Should I feel guilty about not doing school runs?(21 Posts)
My son will start school this September.
I have been a working Mom since he was 1 year old, so we are used to it.
I started at 25 hours and week, then 30 hours, and now 35 hours a week. He has been in pre school since Septemeber but due to his hours I can only do the school pick up. I made peace with this quite fast as we didn't really have any choice, but I always thought the school run would be really important for me as a parent. And it is, as much as I hate it, it's part of being a parent isn't it? And I know this doesn’t really make sense, as much as I hate it, the odd days I do get to do the school drop off and pick up, I do enjoy, but maybe this is because I don’t have 5 minutes to rush from work and end up being late fighting for a space to leave the car etc.
Anyway, I am starting to feel guilty that I may need to increase my hours again to 40 hours a week, which will mean that both the drop off and pick up are out for me. As a single parent I cant help but feel guilty that I am having to rely of other sources to look after my son because I cant. I was hoping after the ‘baby/toddler years’ it would all be dealt with through me to save money on childcare.
Of course I need to be realistic. Working more just puts us in a better financial position, it will make things easier for us, but I do worry that my son will feel different because other moms and dads are there waiting for them after school and I am not.
I guess I am just hoping that there are people who like me wont be able to be there for school drop off/pick ups and it actually doesn’t make me a bad mom
As a parent there is always something to feel guilty about! I am fortunate enough to work part-time but it does mean we have less money than many of my sons' friends' families and I bet if you asked my boys they would prefer to go to Disneyland on holiday and be picked up a childminder!
I think there are two things it can impact on - your child's ability to go on and have play dates and your own chances to make some mum friends and have a bit of a support network but I suspect there are ways around both of those issues if you think creatively and you certainly won't be alone in this.
Dropping your child off at Breakfast Club (or childminder) and picking him up from After-School Club (or childminder) still counts as the school run
you won't be the only parent doing it - there are several in my DD's class that I've never seen the parents.
Now: as a FT working parent, my advice is try and do your 40 hours over 4.5 days so that you can make, say, the Friday pick up - can you do a couple of hours in the evening one day a week to cover this?
A lot of the FT mums i know have negotiated either every other friday off, or friday afternoon from home, or do all your hours in 4.5 days, friday afternoon off every week. Any prospect of negotiating that?
My DD loves her after school clubs now, and one of the mums tells me her DD is whining about not getting to go and do fun things. Another one moans that she's always picked up with her sibling, and she'd rather not have that! There is always something to feel bad about, but you shouldn't.
It definitely does not make you a bad mum.
Being a good mum is about being interested in his day and his friends. Not being physically present at 3:30.
the post about better holidays is spot on - i've talked to my DD when we've had bouts of 'i want you to pick me up everyday' about what that would mean in terms of cut backs - she'd rather go on a summer holiday, it turns out, and the nice thing about primary as opposed to toddler stages is you can explain things a bit and have a hope of them understanding.
Most working parents do play dates etc over half-terms (if term-time only), school holidays, weekends and Inset days.
Don't feel guilty. I avoided all nursery drop offs and pick ups as DH did them and the au pair did them at primary age.
I was lucky enough to be able to do drop off, as I worked on the same street as the school, but my son always went to a childminder/after school care.
There was the very odd time, that he would ask why I couldn’t pick him up instead, but then on the few occasions that I thought I’d “surprise” him and do pick up, he’d be annoyed because he wanted to go to AS care with friends
Anyway, bottom line is, don’t feel bad (easier said than done, I know). It really won’t do your son any harm. By the time mine was 7, I was instructed to leave him at the lollipop lady, no kiss for me, just a pat on the back from him, telling me he was “a man now”
Nooo. Pick up and drop offs are very boring. My nanny does both but I am back early by 4/4:30 from work and get much needed time with my sons. Both pick up and drop offs are chaotic and are not exactly bonding time. They come home, have a snack, get a start on HW and I am home. We finish HW, have dinner together, play for 40 mins before bedtime etc. And I am there for breakfast in the morning. I find it a much better use of my time.
Nothing to feel guilty about all. However for me personally as a lone parent the school run was invaluable, I only managed to to it twice a week but that allowed me to get to know other parents and over the years I built up am amazing support network where we help each other out in times of need. Even now my son is older, those parents helped me out big time over Christmas when I had flu, had him over for sleepovers, fed him etc. If not at all possible then I'd make a point of arranging plenty play dates with other kids and their parents, trips to the park etc. Back up is so important when you're doing it alone, I can't stress this enough.
i agree with nomore about the network - that's why I'd say try and squeeze in some flexible friday time - if you get into a playdate network, then the kids will play together whilst you catch up on chores, and when it's not your turn to host, you have a few hours off.
that said, i've found a few parents are happy to do weekend playdates too, especially as they get older.
Thank you for your replies, all very helpful and have made me realise how common it is, so feeling less guilty already!
I like the idea of leaving one or two days free to do the pick up, purely for the reason of back up. This has been said to me before. I’ve done the years up to now between childminder and my parents, and I dread to think how much it has cost me. Being on my own is particularly hard, especially when it comes to illness, my parents cant always help, the childminder takes holidays and I don’t have many holiday days to take a year either. I also want to show an interest in who my son is friends with.
Thank you for the advice x
Lots of parents don't do the school run. Don't sweat it. There's so much to feel guilty about as a parent. You need to let some stuff go.
Can you afford to be just slightly less than FT?
For me this was better as although it meant slightly less money around it did mean I could stop that afternoon off to be available for the schools events that seem to be oh so frequent- the drop in and read with your child/plays/cake sales etc
They were the bit where my DSs wanted to see my face in the crowd I genuinely don’t think pick up or drop was such a big issue.
But if I’d had to take annual leave every time we had a school event I’d never have seen them in the holidays.
That half day absolutely was worth every lost penny to me and the kids
I was commenting to my sister how many grand parents do the school run at my kids school! I wish I didn't have to do it! Lol so you definitely won't be the only one who doesn't do it, grandparents childminders ect.
At my children's school there are lots of different people doing pick up. Grandparents, child minders, nannies, older siblings. I know it seems like a big deal when they are little, but really it's only a big deal if you make it one.
Oh yeh there's a few secondary school girls that do the school run aswell at my children's school (so picking up their younger siblings) it's honestly no big deal.
Everyone is being so positive and helpful. Thank you.
I think alot of it comes down to me feeling like I've missed out on a lot to give him to opportunities I have. But at the same time we have an unbelievabley strong bond, we cherish our time together and I am in awe of the determined, confident little boy before me.
No one would work unless we had to. I would have loved to have been around more during his baby years but our situation couldn't allow it. And the boy he is growing into makes me so happy.
I really need to see that it is only an extra hour or so a day, and only 40 minutes from when he leaves to when I collect him so really not bad at all. Once im over it I may actually be quite happy about it lol I dont like the school run already too much. I get their late just to avoid the playground gossip! My son also wont know any different. I'm not doing it because I want to, but because I want to give us more of a life, and you're right. As a parent we have bigger worries than school runs
parenting is a whole life adventure and you've got good priorities, it's right to focus on enriching his life by being able to afford nice things and setting a good example, it'll reap benefits into the next generation too.
You can set good examples without affording nice things.
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