Home > Uncategorized > Five Reasons I am a Grump About Field Trips

Five Reasons I am a Grump About Field Trips

I just got home from dropping my son off at school.  At six freaking forty-five.  In the am.  You see, it’s field trip day.  His class is going to Monticello, the home of the illustrious Thomas Jefferson.  I got a pass on chaperoning this one, for a few reasons.  1. I have been on Monticello field trips, once as a child and once with my daughter.  There’s only so much Jefferson a person needs.  2. My son would usually rather not have me around his friends, as I am wont to do things like hug and kiss him, just to watch him squirm.  3.  I have alienated most people at his school this year, and it would just not make for a fun day.  While I do not enjoy waking a ten-year-old at 5:30, this is still one of the easiest field trips.  Even better is the knowledge that we have maybe one more year of this, then field trips will be history.  (ha. history.)

I have hated field trips for a long time, but when my children were younger, I felt obligated to go on at least some of them.  That has never made me hate them any less, either, but I don’t want to be that mom who won’t let the kid go.  We live in a part of the country rich with history and I can’t deny my kids an opportunity to see historic Jamestown, Natural Bridge or the Smithsonian.  I just don’t want to be a part of it.  In any way.  Not even in the drop off/pick up way.  Certainly not in the write the check way.  Allow me to elaborate.

via blogs.babble.com

  1. Some field trips are just stupid.  As I mentioned, I think historical field trips are interesting and educational.  I think a field trip to a boozeless booze cruise is a right damn waste of time and money.  Yet, that’s the field trip my kid took last year.  I went on that one and escaped early from the (docked) cruise ship with another mom in search of shopping and Starbucks.  My son was more excited about the NFL shop we found in the mall than any dumb dance party on a cruise ship.  I still have no clue whatsoever what the point of that trip was, but if I knew then what I know now, we would have saved our money and slept in that day.  I did get some fine Green Bay earrings that day, though.
  2. Other moms.  I don’t think it’s any secret that I have a hard time getting along with most people.  That’s my issue, not theirs, but it is what it is.  I am not good at small talk, I am uncomfortable around people I don’t know and there are just a lot of parents of my kids’ classmates that I just don’t care for.  The ones that I do get along with are rarely the ones going on the same field trips as I, because that’s how life treats me.  I typically end up sharing a bus with the fakey, loud, bossy moms who are planning every footstep their child will take that day and telling us all about it.  Look, I am already irritated to be here.  Can’t we just sit quietly and not pretend like we’re friends?  Because we’re not friends.  Our kids aren’t even friends.  Now, shhhhh.
  3. When I don’t chaperone…  Yes, I have trust issues.  That’s also not a secret.  I just don’t like sending my kid off alone and trusting a teacher or other parent to get him back.  Does this sound paranoid?  Maybe to you, but I had a five-year-old who wandered away from his group at the zoo, found another school’s field trip bus, and tried to ride who-knows-where with them.  This is not a child who can be trusted to stay with his group.  He gets distracted, he wanders off and he will not spend one second worrying about it, because he’s sure he’ll find a bus somewhere.  So, yes, I have some issues trusting that my kid is going to get home.  I would like to think that he’s now old enough to be a little more responsible, but one never knows.  My traditional parting words to this child on field trip day are, “For the love of God, stay with your group!”
  4. The bus.  Sometimes you have to ride the bus.  Most of the time chaperones are permitted to follow behind the bus in their own vehicles, but sometimes they’re not.  Gasp.  Riding a bus for hours with over excited children and their parents.  No, no, no, no, no.  Just hell to the no.
  5. Pickup.  Invariably, the school will provide a pickup time that is set in stone.  They lead you to believe that if you are not at school to receive your child at 4:30 on the dot, the galaxy will collapse in on itself.  Obviously I want to be there to get my kid when he returns, but the thing is that they never return on time.  Never.  Not even once have I ever seen a field trip bus roll in when it was supposed to.  I know things happen, there’s traffic, someone needs a potty break, or they have to hunt down the kid who wandered off at the zoo.  That knowledge does not temper my irritation and impatience when I’ve been sitting in my car at the school waiting for an hour and a half for the damn bus.  There is always a mom who gets a call from a teacher on the bus, at which point she will triumphantly shout, “They’re on the way, only 45 minutes away!”  Jeezy peezy.  How about I just start driving in that direction and yank my kid off the bus on the side of the road?

So, this afternoon and 4:30 on the dot, I will be sitting in my car at the elementary school, thinking of all the things I could be doing with my time.  I will likely spend the time honing my persuasive skills so I can convince my son that he doesn’t really want to go on the DC field trip next year.  We took a family trip to DC recently, during which he discovered that he dislikes museums and excessive walking, so I might have a shot.  That one is the worst.  Parents have to ride the bus, it’s a long trip with a lot of traffic, it’s really, really expensive and there’s not a chance in hell that I will send my kid to DC without me or his father to wrangle him.  Wait.  His father….  excuse me while I go formulate a plan.


  1. Mart
    November 12, 2012 at 8:18 am


  2. November 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I have to admit, I loved going on field trips with my kids, but they were simple and painless. It sounds like you had horrible experiences!!

    • November 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      I can remember one good one in a sea of bad…glad to know that you had all good ones, though!

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