WHAT an epic parenting fail.
It wasn't mine (because yes, we've all had them) but I was part of said incident, and couldn't quite believe what I was hearing.
At what was supposed to be a fun two hours for kids aged 3-8 at Master Five's school, one mother didn't just go a step too far, she took a bloody giant leap too far.
Yes, she was one of those Dreaded School Mums we've all heard about, and I was about to encounter.
We were enjoying a morning full of activities and fun. Jumping castles, obstacle course, numerous arts and craft, bubble blowing, origami making and face painting.
There are always two favourites with the kids: the jumping castle and face painting.
As such these activities will undoubtedly have the longest lines. And we all know long lines and kids don't mix.
We've all seen the queues for Santa photos.
The kids dressed up nicely, lying on the floor kicking and screaming because they've been waiting for more than an hour.
By the time they get to the front of the line they don't want a bar of the jolly old man and mum's trying every trick to get them to crack a smile.
So when the group of preppies that I and another parent were looking after hit the jumping castle, I went to line up for the face painting.
Time efficient, yes. Clever, undoubtedly. Common practice, most likely. Acceptable? Not for one mum.
I had been in line for about 20 minutes and had made it to the front. My group had still not arrived so I let the people behind me go through. Then, waving madly, two of mine arrived and popped in front of me ready to go next.
Then the other four came along and we squeezed them through to the front. And that's when it happened.
A mum behind me sighed, groaned and exclaimed at the top of her lungs "Not more! My daughter's been waiting this whole time. This isn't fair!"
At first I assumed she must have thought we'd all pushed in, so I explained I'd been in line the whole time, and was just waiting for them to meet me. But it turned out she knew that.
"Well my daughter couldn't be in two places at once, she's waited a really long time. Everyone has, we all have and it's not fair at all. You should do the right thing." I asked her why she was trying to ruin everyone's fun.
I get that her daughter couldn't be in two places at once, that's just common sense, and the rest was hardly my fault.
Her daughter started looking extremely uncomfortable. In fact all the other kids started looking at the ground.
Epic parenting fail. In trying to do the right thing (in her mind) for her daughter, she made not only her but everyone else within hearing range feel worse off.
Five minutes later everyone had their faces painted and happy days returned.
But I couldn't help but think how often I see this happen. A parent oversteps the boundaries in a public manner to supposedly protect their child, and it always ends the only way it ever could... by making things worse.
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