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Can a man ever rock the school run?

3 years ago

Cliff Jones writer
Cliff Jones Dad of two. Life 1st, tech 2nd. Maidenhead, Windsor and Maidenhead, UK
A recent article in the Telegraph – claimed that men British men are not as good as women at parenting, particularly when it came to the school run.

I believe we're not as good as school gates etiquette in particular and personally I think this is because I can't comprehend why it should matter. I defer to the great Homer J.Simpson who said, ‘Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand’

School runs have implications, and I don't care for them. Women decorate and do the gardening and other manual odd jobs in their free time, but I have only ever seen men doing the drop off in their faded work jeans and 90s band sweatshirts. Gym gear crosses the gender divide, so do uniforms – I see soldiers and flight attendants in the morning – but decorating clothes are the preserve of sloppy men who have, frankly, given up. 

I've actually apologised for the state of me. ‘Building a bit of a wall later,’ I might explain, with a sniff of nonchalance. I then wonder if the sniff was perceived as uncouth. And I don't remember names, so I'm polite yet reserved which seems unduly formal for a man in a 90s band sweatshirt, so then I'm awkward and arrogant. 

Aside from the dress code, everyone else seems to know what they're doing. It's like I'm the new guy in the office canteen at lunch time, watching where people stand and how they pay.

I start my etiquette faux pas in the car park before I've even set foot on the ground. Do I give way to the cars leaving from an early drop off because they're in a hurry, or does that delay the cars behind me who are on time, making most of us late? Do we drive in or back into the spaces? Drive in, surely, okay. Oh god, she's backing in. Everyone's backing in.

Invariably I wear a look of panic when checking my kids have everything they need and I think everyone else looks too relaxed, especially my kids, which makes me certain they must have forgotten something, and on my watch. That does not happen.*

At best, I end the school run relieved that they went in just fine and there are no lunch boxes or unsigned authorisation slips in the car. Other parents look determined, ready to tackle the day ahead, but I'm ready to go home and lie down except I remember I've told someone I was planning on building a wall and that's bound to come up later.

I wish the school run was about dropping off the kids and there was nothing else to it. Or maybe we were all struggling inside and everyone else is better at it than us.
 
*It kind of happens.

What do you think? Is there a gender divide when it comes to school run etiquette and approach?
 
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Experience 3 years ago

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