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I don't want to do another mum's school run

(33 Posts)
Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 13:48:33

My son's mum, let's call her Dawn, has two children, one of 8 and one of 5. My son is 8 and so is his best friend. I like the kids a lot. Dawn is a very, very, very protective mum. She has never let either of her sons play at anyone else's house unless she has been present, and only once did she permit her 8 year old, let's call him Joshua, play here, he had a nice time from what I can tell. I think that with younger children this is OK and understandable. Although she did insist on doing a health and safety check of my home, including my bedroom, the first time they came 'round.

With regards to her younger child, let's call him Nathan, he suffers from asthma. He only started school for the first time this year (she had not wanted him to go to nursery or any playgroups). Nathan has attended school for about 50 per cent of the days/sessions. This is because Dawn keeps him off school every time he has a sniffle or is a bit wheezy.

When it is cold weather she asks me to collect Joshua from school and bring him to his home. On these occasions which is fifty percent of school days, which have been many, she rarely invites my son in to play or me in to have a cup of tea. We are expected to take Joshua home, than it's thanks and goodbye. My son is always very disappointed and it makes my heart ache, he really loves Joshua. Sometimes Dawn will phone every day of a week and ask me to do this so that she doesn't have to take Nathan out in the cold "because of his chest". Nathan is also denied any dairy produce in his diet. He is very small for his age, and she has told me that he is underweight for his age. He has had no medical tests at all, ever, to find out if he is allergic to, intolerant of, or sensitive to dairy produce.

I have no doubt that Nathan will slip behind his peers educationally if he spend half of the school year at home with his mum.

I have increasingly found the task of collecting and dropping Joshua off at him home heavy and difficult to do, and stressful. I feel as though I am complicit in Nathan's neglect. I have gently suggested that Dawn get Nathan tested for allergies, but it was received in a prickly way.

My own son also has very bad asthma (and severe eczema), and is on a much heavier and more intensive treatment regime than Nathan. He has been tested in the hospital for various common asthma allergens, this was part of his initial diagnosis when he was three. I do send him to school if he has sniffles, never with a fever or heavy sneezing or coughing though. He probably missed two days last year through illness.

As for myself I am severely and chronically ill and frequently suffer from fevers and extreme tiredness. My immune system is not up to much because of the medication I have to take. It is tough going out in the cold for me, but I love doing the school run, and I would crawl there if I had to.

I just couldn't find the courage to tell Dawn on the phone or in person that I think she is neglecting her younger child and it is selfish and wrong for her to expect and very sick woman to collect her other child and bring him home without even inviting us in, just because she doesn't want to take Nathan out in the cold for 10 minutes. I have never heard him wheezing or showing any asthmatic symptoms either, he is very small but otherwise is always full of beans and very active.

So I wrote her and email and said that I would no longer be available for collecting Joshua, but that once a week I would be glad to bring him to my home to play and have his tea.

I am in turmoil about all this because it is very important to me to be truthful, frank and honest with people, this is fundamental to my sense of self and purpose in life. She may well ask me why I have withdrawn from wanting to walk Joshua home, and I do not want to lie.

Sorry about the long posting, please share thoughts.

Ketrick

Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 13:49:11

I mean my son's best friend's mum!!

Doigthebountyeater Fri 26-Nov-10 13:52:21

Think you did the right thing. It was bugging you so you put a stop to it. Well done for being assertive.

LadyOfTheFlowers Fri 26-Nov-10 13:53:48

I think you did the right thing as it seems to me she is taking the piss a bit.

BranchingOut Fri 26-Nov-10 13:54:11

I think that what you have done sounds reasonable and you don't have to justify it.

If she does press you for an answer maybe use your own health as a reason.

I suspect that the school and Education Welfare Officer are soon going to be on her case about her younger son's attendance, so I think that you should steer clear of talking about his health or other issues.

arfasleep Fri 26-Nov-10 13:58:10

Think you've done the right thing too, don't think you should be obliged to collect her DS from school nearly all the time. I regularly collect my DS's friends from school but they come to play and so are company for each other after school.

I would try and avoid commenting on her care of younger child though, if she does come back to you with questions, sure school will be in touch if they feel there are no good reasons for his increased absence.

AgentZigzag Fri 26-Nov-10 13:58:31

My DD1 has asthma, and I'm like you and perhaps make the extra effort so she doesn't miss out because of it, I'll be blowed if it'll stop her doing stuff she wants to.

With your DSs friends mum, it sounds like it's more than just the asthma that's stopping her from letting her youngest go to school. I'm no expert, but could she have agraphobia, or overwhelming thoughts about something happening to her DC?

I can totally see why you feel complicit when she's coercing you to 'help' her, but if it's making you feel uncomfortable going on as you are, then it's of course your right to have some control over changing things.

If you're not too bothered about her as a friend, perhaps it might be OK to tell her exactly how you see her situation? She sounds like she's going to go off on one, but perhaps something you say to her will sink in.

What happened about the email you sent her? Did you send it? Has she replied?

cat64 Fri 26-Nov-10 13:59:23

Message withdrawn

Wottknottandmincepies Fri 26-Nov-10 13:59:41

Agree with the other, also the school will be in touch with her soon.

School run help is great for many reasons, but should not be expected or taken for granted. You did the right thing. If she doesn't react well, just don't feel bad about it, say her boys are welcome to come round any time, so is she. Do invite your sons best friend to his birthday parties ect in the future. Also widen your sons circle of friends too.

Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 13:59:47

Thank you all for your supportive messages, I REALLY appreciate it. I am very surprised that the EWO hasn't been called in yet. I still feel that using my ill-health as an excuse is dishonest, and if Joshua wasn't my son's best friend I think I would have to tell her what I really think!

pozzled Fri 26-Nov-10 14:00:05

There are two separate issues here. The first is the way she treats her two sons, and allows Nathan to take time off school. Unless you suspect actual abuse or neglect- and nothing you have said sounds like that to me- then I'm afraid that is not your business. She has the right to make her own parenting decisions, which not everyone will agree with, but it's her choice. WRT the frequent absences, the school will deal with this as they see fit.

The second issue is relying on you so heavily, and that is different- you have the right to say no, and you don't have to give any reason at all. If you don't feel able to do it anymore, just say so. It sounds like your email went straight to the point. I doubt she will want Joshua going to your house from what you have said, but you have offered as much support as you are happy with.

Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 14:10:55

No, I haven't received a reply to my email! I agree with you, pozzled, there is no need for concern regarding any sort of abuse, the boys are shiny and happy and are clearly and obviously very much loved. But I still would feel a participant in a weird set-up by collecting Joshua every other day this winter. Their home is near, but in the opposite direction to my own. AgentZigzag, I do think Dawn could benefit greatly from long-term psychotherapy, she appears to be a complex woman! But I would never suggest such a thing!

AgentZigzag Fri 26-Nov-10 14:13:33

If you've noticed she's a 'complex' woman ketrick, then perhaps other people in her family must have noticed and have said similar to her.

begonyabampot Fri 26-Nov-10 14:22:10

i can see your point and also even if she lives nearby it can be a pain having that kind of commitment expected - what if you want to go somewhere different after school etc. Maybe it's time to start asking some other boys home for your son to play with or have him go on playdates and widen the horizons a little - she sounds like she would be a bit of a pain and a little precious which could be a pain as they boys are getting older and looking for a little more freedom.

DooinMeCleanin Fri 26-Nov-10 14:29:59

TBH I think I'd have a word with the school about her eldest son. It is not fair to treat him the way she is.

Asthma can be scary, particularly if as a mum, you have very little/no experience of it and then ayour child is diagnosed. Your expected to send them out into the big world, when they are just tiny and have a disease that could possibly kill them, having to trust that they know how to use their inhalers and will ask for them when they need them, having to trust the school not to lose the inhalers and to make sure he gets it when he needs it. Having to trust your child to stay away from anything that could trigger an attack etc.

But asthma should (in 99% of cases) be controlled so that it is does not effect your day to day life.

IWouldNotCouldNotWithAGoat Fri 26-Nov-10 14:36:39

You are perfectly justified. TBH, even without your health problems you do not have to do her school run for her. If you don't want to, that is reason enough.

Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 14:43:34

I would love to ask other boys to come and play, and we have a neighbour who has two beautiful boys who my son enjoys playing with who visit fairly frequently, but my son is very focussed on Joshua and absolutely adores him. Which is understandable because he is a nice boy. Dawn and her husband moved to this area because the school wanted Joshua assessed because of behavioural problems at school. My son has also told me that Josh is constantly told off in class for not concentrating. I have not noticed anything unusual about Joshua though, he is a nice, gentle and funny little chap.

I think Dawn's husband must have noticed that Dawn is a bit odd, but they seem very much in love and she wears the trousers, so I don't think he wants to rock the boat, if you'll excuse the mixed metaphors!

MumNWLondon Fri 26-Nov-10 14:49:30

Aside from the illness points totally rude to ask you to bring child home if she never reciprocates.

I think you'd be jusified in raising your concerns with the school - they might be able to deal with it.

gramercy Fri 26-Nov-10 14:53:46

She does sound a bit of a loon: I'd be mighty surprised if a mother conducted a health & safety assessment of my bedroom!

I think you've dealt with the situation yourself - you said No, but offered a sop in that you'd have the son to tea once a week, which is a more than generous offer. If this woman gets in a strop, then you know that she is a person whom you are right to distance yourself from.

Wottknottandmincepies Fri 26-Nov-10 14:54:56

Ketrick, Dawn, whatever sounds complicated. Play nicely.

hmm

goldenticket Fri 26-Nov-10 15:05:12

I would definitely get your son to spread his wings a bit - having all his eggs in Joshua's basket isn't a great idea anyway, without all these added complications.

Also, I would be tempted to have a quiet word with school - you are concerned for Nathan's wellbeing and if he's not being treated/assessed properly then that is cause for concern.

Think you've dealt with the drop off situation really well btw.

Bloodymary Fri 26-Nov-10 15:06:05

I echo gramercy, the woman sounds totally over the top.
I certainly would not have another Mother checking my bedroom because its untidy private.

Wottknottandmincepies Fri 26-Nov-10 15:16:17

I think Ketrick is Dawn. Sorry Ketrick, if I have made the wrong assumption.

Dawn sounds like she needs some help. confused

Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 15:19:06

Hi Bloodymary, regarding the bedroom, I had no idea she had been in there until she came downstairs and told me to go upstairs and put away the Gaviscon and paracetamol tablets that were (quite naturally) next to the bed!! You've gotta laugh though! She also refused to come to the park with us "in case the boys fall into the lake"!

Ketrick Fri 26-Nov-10 15:21:51

Also, one time when I collected Joshua (when it was cold and raining) and we arrived at his house, she made me go back to the school because HE had forgotten to bring home his book bag! It was at that point I should have said "NO!". But we live and learn (to assert ourselves. I had to get the caretaker to unlock the bloody school gate and let me back in!

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