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To feel sad I can never go to my child’s events?

211 replies

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:23

Today I had to miss my daughter's first-ever class assembly because of work commitments. Being a teacher, I understand the importance of attendance, but it's heartbreaking to miss such precious moments.

Unfortunately, like many other professions, getting time off isn't possible, even medical appointments need to be changed to when there’s a holiday which isn’t always possible with the NHS. Balancing work and personal life is a constant struggle, and today it feels particularly tough. Has anyone else faced a similar situation? How do you cope with these moments when work demands clash with important family events? Are any of you teachers that do manage to get to your childrens events? Please feel free to PM if you don’t feel like sharing here!

This is my first and only child (cannot have any more) it feels really upsetting as she was asking where I was and “all other mummies were there”. DH works abroad so it’s always on me to attend these things. My DD is in reception class. Do I have a lifetime of this? I’m seriously considering leaving to do a more flexible job even supply but I won’t be able to afford it. I feel like such a bad mother.

OP posts:
mnahmnah · 07/02/2024 21:26

It varies between schools. I’m a secondary teacher and my head has always allowed me time off for both my DC for Christmas performances and sports days. He says he believes it is important for children to have their parents there in such occasions.

flowergirl24 · 07/02/2024 21:27

Firstly, don’t believe the ‘all the other mummies are there’ comment. It honestly won’t be true.

I’m a teacher and I’m leaving because I hate how inflexible it is. I have 3DC, and I’ve missed so much.

But you do get the hols with them, so there’s a balance. Please don’t feel guilty.

Merrow · 07/02/2024 21:27

My friend is a primary school teacher and her school allows her time off for certain events. I'm not sure if it will be for everything, but she was able to come to the nativity.

DuringDinnerMints · 07/02/2024 21:28

I'm the same and work in a school. Our head is really flexible though and tries her best to shuffle things around so we can attend kids events. Unfortunately my youngest absolutely hates doing any shows and won't let us watch. My eldest did a nativity in Reception then due to COVID and the school not doing shows for KS2 hasn't done anything since, even though she'd love to. So my sum total of school events has been one nativity in 6 years of schooling. A bit crap really.

Meredusoleil · 07/02/2024 21:28

The solution: go part time!

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:28

@mnahmnah I’m also secondary but HOD has made made it very clear we are not allowed time off.

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Animatedapple · 07/02/2024 21:29

It is really hard yes. Some heads are generous about this.

MermaidMummy06 · 07/02/2024 21:30

I'm heading into this now as I'm returning to work. I'm having to prep my DC for me not being there. Although my new employer will be flexible there's a limit & I'll have choose which ones. I wouldn't take an inflexible job.

I will reassure you that not everyone else's parents are there. My oldest is in the last year of primary & I've always seen the same few parents or grandparents there. Some parents I've never laid eyes on because they can't go.

baileybrosbuildingandloan · 07/02/2024 21:30

Go into adult education.

FacingTheWall · 07/02/2024 21:30

Not all schools are as inflexible as yours, look out for a move to a more amenable one. Chat to other teachers if you meet at trains or network events, see if you can suss out which are the better ones in your area. You shouldn’t need to be changing medical appointments to the holidays either, that’s ridiculous and unreasonable.

mnahmnah · 07/02/2024 21:31


Interesting - I am a HOD and such decisions are nothing to do with me. Any personal leave requests go direct to the Head and it’s his decision. Is your HoD being unreasonable? Rather than the school? Either way, if you moved to another school it may well be more likely, as it is at my school

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:32

I very rarely take any time off and today it really annoyed me as around 8 teachers are off for various reasons unknown to me and I had to cover one. People take time off all the time.

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TheChosenTwo · 07/02/2024 21:33

All my heads in the past were really good about this tbh, it was expected that we wouldn’t take the piss (so people
generally requested maybe the Christmas play and end of year show or Easter show, not every single event) as it meant a lot of flexibility with staffing but they always said family comes first and to just come and let them know if we had things we wanted to attend. It’s not the kind of job where you can just book leave when you fancy it and they understood.
I now work in a totally different field and can book time off, it’s an absolute game changer.

Are there any benefits to your family if your dh is working abroad and unable to do any of
this sort of stuff if you can’t afford to move to something more flexible/supply?

Mimami · 07/02/2024 21:33

You are not a bad mother, I am sure other children didn't have parents there. I'm a teacher too but work part time and so does my husband so between us we make it to some events and we miss others. Do you have family nearby so she can have a grandparent or auntie/uncle attend some times? Not an option for us. Worth raising with the school to bear in mind and see if they can put some events in the evening. If many parents ask they might try... My colleague's child's school did! I got really annoyed when in December we had an email from school saying they were stopping parents from attending the Christmas lunch because some couldn't afford it so their kids would miss out and wouldn't be fair. I felt like replying that children of many working parents always missed out on plays and stuff and nobody suggested stopping the other parents from attending! I didn't want to be difficult but will likely raise it at the next survey. Best wishes! It's hard but think about all the time you have to be with her on school holidays! Last play we could not attend I asked other parents to take a pic of my child (sshhh) and also told my child that so and so's mummy was watching them and told me how great they did. I also asked the other mums to tell my child how great they did.

Aquamarine1029 · 07/02/2024 21:33

I would be finding another job. You will never get this time back with your child, and in the meantime, I would do whatever you can to get the time off.

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:34

The HOD has to approve before it goes to line managers. I’ve been at the school for 6 years now and I know some teachers manage to get to their kids events this is why it’s very unfair as it’s not consistent.

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Mistlebough · 07/02/2024 21:34

I don’t think you should think you are a bad mother if you are trying to provide for your child and your own secure future so that you can look after her.

Also how fantastic that she will have you looking after her in the thirteen weeks or so holidays every year. You can more than make up for missing the odd assembly. Also there will be lots of parents who cant attend so just try to get to things out of school times eg after school fair or fun day.

Aquamarine1029 · 07/02/2024 21:35

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:34

The HOD has to approve before it goes to line managers. I’ve been at the school for 6 years now and I know some teachers manage to get to their kids events this is why it’s very unfair as it’s not consistent.

Then raise hell about it and advocate for yourself. I wouldn't sit still for that.

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:36

I’m sitting here sobbing as it just upsets me thinking she was looking around for me in the crowd even though I did tell her I would t be going. But how can I guarantee even going part- time would work? Say if events are on my working days? Are there days that most events are on or not really?

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ExcitingRicotta · 07/02/2024 21:36

@UpsetMum155 have you formally asked to attend occasionally? It sounds a bit like you’re assuming that you won’t be able to?

I’m not a teacher but my partner is and we both find it difficult to attend these things (but his school is not unkind about it).
Some good advice from others about moving schools. Or at least formally raise it as an issue. You can’t be the only teacher parent.

Rainbowunicornsparkle · 07/02/2024 21:36

The problem is you don’t know what a school is like until you work there. I don’t mind my school; they mostly let me get on with things but they always act as if civilisation is on the brink if anyone needs time off. One teacher wasn’t allowed to leave when she got a phone call to say her dad had died.

I am part time but while it’s a ‘solution’ to this problem it also causes its own problems.

Boomboom22 · 07/02/2024 21:37

Have you actually spoken to the head? I'm a teacher at secondary and across 4 schools I've never been refused permission for anything, child nativity, assembly, medical. The only thing that was ever refused was a driving test which was because I failed the first, and if they said yes it would set a precedent for all staff.
Obviously I pick the most important ones. It's never come through as unpaid.
In all of those schools other teachers said what you say. They never asked.

StarDolphins · 07/02/2024 21:37

I’m not a teacher but I’ve been to every single thing of my DD’s & it’s definitely not true that all the other mums go, it’s the same parents I always see and it’s nowhere near all of them.

I think they want what they don’t get. My DD compares our little house to her friend’s big house. Your children’s friends might have to go to holiday clubs through the hols but your children get you. It’s just what we have to do!

UpsetMum155 · 07/02/2024 21:37

Thank you so much for understanding everyone. I just have no one to talk to about this.

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Littlemisscapable · 07/02/2024 21:38

Yes there has to be some flexibility here. You are a valuable asset to the school and they should afford you some time to see your child's key events at school. It's not like it's every week and they are usually well planned out. Any school I've worked in found a way to let staff go a couple of times a year...push back and this and start asking why ? You won't get this time back.

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