Don't drop the kids to school in your PJs, mums

A school principal has made the headlines by rightly asking parents not to drop children off at school while wearing nightwear – though it's so incredibly hard to get out the door in the mornings that something inevitably gives, writes Leona O'Neill

An appropriately attired mother – not in her pyjamas – drops off her children at the school gate

PARENTS in England have got a real telling off from their principal for rocking up to deliver their children to school in their pyjamas.

Darlington Primary School Principal Kate Chisholm wrote to parents last week and formally asked them to stop wearing pyjamas and slippers when dropping their offspring off at school.

Some say that the problem at the particular school had become so bad that people thought it was some manner of fancy dress code. However, the principal thought the issue was having an increasingly negative effect on children.

“I have noticed there has been an increasing tendency for parents to escort children to and from school while still wearing their pyjamas and, on occasion, even slippers,” wrote the head teacher in the cutting letter sent home to all parents.

No matter what your profession was or experience you had before you had children – be that as a lion tamer, a hostage negotiator or military sergeant – nothing can prepare you for getting small humans out of bed in the morning and out the door to school in a reasonably put together fashion and on time. It is hard, hard work.

It would be easier to dress a small, unruly octopus than dress a four-year-old who is not that fussed about wearing a uniform. There are always lost socks or shoes. There are always sandwiches to make, people who spill their breakfast, PE or swimming gear that needs found, ties that had been used to attach to heads Rambo style the night before that can't be located anywhere. And in between all this, Mum has to get dressed and ready for the day.

Now I now that some ladies are super proud of their loungewear and wouldn't think twice about rocking up to school showing off Primark's or Dunnes' latest trends in night wear. That's their prerogative.

Personally I have never, ever delivered my children to their place of education in my jammies, not even a nice silky camisole and shorts set, gorgeous though they may be. Partly because that's mad and partly because I might get arrested for indecent exposure.

Although I do take exception to any principal preaching to her parents about their appearance, I agree with her in so much as mums – so long as they are not ill or are able to manage – should make minimal effort in the morning to pull themselves together for the sake of their kids.

I'm not talking about looking like they just stepped out of a salon. A simple pair of leggings – one step above ‘couldn't be bothered' and maybe two below 'chic' – would suffice to show the world, and their children, that they are ready to take on the day and are willing to live in the grown up, responsible world. Even better, purchase nightwear that you can throw boots and a coat over to make those unsuspecting day walkers think you are on a par with Kate Moss with regards the fashion stakes.

Imagine the stick little Johnny gets in the playground after Mum arrives at the school gates in dressing gown and comedy bunny slippers with her hair in a Croydon facelift fashion?

I'm lucky that our school principal is far too busy making sure our kids are welcomed warmly at the door of the school of a morning to give a hoot about what the parents are wearing.

I spoke with a number of teachers in Belfast last week who said that they didn't care what parents wear as long as they bring their children to school every day and allow them to have a good education.

I dare say should Principal Kate come to Northern Ireland – where our women are known to, at times, not only drop the kids off at school in their jammies, but head into the city centre and do a spot of shopping wearing their night attire and fluffy slippers – she'd get a bit of a wake-up call.

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