School run time and I am about to run the gauntlet known as “dropping your child off at school”. As usual, the playground comprises numerous cliques who have positioned themselves territorially at various locations. It’s a bit like West Side Story where the Sharks square up to the Jets.
And, as usual, there are some mums who, despite you saying “good morning” and smiling will only occasionally return your greeting and more frequently pretend they haven’t seen you.
Now I appreciate I don’t turn up looking like “glamma mamma” but a bit of common courtesy wouldn’t hurt, would it? I often find myself wondering why some mums are so, well, odd.
These are some of the thoughts that go through my mind.
Is it me?
Have I done something to give offence? Have I looked at them in a ‘funny way’? Have I not heard them (yes, I know, put your hearing aids IN)? Do they object to my constant wearing of black leggings?
Is it them?
Have they conceived an (obviously irrational) hatred of our family, including my ancestors and anyone remotely connected to the primordial soup from whence I came? Is it simply because they are like that with everyone? Perhaps they are just shy?
Am I too old?
Ah, a biggie this one. Have I been relegated to an ‘ older mum ghetto’ (innit?) Do I not have the necessary hormonal surges required to discuss the merits of slightly sticky play centers and whether feeding McDonalds to under 12’s will shorten their life span?
Is it because I am a stay-at-home mum?
Do they think I spend my time painting my nails and baking cupcakes? Or lounging on a chaise longue reading Vogue and waiting for my housekeeper to steam my edamame beans and brew some chamomile tea?
Another whopper this one. Nobody would like to think for a moment that their little angels are anything less than kind, caring and sociable but often, I imagine, reports of bullying behaviour must come as a bit of a shock to the parents.
Are my children the school swots?
I remember distinctly from my own (largely painful) school experience that any level of academic achievement above turning up and writing your name on the front of your exercise book was often viewed with extreme suspicion and was definitely “not cool”. And woe betide you if you actually revised for your exams.
Do they know something I don’t ?
This one is also what is commonly known as paranoia, although it took me years to discover there was a school mums group on Facebook for those in the inner sanctum.
It’s hard, isn’t it when you see groups of mums chatting happily and organising play dates with their kids. The truth is, for some of us, making friends as adults is no easier than making friends as children. You would have thought that we’d have acquired some social skills and confidence along the way.
There’s one last question though, and this one is the most important one of all, the one that really needs answering.
Does every mum really feel like this?
If the answer to that one is “yes” then we should really all make a bit of an effort (I’m including me in that) because, as our kids go through school together, we are likely to be meeting each other every day for a very long time.
What are your experiences of the school run?