Yep, it’s Book Week again… And it’s OK to say, no!
As I panic-bought yet another cheap polyester costume for my son over the weekend I had some thoughts. And ever since I dropped him off this morning I’ve had some more thoughts. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions really – much like life in general right now.
So firstly yes, it’s another year I’ve gone and forgotten about it altogether until the day before… So I instantly feel guilty for not busting out the craft supplies and creating a masterpiece from scratch. I want to be that mum but I’m just not. Then not to mention, you know, the environment and buying more cheap crap we don’t need.
But then I felt better when he opened the packet and realised it was Where’s Wally his absolute favourite book at the moment – so his smile alleviated some of the guilt. He doesn’t give two hoots where the costume came from.
Ok, so maybe Book Week isn’t all bad…
When I dropped him (and his little brother who was in a hand-me-down Paw Patrol costume also cheap polyester – also grinning from ear-to-ear at getting to wear his favourite character) I’m thinking this is actually working out ok. Things might be horrible right now and lockdown is hard but seeing them both smiling like that makes everything worth it.
But then I notice there were no other kids dressed up. Great. I’ve scarred them for life. That’s the stuff that haunts you later in life. You’re damned if you do you’re damned if you don’t.
Did I miss the email after the email about it being book week this week and everyone deciding not to dress up this year? I wanted this email, I double-checked hoping for this email.
Then another child and his mum walk up while I’m saying goodbye to my two – and her son feels bad that he’s not dressed up. As does his mum. Great now I’ve ruined their day too.
About half an hour later I called the school to check on how my littlest one was and I also asked the teacher if my oldest son was mortified that he was the only one dressed up? Thankfully she said some others had arrived dressed up (phew), and to which she added that he had actually been loving the attention in his costume. Ok, so he’s clearly not scarred we’re ok.
All these thoughts before 8 am is a lot for a Monday. Oh and throw in that little thing called lockdown and it’s safe to say the emotions are running high.
But then it got me thinking about Book Week this year (and all years really) because lockdown or not there are two kinds of parents – those that LOVE book week and the rest of us.
Don’t get me wrong I love books, I am all about books we have been reading to the kids from day 1 – and anything that helps decrease the screen time is ok by me. But when did book week become more about the dress ups? I know I’m only new to this whole caper my kids are only at daycare so I can’t even imagine what it’s like when they get to school?
It just feels like so much pressure – and like parents need any more of that. Especially at the moment.
So if you can’t get your kids a costume, or if frankly you can’t be bothered because the world is heavy enough right now and you are just trying to keep your head above water – then that’s ok. Or you go halfway with a cheapy from Kmart, that’s ok too.
It’s ok to say no to Book Week. Or anything you can’t take on right now, for that matter. Just making it through each day is enough right now.
If you love it and have been using your spare time to create a masterpiece for your child and this is your jam, that’s great too – but let’s just all agree not to make a fuss shall we? And don’t judge the store-bought costumes or the mums that flat-out forgot or even those who flat-out just didn’t want to do it.
Let’s put the focus back on those wonderful books that fill our child’s minds with magic and adventure and hope – which we all know they need more than ever right now!
Jessica Bosco Follow +
Jessica is a writer, editor and professional wrangler of two boys. Working in women's lifestyle publishing for over 15 years she has written about everything from fashion and beauty to royal weddings and true crime. These days she loves helping parents navigate pregnancy and the early years of raising little ones...
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