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To Those Who Judge Parents for Wearing Pajamas to Their Kids’ School

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There has been a huge uproar in the news recently about parents wearing pajamas to school. To be honest, the first thought when I read this was, “I’ve done this.” I read the article, and to sum it up in short, the head of Skerne Park academy in Darlington wrote a letter to parents asking them not to wear pajamas while dropping children off at school. The letter stated, “It is important for us all to set our children a good example about what is acceptable and appropriate in all aspects of life, not only from the point of view of their safety and general well-being but also as preparation for their own adult life.”

Following this article, there has been a lot of social media and online chat. I’ve read of parents standing in defiance, stating no one should be telling them what they can and can’t wear in the day. I’ve heard parents who are supportive of the head teacher, and I’ve also heard some judgmental assumptions, comments and opinions.

For example,”People who wear pajamas are just plain lazy.” “If you wear pajamas to school, you’re not fit for society.” “There is absolutely no excuse, it is pure laziness.” “It only takes two minutes to get dressed.” “Children should be brought up knowing it is wrong to sit in pajamas all day.” “People who wear pajamas have no respect for themselves.”

Now I would like to have my say on the matter. While some parents may appear “lazy” and “disrespectful” by wearing PJs to school, this is actually a major assumption and a massive generalization, and in my opinion an unfair and biased statement.

I am very unwell. I have a number of health conditions that are not physically visible. In fact, I classify myself as someone who has an invisible illness. Some days I can barely walk; I wear pajamas in the home most of the time. Everything I do demands so much of my energy, and most days I choose to stay in pajamas to be comfortable and reserve energy for more essential tasks, like meeting my child’s needs or attending an appointment. For me, as a mother, my number one priority is my daughter.

On a school morning, I focus on getting my child ready for school, making sure she is fed and dressed, having her hair done, brushing her teeth and getting to school on time. These morning tasks are physically exhausting for someone with chronic fatigue. I currently don’t take my child to school, as I’m simply not well enough, but on occasions, I have attended school in PJ bottoms and a top, usually covered by a jumper.

Since I’m not the only mother or parent in the UK with chronic illnesses or conditions that exhaust me, I imagine other parents may be faced with similar daily choices to get their child to school with little or no energy, and they wear PJs or to get changed and burn themselves out before getting through the front door. I do have self-respect. I am not putting my child’s health and safety at risk by wearing my pajamas.

While some people may be healthy enough to get changed, they may struggle in the mornings to get their child to school dressed, fed and on time. Does this mean every parent who struggles for whatever reason is a disrespectful and lazy? No!

We do not know every parent’s situation. We don’t know what others are going through mentally, emotionally or physically, and quite frankly, I find it rude and ignorant to label all parents who choose to wear pajamas to school lazy and not fit for society. I am a good mother, a fabulous parent ,and the fact that I may wear a set of pajamas to school at times does not determine who I am or what kind of person I am. I would gladly dress myself up and wear makeup and look amazing while dropping my child off, but I have to be real and do what I can to reserve my energy as a mother with chronic illness.

Now that this issue has been discussed across the country, I am concerned other parents who may struggle with poor energy levels may now be stereotyped. There is so much more consider than looking at someone and judging them by their appearance, and I feel this happens far too often in our society. As a qualified teacher, I have to disagree that wearing PJs to drop off a child at school will greatly hinder a child’s ability to succeed in life. This is a load of rubbish.

Naturally, a parent about to go to work will be dressed for work when they take their child to school. But there are stay-at-home parents and chronically unwell parents who are spending a day at home and who may for their own reasons choose to go to school in PJs. While I do agree looking your best is important, this is not always the number one priority for parents, and I think parents should not be judged unless people know the full facts.

It would be nice to live in a world where people were accepting of other’s differences, including chronic illness, chronic fatigue or simply the right to have a pajama day once in a while. Chronically unwell parents should not be judged just because they wear pajamas on a school run, and neither should any other parent. There needs to be more understanding and less judging.

Follow this journey at Daysinbed.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 31, 2016
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