PARENTING

Woman begins homeschooling child to avoid small talk at morning drop

When Tracy Innes first enrolled her daughter in junior kindergarten last fall it came as a huge relief.

CALGARY, AB—When Tracy Innes first enrolled her daughter in junior kindergarten last fall it came as a huge relief.

"We'd been spending almost a third of our income paying daycare. So when Tilly was finally old enough to go to school, we knew it would take a lot of financial pressure off of us," Innes recalls.  

However, a few short months later, Innes started feeling another kind of pressure that was far more difficult to manage: social pressure. "At the beginning of the school year it was fine because no one really knew each other. If I pretended to talk on the phone or that I forgot something of Tilly's in the car, I could usually get out of most small talk with other parents."

But soon, parents were congregating in small packs each morning to discuss their babysitter dramas, setting up playdates and trading tips on which summer camps were the most "enriching".

 Do I ever have to hear a mom named Madison describe how she builds her daughter Griffin's bento box lunches ever again? No.

​Innes said she did her best to avoid conversations with "boring adults I had no interest in ever being friends with or speaking to if our kids hadn't happened to live near each other and attend the same school" until she one day made the crucial error of giving her phone number to another mom. Soon after, she describes being bombarded with unsolicited texts from other parents.

"I had a mom ask if I'd heard 'any news' about her child's missing MEC mitt that was lost on a field trip. I just...I can't handle that," Innes recounts.

Innes decided she had no choice but to pull her daughter out of school and begin homeschooling her. She'd considered alternate options, like hiring a nanny to take care of drop-offs but ultimately realized it would never be enough to fully and properly avoid the other parents.

"This is the type of school where everyone invites all the kids in the class to their birthdays. If I have to attend one more mind-numbing party with no alcohol and give up hours of my weekend to be with these other parents, I will lose my mind."

Innes recalls the exact moment she made the decision to take control of her life.

"It was a Monday morning and I just got out of a 37-minute one-sided conversation about how Emerson G. didn't like wearing her Epipen belt. That's when I realized I didn't have to do this anymore."  

Although the decision was easy for Innes, she acknowledges the logistical hurdles.

"Look, did my daughter love her teacher and classmates? Yes. Did selling our home and losing my income and benefits have huge irrevocable financial ramifications? Yes. But do I ever have to hear a mom named Madison describe how she builds her daughter Griffin's bento box lunches ever again? No. And that's reason enough for me."

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About the Author

Cara Connors

Cara Connors, a native Chicagoan turned Canadian, is a stand-up comedian, actor, improviser, and writer.