World Book Day

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I woke up this morning to the usual packed timeline on Facebook and Twitter of enthusiastic parents proudly displaying their works of art.

The works of art being their children dressed up as characters from a story to celebrate the 2014 World Book Day.

As I rolled over in bed looking at these images on my phone I felt a tiny sense of sadness that my children are both too old for this, but that was immediately overtaken by a sense of relief.
I am now excused from the pressure exerted on us parents from the schools in what became known to me as shaming those parents who couldn’t spend weeks preparing a hand-made costume.

Oh yes indeed, I used to despise the pressure that was World Book Day in my kids primary school.

It wasn’t cute, it wasn’t a celebration of books, characters and authors – no it was a competition amongst the nightmare playground mothers who thrived on little Cayden or little Sophie winning the coveted prize awarded by the school for the best costume.

Being a full-time working mother I used to feel intense pressure the moment that letter from the school had made its way home to announce that National Who’s a Bad Parent? World Book Day was coming.

I all but booted my kids out of the car every day as I had to battle the traffic to get to work each day.

Where would I find time to go to the crafts shop, make the costume and more importantly make a good job of it so that child was not picked on by those kids dressed by Gok and Tony Hart. The ones where the mothers had spent the past two weeks in between Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women to cut, stitch and design those costumes.

One year I made Mr Bump during my lunch break at work as soon as I’d realised that tomorrow was the show off day. I’ve been up to 1am gluing pipe cleaners to a swimming cap to make a “Wild Thing” until finally the last year I had to endure this mockery of books, I gave in and bought a Where’s Wally costume which I accessorised.

World Book Day 2011, as my child rocked up dressed as Where’s Wally, he was pushed aside by Cayden who had to get the double doors open so that he could walk into school with flipping Hogwarts attached to him.

Deep breathe – it was fine. I would never have to endure this test to how to make a working mother feel like a failure again.

I wouldn’t have minded but for most of these competitive parents experience of reading probably went as far as Fifty Shades of Grey, never mind read on a regular basis and passing on their love of books to their kids.

World Book Day should be a time to celebrate the great stories of the past and present. Let’s try and get back to that instead of making it such a vile excuse for parents to show off.image

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