Given my eldest child is not quite four, my interactions with early childhood facilities have only extended to childcare and kindergarten. I take a fairly laid-back approach. Not so laid-back that I was happy to send my son to the creche with the kid eating paper under the table but laid-back enough to not be too preoccupied with finer details. Did he eat? Great. Did he sleep? Okay.
I wonder if this is to my detriment when my child’s name can’t be found on an enrollment list or when there’s no information regarding next year’s program while other parents discuss confirmation letters beside me. Committee parents stand at the school gate suggesting “oh well if you’re on the committee you get a choice”.
Getting ahead via nepotism is fine. I get it, I’ve been there. But do I have to join the committee? I will sell all my raffle tickets, I will eat an entire box of charity chocolate. Maybe two. I will donate goods. Just please don’t make me man a sausage sizzle. I know I am probably disappointing many of you right now “well if everybody took that approach where would we be?” and I appreciate that. I value parents that give up their time and I know many don’t want to be there.
If I’m honest. Other mothers frighten me. I once overheard a mum ask what the protocol was for bringing in a cake on your child’s birthday when someone turned around and said “Bring in cupcakes. Someone took in an ice-cream cake and it was an absolute mess”. I once made a joke about needing a glass of wine and someone said “well that can turn into a problem”. Yes thank you fun police, I am aware of that.
Don’t get me wrong, I mostly enjoy the minutiae of dialogue at drop-offs and pick-ups. I have a favourite Greek grandparent that always opens the gate for me and there are mums who are funny, loud, reserved and interesting. It’s just that I’m trying to remain laid-back – I see the trepidation in some educator’s eyes that speaks volumes about demanding parents. I don’t want to be that parent but I’m finding my voice is getting lost beneath the ones that need to know whether the kitchen passed a health and safety check.
Is this how demanding parents are born? From out of the ashes of a she’ll-be-right approach rises a ten-foot scary poltergeist screaming “WHERE THE HELL IS MY PAPERWORK?!” I’m trying to keep parenting as uncomplicated as I can. I’m trying to fly under the radar. I’m starting to realise that’s not always possible.
Do you take the laid-back approach? Dare I ask if you are disappointed in my lack of committee enthusiasm?