It baffles me as I panic if I am more than 1 minute late for school pick up – I would hate my children to think that they weren’t important enough for me to be there! #ablogginggoodtime

  32. I used to have dreams as a child that everyone would be picked up from school and I’d be the last one left, not knowing if my parents were coming for me. It was like a nightmare really, because it was something i was really worried about happening.

    An hour late really isn’t good enough. At least call the school to say you’re going to be late!

    #ablogginggoodtime

  33. Rhian Harris says:

    What an embarrassment to her child and herself! #ablogginggoodtime

  34. Twin Pickle says:

    My daughter always tells me off for being on time because she hasn’t had time to fill her bag and tie her shoe laces (they have separate shoes for indoors)! But on a serious note, when I was a working Mum with a busy schedule it was incredibly difficult and stressful to always be on time. Irrelevant of what the teacher and any of us think, I hope the little girl can understand as best she can. I’m sure mummy makes up for it where she can. #ablogginggoodtime

  35. As you say, if it was the first or even second time and just a few minutes, you could put it down to her just struggling to get there. But multiple times and an HOUR late is really disgusting and to not be in anyway apologetic is setting such a bad example for her daughter. We lived very near my school so mum was never late, but I imagine as a little person it’s soul-destroying to be the last one again. Please tell us what happens this Friday! #ablogginggoodtime

  36. As a Taekwon-do teacher in a pretty affluent area, we come across this ‘type’ a lot. They treat the teacher as if they are their slave at their beck and call. They are in their own bubble and stuck up their own arse. It cannot be allowed to continue though. It may be that your friend needs to pass the buck to the Head (if your friend isn’t the Head). She isn’t a babysitter or the nanny and that mother’s bubble needs to be burst, for the child’s sake as well as your friend’s. Alison x #ablogginggoodtime

  37. Fridgesays says:

    #ablogginggoodtime
    I’m a teacher. Ironically I don’t care about the teacher (we get worse most days) but I agree that poor little poppet always waiting while everyone goes home 🙁 although it probably has been like that always and so she’s not upset and knows no differently – it doesn’t make it right. Perhaps in the Christmas pass the parcel the girl could win a watch for her mum 😉

  38. I think that’s terrible, the poor little girl, 15 mins is bad enough, but an hour! is ridiculous. Your friend did well to keep her cool, I’d of been fuming. Some people just have no respect for others. I think that what that does to a child week on week could make them feel like they weren’t worth making the effort for. I really hope that this Mum goes away and thinks about what she is doing. Good for your friend for saying what’s what. #ablogginggoodtime

  39. As a working mum with a 50 minute commute to the school my kids attended, I was often (once a fortnight) late due to circumstances beyond my control (traffic/accidents/road works). If I thought I could get there only a little bit late.. I’d arrive and apologise to the staff amd my kids. If I realised I was going to be more than 10 minutes late I’d pull over and call a friend, who was collecting their own kids, to collect mine too. My kids knew I would be on time if I could – they did understand. I found doing this for years really stressful and to be honest now that they’ve all gone to high school I’m really enjoying being free from this time pressure. #ablogginggoodtime

  40. ohmummymia says:

    It’s so sad:( I dont want to know what that kids need to feel
    #ablogginggoodtime

  41. Ooohhhh, I am not sure about this one. I have a bit of a thing about getting to pick ups early or at the very least on time. It fills me with dread to think of Little Button watching her friends leave with their parents, and not to see me there ready to pick her up. She’s not at school yet, but I can’t imagine being any different when the time comes.

    But on the other hand, perhaps this mum has to battle to get back for pick ups on a certain day. I do you see. I race out the door and run *yes run, across the stations to get to pick ups early/on time on particular days. It’s never a pretty sight 🙂 red faced, messy, but there… because I couldn’t ever be late.Thank you for hosting #ablogginggoodtime x

  42. I don’t have any experience of the school run yet, but I do a nursery run and I’m obsessive about that – even though I pick up in the middle of the day and everything is carrying on as usual for the afternoon if I was ever late. I can’t imagine not breaking my neck to get there on time, our of courtesy for the school staff and for my child. If I thought I was going to be remotely late I would be straight on the phone and apologising profusely. If for no other reason than to reassure myself that my little one is safe and being cared for in the meantime. In my opinion it’s very rude and somewhat neglectful to just assume that someone will continue to stay and care for her. An hour is a really long time! I can totally relate to your rant. Very well said. Dawn x #ablogginggoodtime

  43. Alice Soule says:

    How flippin rude!! Having worked as a teacher in the past, I know how varied parents can be in terms of their attitude. Of course the vast majority are absolutely wonderful, caring and totally thoughtful towards your position and time but you do get the odd one. I don’t blame you for your rant, I would have been livid as well. A xx #ablogginggoodtime

  44. Can’t the school impose some kind of sanctions on the mum for a) being repeatedly late and b) being rude and aggressive to a member of staff? They really should! Totally unacceptable behaviour. #BloggerClubUK

  45. Tough one indeed. I always try to start with empathy. What is going on in the household. Why is the mom so late. Benefit of the doubt. But I also would have such sympathy fo rthe child left behind and feeling bad (probably) about it — maybe even embarrassed. I would try to talk face to face in a safe way to the parent, while the child is busy and happy in another way. Tough scenario all around. And so it is for teachers. What would we do without them! #ablogginggoodtime

  46. From an ex teacher’s perspective I completely understand your friend and would probably have had the same kind of encounter. However, being it work or life of just really needing some help it really isn’t fair on the child to be left behind every Friday while her friends get picked up on time. Its a really difficult situation but I think that the child should always be number one and somehow, even if we have to run around like headless chickens, her needs really need to be met. In this case be picked up on time #ablogginggoodtime

  47. Once, yes an honest mistake, twice, three times etc… Shameful That poor little kid. Good on your teacher friend. I don’t think I would of been as kind. #ablogginggoodtime

  48. Kat says:

    I can imagine 15 minutes might happen due to traffic or running late but if that was me I would be on the phone to the school the moment I knew I was going to be late so at least my child would know I hadn’t forgotten her and that I was coming. And as soon as I got there I would be apologising to my child and to the teacher. The behaviour this mother has shown is inexcusable. I’m glad your friend kept their cool, I don’t think I would have done! #ablogginggoodtime

  49. Tammymum says:

    Just popping back from #ablogginggoodtime to show some love xx

  50. Crummy Mummy says:

    That is inexcusably late – I hate lateness of any kind because it implies the other person’s time is more important than your own. Urghh! #ablogginggoodtime

  51. Curious as to the child’s age, only because it may make a difference to her level of distress. But either way, the mother is obviously totally in the wrong. She may have stuff going on (don’t we all?!) – but our children should ALWAYS remain our priority. And I absolutely make you right – a terrible example to be setting her daughter in many respects.

    Well done for writing about this!

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