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THE SCHOOL RUN BY HOLLIE MCNISH
Wed Jan 28, 2015


The School Run This morning I had to fight a very strong urge to ditch work, go to the pub and cry into a pint for three hours. Sometimes the school run is like that. Sometimes it is totally fine. But it got me thinking. I do not understand where this idea comes from that those parents or carers who ‘leave employment’ in order to look after kids are losing valuable skills / CV points / job training. Personally, the task of managing to get a kid who has broken down in tears for a reason I don’t know, gone into a strop, slammed her door and hidden in her bed in protest, taken an hour to brush her teeth - to get her out the door, only be a bit late for school, without losing my temper, raising hands or crying hysterically and lying on the pavement just to cool myself down. To me, that’s a skill. I think that after only one term of the school run, I feel finally ready to apply for a job as chief ambassador of the UN peacekeeping conflict resolution force. As stated in article 1 of the UN Charter, the UN was expected ‘to maintain international peace and security,…to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace,…and to bring about by peaceful means…adjustment or settlement of international disputes. Now, I went to a good school – St Barts Comprehensive, Newbury. I worked geekily hard with a lot of help from family and teachers and got into Cambridge University to study languages. I worked in a nightclub and a shop to pay for a part time MSc in Development Studies with Economics at the School of Oriental and Africa Studies in London. I read lots of papers and studies about international conflict. None of those qualifications made me feel capable of applying for the kind of job I wanted. Doing the school run without losing my temper, maybe yes. In fact, I feel that the new skills I have now acquired should be a mandatory part of any application for a UN or government position which requires any sort of negotiation or discussion with other people -Hello, please come in. Which position are you applying for? Er, Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission -And why do you feel qualified for this job? Well, I graduated from Eton and have a first class degree in politics from Oxford University, a PHD in conflict and international peacekeeping and I have been on an unpaid internship for an international charity for the last three years, as well as having experience in my fathers department of the World Bank -Ok, fine. Are you a parent or guardian of a child? Erm, no -Have you ever spent at least three full days and nights as the sole carer of a child (or other person in need) Er, no - Have you ever had a baby's poo spurt up your arms while changing a nappy and still carried on saying 'goo goo' and smiling? Er, no -Have you ever had to get a child dressed and out the house, been able to keep your cool and react calmly and peacefully under the intense pressure of tantrums and crying and screams and then stand on the pavement as other people walk past you, smiling to them red-faced whilst your child lies on the floor screaming ‘go away, I’m never speaking to you again’ and refuses to move. Without crying or screaming yourself? Er, no. Have you ever had to settle a dispute with a child or group of children without resorting to fist banging, shouting rara mr speaker, raising your voice or laughing in a pompus, arrogant manner at them Er, no. Ok, thank you. We’ll let you know. We were really looking for someone who has school runs skills. Primary teaching might work too.