Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Drop Off

3 weeks before school ended last term a note appeared in the classroom window. "Can anyone help? E's mum needs someone to drop E off to school each day so mum can get to work on time."
I know E and her mum as I used to teach E swimming and I often run into her mum as she is dropping E's little sister off at her family daycare house, 5 doors down the road from my own house.
So I'm obligated, I'm a stay at home mother who has all the time in the world to drop someone elses child off to school, I'm going there anyway, right? So I volunteer, feeling slightly proud of myself for my generosity and goodwill. One for the sisterhood.
She's dropped off at 7.30 each morning. School starts at 8.15, we leave about 8. Do the math. (I'll do it for you - 2.5 hours per week of childcare, I've spent some time on this.)
She's terrified of dogs. Especially ones that bark alot, jump up and generally intrude on your personal space. Oh I've just described Jess, our almost 2 year old blue heeler, who guards our fence from sun up til dusk and doesn't seem to understand E's resistance toward her.
"Whatever you do Don't Run," I yell from the balcony, looking down on them.
I do this every weekday as they come cowering in my gate. I understand their discomfort, but she's my bloody dog and I love her. So suck it up.
So by the end of week one I'm starting to feel an irritation creep up my spine as 7.30 rolls around each morning. I'm wondering if it would be rude to ask for some sort of payment, $5 a day, a bottle of wine at the end of the week, a book voucher? Something, anything, just don't let me be doing this for Nothing.
So much for my generosity and goodwill, it's out the window.
Lets cut a long story short. I didn't ask for any payment, I just sucked it up & took the poor kid to school. Plenty of thank you thank you so much from the mum but Nothing came my way of any value. No fucking bottles of wine, no flowers, no Nothing. I'm seriously pissed off, can't believe I've been taken advantage of like this. Sure I'll do a nice thing but you better return the favour. Thats the way I was bought up, to an extent. If someone does something for you, you pay it back in kind.
I've been stewing over this all 4 week holiday. Discussing it with friends, lamenting the bad manners of this Mum. All the while realising the new term starts very soon & neither E's mum or I have discussed the drop off. Ideally she would ring me, I'd say sorry can't do it anymore, cough your a cheap skate cough, bye then. She didn't ring.
So heres the part I'm really proud of. Last night, after jogging 3.15km on the treadmill (22 minutes of mental preparation) I rang her. Had a quick chat, apologised, said I could no longer do the drop off, good luck with it all. Very nicely and certainly Very maturely. Job done, finito, no more stewing, complaining, worrying.
I can't even tell you how easy it was. How good I felt after. How unlike me it is to tackle potential social discomfort head on and not end in tears.
So good on me. Not for the goodwill but for the good ending.