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AIBU to stop helping at school - Muggins alert

56 replies

MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 09:35

I am really upset this morning with myself because I am a mug.

We moved to a new town a few years ago which meant DC had to start a new school and make new friends. Since then, I have spent a lot of time helping out at the school e.g. reading with DC, going on trips, parking duty, helping out on social days and events. I think on average I spend about 4 hours a week helping out. A few weeks ago I was there for 8 hours in one day helping. The other parents just sat round enjoying the day and did nothing to help. I'd say there are 5 who help a lot out of the 450+ parents. The school is very grateful for our help. FYI in my school, I'd say at least 60% of the mums and dads are SAHP's.

The reason I am upset is because there are a few things that have happened recently that have made me think I no longer want to give my time up to help.

Firstly, one of my DC is really great at performing. In the past they have been given great roles in the plays and performances. Over the past year my DC was given very minor parts as lots of the parents banged very loud drums over their DC not getting good roles. I understand that everyone should be included but these are the children that are picked out for A teams in sport and get to shine in lots of other areas. I don't complain when my child is not selected for the many other things theirs are.

Secondly, one of my other DC just got bumped from a clubs list for something next year because someones parent kicked off about their DC not being in it. I complained and was told it was too late to change now.

I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours. I know this is paranoid, but I feel that people must sit round a table and say, well Mrs Stroppy wants this and good old MugginsMcMuggins won't mind.

I am very upset with myself. My DH is very upset with me. He said he doesn't go to work so I can be a SAHM and help everyone else's DC out. I am angry and am asking myself why on earth I would want to help out at the school, benefiting other parents, when they have no hesitation to ride rough shot over my DC?

OP posts:
eagleHasLanded · 07/07/2017 10:44

Well you can step back and do some other kind of volunteering if you've met everyone now.

My DC was bumped from list as parent didn't meet deadline a few weeks ago, kicked up fuss and then particular club list went up for re application and DC didn't make it due to numbers. I think a couple of other missed out too. Not sure how they feel.

Complain about having to re-apply and the lack of a place. I know with some over subscribed clubs sometime weeks are limited - a term or half term - so everyone then has a chance.

ShoesHaveSouls · 07/07/2017 10:44

I know what you mean OP. I used to help out a fair bit at dc's school (not as much as you do) and it is a thankless task. The first year I did it we (the helpers) got a box of chocs - but in following years, nothing. I wound it down in the end. Obvs I wasn't doing it for the chocs, but a thank you is nice.

Helping out on the swimming is the worst thing ever - the kids knew you were X's mum and not a teacher and didn't take a blind bit of notice of you.

I think the volunteering and the 'too nice' are two different things though - I know at my dc's school there were certain parents that the staff were 'scared' of. The ones that would go in and kick up a stink, and get what they wanted - regardless of whether they were on the PTA or helpers or whatever.

Janus · 07/07/2017 10:44

I help out at schools a lot too. I do not expect anything 'as a benefit' in return, i.e. better school part in the play, priority in a school club. However, I would not be 'bumped' off because someone shouted louder, that's not on. I would ask to make an appointment with the head and bring it up and I NEVER go in!!
I know how you feel though, this year I helped with the school play, I gave them hours and hours (my daughter was a dancer, no speaking role!), I made costumes, sorted costumes, painted the scenery, went in after school, must have given up 30 hours of my time. They then couldn't find me a ticket as we were only allowed 2 each and my 2 went to my husband and eldest child. I didn't even see the bloody play! I vowed then that I wouldn't help out like this again. So I'm already disproving what I said earlier as I did expect 1 extra ticket!
When we help with reading, school trips, etc, you expect a bit of appreciation!

JigglyTuff · 07/07/2017 10:45

This has got nothing to do with you volunteering. If the school changes deadlines because of stroppy emails, that's crap. And if your child missed out when they already had a place, why didn't you kick up a fuss?

TheMaddHugger · 07/07/2017 10:46

((((((Hugs)))))) OP
MugginsMcMuggins Fri 07-Jul-17 10:42:15
Thanks TheMadd. That is how I feel.

I was quoting the poster above me adelino Smile

MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 10:47

Thanks to you both.

OP posts:
HearTheThunderRoar · 07/07/2017 10:49

Actually the more I read your original post, the more I get the impression that you believe your children deserve the first choice of clubs etc because you are parent helper. But also you resent helping at the school when other parent's don't, look no one is forcing you to do so. Imo you need to volunteer for the right reasons.

I use to be a parent helper many years ago when my daughter was about 4/5, I was in a fortunate position to do so, I did that for the community. However I had to go back to work when she was in year 1. I am very appreciative of all the work other parent helpers did, however that did mean their dc should get preferential treatment.

HearTheThunderRoar · 07/07/2017 10:51

*did not mean...

Fwiw OP I think you were short changed re the clubs, that was a bit unfair.

ShoesHaveSouls · 07/07/2017 10:53

Agree about the club too - not fair at all to be bumped like that. I think I would speak to the Head about that.

Then withdraw your volunteer work - they'll know why. I actually don't see why you should be treated as MugginsMcMuggins when you put so much into the school.


MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 10:55

We were given a list of clubs and a date by which to apply. If you don't apply by this time and date, you don't get a place. That's what the rules say. I applied and DC got a place. The other parent missed the deadline. You get 2 weeks advance notice to apply. They kicked up a fuss and we all re-applied and DC then didn't get in as only 12 places and more than this applied. I did go in and complain and was told too near end of term to change now.

I dont see how this is preferential treatment?

OP posts:
ShoesHaveSouls · 07/07/2017 10:55

Oversubscribed clubs can be a real problem - ours used to do first come first served, but changed it after parents moaned. So they started drawing it out of a hat instead. So they said.

Changebagsandgladrags · 07/07/2017 10:57

The OP isn't saying her children should get preferential treatment because she helps in the school.

But rather, her children seem to be denied access to things because she helps out and is seen as a nice person = easy to walk over.

AvoidingCallenetics · 07/07/2017 10:57

Other parents might assume that you volunteer so much because you enjoy it. If they don't, then they are under no obligation to do it. Being a sahp doesn't mean that their time is up for grabs and that other people have a right to say what they should be doing with it!

That said, I absolutely would not accept my child bring bumped from the club when his name was submitted on time and I would be kicking off about that.

I do think you should withdraw a bit, because it is entirely possible you are being taken for granted and you are starting to resent it, which is fair enough.

Laiste · 07/07/2017 10:59

Yes, i see now you meant it as your volunteering is being unhelpful to your DCs. Sorry Flowers

I echo the pp who said that perhaps because you work at the school you 'understand'. It rings true to my experience.

I worked as a volunteer at our local primary for a year, similar hours and effort to you. Then got offered training and a job. Was then full time TA for 8 years. There is a (in our school's case) misconception among some parents that the volunteers and the staff and their DCs always get preferential treatment. In fact in lots of cases the opposite is true. Schools can be a little bit 'them' and 'us'just as any other big institution run for the public. Them - the non-staff parents and their DCs - service users to be kept happy and treated well, and the staff (and sometimes their DCs) making sacrifices to keep the show running.

I'm over simplyfing and it's hard to explain but i get how you feel. Sometimes it's hard to get a bit hard line and stand up for your DCs when you're an 'us'. You have the choice to step back now though, or carry on as you are but ask questions as you would as a 'normal' parent.

StormTreader · 07/07/2017 11:00

I would be really pissed off at the clubs thing, its not on for them to keep rolling the dice on who gets in until they get the answer the loud parent wants and sod anyone else who was in and is now bumped out.

HearTheThunderRoar · 07/07/2017 11:10

Op I said that she was unfairly treated re the clubs Confused although their could have been a particular reason why that child needed to be put into said club and maybe the mum just forgot to sign up. (Doesnt excuse the ops child getting kicked out tho)

However re be play I got the impression that you thought your child deserved a major part, that's why I thought your child shouldn't be allowed to have preferential treatment.

MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 11:11

but ask questions as you would as a 'normal' parent.

That is an interesting point Laiste. I dont feel comfortable throwing a wobbly or sending my Head a stroppy letter because I am in and out of the school a lot and have lots of friendly chat with the staff. Perhaps, I need to take a massive step back and have a more formal relationship with them.

OP posts:
eagleHasLanded · 07/07/2017 11:13

Put a complaint in writing about the club to HT and anyone esle involved - how you followed the stated rules got a place then suddenly it all changed and you have a disappointed DC.

It may be too late to do anything this term - or it may be easier to say that but it might mean it's less likely to happen in future and if it's an ongoing club they might give those in your position first perference to make it fair.

It's harder to dimiss a written complaint - be polite and factual and point out the unfairness.

Then have a seperate re-think about if you want to spend ths amount of time next year in school or do something esle.

eagleHasLanded · 07/07/2017 11:18

a stroppy letter
Stop using stroppy - as implies kciking up a fuss for no good reason.

Your child appears to have been treated unfairly - so advocte politely for them.

There may be good reasons - there may be ways to address the issues - the school has opputunity of coming back to you with more information than it's too late to do anything now.

BitOutOfPractice · 07/07/2017 11:25

I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours


I have never, ever expected anything in return for the help I have given

Which is it?

AvoidingCallenetics · 07/07/2017 11:28

It's both Bit. OP feels that helping out might actually be hindering her children because she is seen as a soft touch and someone who won't kick up a fuss.

LoKeKi · 07/07/2017 11:29

"I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours"

I read this comment as "I feel like the school think I am a bit of a pushover and therefore are acting in ways which are potentially detrimental to my children assuming I won't raise a complaint due to my good relationship with the school" rather than "I expect the time I spend at school is rewarded by prioritising my children over others".


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BitOutOfPractice · 07/07/2017 11:35

That's not how I read it but I could of course on this one very rare occasion be wrong Wink

hazeltheguineapig · 07/07/2017 11:44

You're conflating the volunteering with being seen as a pushover. But you really can stand up for your DC without packing in the volunteering (unless you want a break from it in which case go for it!). It's outrageous that one parent can miss a deadline and make so much fuss that the school give in and bump kids whose parents got their act together in the first place. School needs to stand by the original deadlines. I don't suppose they will fix it now, but kick off if it happens again.

That said, just because your DC is a great performer, they don't have a right to the very best roles all the time. It's fair for other kids to have a go in the starring role. Plays and concerts aren't a competition, and if your DC goes on to be involved in theatre as an adult, they'll need to be able to take minor roles with grace and willing. As well to learn that now!

LazyDailyMailJournos · 07/07/2017 12:01

I've read it as OP meaning that her 'niceness' is actually disadvantaging her DC as she's seen as a soft touch who won't kick off - rather than the type to go flying into the HT's office threatening to sue every time little Persephone doesn't get the lead role/star of the week/whatever.

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