Bad mother: Public shaming in the school newsletter

Do you ever find that you never seem to get away with anything when you have kids?
Give them some sneaky sweets and make them promise not to tell their dad and it is obviously an invite for them to blurt it out as soon as they get home.
And once they start speaking every inappropriate slip of the tongue is picked up and repeated back at you, requiring a quick imaginative correction. “No, I said erm… cheesy crisps… ” (not the son of God).
But last week took the biscuit when my error of judgement landed me in the naughty corner of the school newsletter.
Running 15 minutes late for my daughter’s afternoon nursery session, we screeched up to the school gates. Seeing my two-year-old flat out in her car seat after the birthday party we had been at that morning, I weighed up my options and with the clock ticking, scooped up her older sister and legged it to the front door to leaving her sleeping peacefully in the car. I couldn’t have even been a minute.
I then took her home, transferred her to bed and had a cup of tea and an hour’s peace and quiet. It was bliss.
But the next day, as I glanced through the newsletter my daughter brings home every day, with updates about school life and calls for parental volunteers, there was in big bold type a ticking off to the parents who have been “leaving very young children asleep in cars”. Oops. Some eagle-eyed mum or dad must have spotted and reported me. I felt sick. What would happen next, would I get a visit from social services? Of course these do-gooders are completely right, I shouldn’t have done it and I would never forgive myself if anything had happened to her – even I am not sure what exactly. Although I do remember reading in a newspaper once about a car thief who got more than he bargained for when he sped off with a baby in the back of a car. Anyway, it is the first day back at nursery since the incident tomorrow, so I will be keeping my head down – and definitely dragging my two-year-old into the playground for all to see, no matter how tired and grumpy. Has anyone else ever been tempted?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 100% Mum, 50% Parent
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 10:35:41

    Oh the school needs to chill out. I did it just the other day, and that was with a 9 week old there Was no way i was dragging that bloody heavy car seat out again & as you said, it was only a minute. I even left the window open a crack 😉 It’s no different to leaving them when you have to get petrol!


  2. The Mummy Diary
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 11:05:17

    You are most definitely not alone, I often used to leave my daughter asleep in the car whilst I dropped my son off at nursery. Always in the car park outside the office window and with the doors locked, but still I left her! I leave her in the car whilst I unpack everything from the car if I have been shopping and never think anything of it, as I am sure do most parents?!? If it is just me then slap my wrists and call me a bad mother.


  3. Christine Amorim (@expatmumport)
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 11:39:49

    If you are only a minute and the car is near the building, I dont see the harm. Probably Im wrong, but I think it is better to let my child rest than wake them up for a minute. But I always make sure the car is secure.


  4. Maggie
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 12:08:54

    I feel sorry for the Mum who left her toddler in the car, although leaving your child in a car is not recommended we’ve all been there! So much is expected of Mums these days having to be in two places at once and if you have a child who you know really needs that sleep you can see what made her mind up! I think it would have been more appropriate for the pre school to have had a private word with her rather than being judgemental and humiliating her in front of other parents, Mums should be supportive rather than casting doubts over another mums parenting skills


  5. HonieMummy (honieBuk)
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 12:16:44

    Yes and I’ve done exactly the same, both outside school and the front of my house, in the shade, with the window open slightly on both sides.

    It’s out of order for the school/nursery to behave in this way. And, has none of their business. I don’t like bullying tactics from schools to address what they beleive to be parenting issues. This is why ….

    I once had a slamming in the nursery newsletter (saying they would seek prosecution) for parking 20yds from the bend in front of school, also 20yds from the double yellows, with my disabled badge out – because the school would not let me use the car park 30 mins before school home time, when I was struggling to walk with a hip injury and they contacted the local council trying to get my badge taken off me. All because it is a bad bend on an A road and they have their own banners up.

    They do not slam the parents who parked on the oppostite side to school encouraging their children to cross the road while they had parked on the pavement (which was already only just narrow enough to squeeze a pram through if the bushes are cut) blocking the view of busy traffic and the children.

    The local PCSO re-assured me that I was not only legally and safely parked but did not need to use my badge there, which I knew but was being polite so as to avoid questioning.

    I got yelled at across the playground by a parent waiting for the school bell. I subsequently changed my school choice after being offered a place because I thought their vigilanty tactics were below the belt.

    A week later the school held their yr 6 prom and had 2 limo’s parked on the hazzards for at least 20 mins at school close time when all of the younger children were leaving – talk about pot, kettle and a shade of sooty black!

    What resulted was that the police did get involved and the only good thing that came out of it was that parents were now stopped from the dangerous parking that the school had encouraged. K’Boo ended up at a nearer school that I can manage to walk to and I like the school she is in.


  6. Two of Everything
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 13:22:28

    Really not sure the nursery should be reacting like that – it’s not really anything to do with them and if they’re concerned they should speak to you directly… If it happens another time, I’d be tempted to ring the nursery and ask them to send a member of staff out to either stay with your toddler or take your older one in for you!


  7. Donna@MummyCentral
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 20:17:07

    Oh Jesus Christ (not cheesy crisps)! There is a HUGE difference between sauntering off for half an hour, leaving a sleeping tot in a car, and sprinting through the nursery doors before running back to your vehicle, so little one keeps napping. It’s rare but my youngest still occasionally falls asleep in the car, and we park in the street in front of our house, leaving him to snooze – checking every five minutes or so until he wakes up. Before you have kids, you swear you’ll do everything by the book. But when you have them, you realise it’s not that simple.
    Give yourself a break. And hold your head high. You’ve done nothing wrong.


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