Could Most Dads Survive School Registration?

A friend realized she would have to adjust her travel schedule so she could handle school registration for her kids. “A man would be so LOST trying to navigate registration,” she confided in her e-mail. ” ‘What? I’m supposed to know my kid’s SSN or school account number by heart? And phone numbers of five people who can check him out?’  I laugh at the thought of (husband) even trying to get one of them registered.”

This got me to thinking that school registration, like PTO, is still almost exclusively a mom’s domain. Although there are a few dads at the school on registration day writing checks and completing medication forms, they are the exception.

It amazes me that so many dads handle sizeable budgets or track complex project deliverables for their employers but we moms don’t hold them competent to deliver a simple blue immunization form. As the ultimate test, would your husband be able to discern a Youth Large from an Adult Small size school T-shirt? (Come to think of it, I always have trouble with that one myself.)

It’s not fair to say the guys can’t handle school registration, since the truth is most of us don’t even let them. I know a dad who is out of work and at home right now but the mom is taking time off of her job to register the kids at school. Do we really have so little faith? Even when we can complete most of the forms online ahead of time?

I think part of it comes down to school registration as an extension of our parenting. When we have to let the kids go to their own world at school, where they discover/build their own identities and relationships outside the family, we moms feel like we personally need to get them started off in the best possible way.

Besides, we want to make sure ours is the first number on that list of contacts.

  • Phil Lee

    Bite me

  • Tina

    Well, it appears Daddy Phil here is totally confident in handling the ritual of school registration for his kids. That’s great! I’ll assume he’s active in the PTO as well. Dads are more than welcome. As a side note, patience and interpersonal skills are a plus.

  • Denise

    This past weekend, I actually DID laugh aloud at my husband when he suggested he take over the school registration chore this year. He was genuinely shocked (and a little miffed) at my assumption that he couldn’t handle it. So — in the interest of parenting research — next Tuesday he’ll be in charge of one registration session at the middle school. I’ll let you know how it goes. Whatever the outcome, at least my husband’s bound to be a better sport than Phil.

  • Joey

    I’m a dad and I did the kids registration last year and this year. I do know my kids lunch numbers and bus route numbers. I wrote all the checks for the various fees for high school and middle school. I take the kids and do all of the schedulling for their dental, doctors and ortho appoints. I also do the majority of the football and soccer practice drop off and pick-up. My wife and I both work and are in grad school. She does all the washing and cooking at home.

  • Tina

    Denise, I think it’s great that your husband offered to handle registration, and he’ll probably breeze right through the whole process. In fairness to Phil, he had probably just returned from registration when he left his comment. I think any of us can get a little cranky from standing in line and writing checks.

  • Tina

    Joey, thanks for your comment. It sounds like you and your wife have really figured things out and are doing even better than most in managing all the tasks of child rearing/home keeping. If you guys can handle all that while working AND in grad school, imagine what a piece of cake it will all be when you complete your programs and can scale back to “just working!”

    It takes a lot of effort to do everything you mentioned. My hat’s off to you and your whole family for your teamwork.