Do I need to tow the line for my child to do well?(18 Posts)
I do not live in the UK, but I am sure you see these types of mums back home in the UK too. I am at the end of my tether, sick and tired of the mums at my school.
My DS attends a privately paid international school where we live. He is only in the primary school but I find myself distancing and distancing myself from the place. I do not have a problem with the school as such (apart from a few gripes of course) and so far I have had very, very good teachers so I just let them get on with it. My DS loves school.
Now to the mums. I have never, ever seen such politics, such backstabbing, such vying to position themselves above each other. In my class alone I see people fighting to be class mum, taking up the teachers time, trying to get on the board of governors, to get on the PA and mums spending half their week at the school. If there is a problem in the class or a disagreement, the mum will phone round the others, trying to get them onside. For me though the worst part is that there seem to be a to of spoilt kids at the school and a lot of them are very badly behaved. If one e.g. pushes or hits someone and they are reprimanded by the Head, the child's mum always seems to go into a fit of rage about how their child would never hit anyone and then they go off on a witch hunt to get the accusers mum and other child.
Anyway, I've had a few comments to me about how I do not get involved in the school and I feel like I am treated a bit with indifference and as if I do not have any say in what goes on in my classroom. I am worried that this may have an effect on my child a few years down the line. However to date I must say that my child is doing really, really well at school and is very happy and has lots of friends (although not invited to playdates with politician mums kids). My philosophy has always been that my son is there to learn and I am only concerned with supporting him. I do not have the patience or the time to get involved in BS at the school.
So my Q is, do I have to tow the line for my child to be happy and successful at school further down the line? And, what are other peoples experiences of things like this. What is your philosophy when it comes to getting involved in the school and the other mums?
The mothers at my DC's prep were generally monstrous I avoided them like the plague. This has never had an impact on my DS's ability to get onto the next school and now at senior although admittedly a boarding school we barely know or see the parents and it doesn't make any difference to how he's getting on.
If they want to be "class mum, trying to get on the board of governors, or to get on the PA" let them and count your lucky stars that you're not likely to be asked!!
I'd try my best to find a mum with an outlook similar to my own. If you distance yourself you're less likely to find one. On the whole I think most people are generally decent, so I expect you'll meet some nice parents soon.
[apologises for unhelpful comment]
Are they mostly at the international school because their husbands work in this country, though it means that the mums are unlikely to find work of their own? It sounds like these women have a lot of time on their hands and they need to channel their energy somewhere. You do not need to be one of them, or to get involved. However, if you distance yourself too much, you are unlikely to find other mums who are much more like you.
Yes, Cecily They are and I can see that a lot of them are channelling their energy into the school as they are not working. They do not seem to do much with their children though TBH which I find very confusing. I have also had a lot of bitchy comments made to me about my son because he seems to be on a higher level of books than the others and a few have mentioned to me about being a "TigerMom" and how I am pushing him too far, when in actual fact I do not think I am doing anything different to most mums back home. That is, I have been reading to him and with him from an early age and he is now at age 7, a very good reader. I don't think that makes me a TigerMom. One of them told me that "I should watch it as I am pushing my son too far!" Seriously, I do things with him, but it is things like reading for 30 mins a day, doing a bit of Carol Vorderman or getting him to write a shopping list. It's hardly child abuse.
It really does sound ghastly. It sounds like all they are interested in is status. I would worry that this competitive and superficial attitude would also be pervasive within the school amongst the children.
I used to work at an international school and then lived in other countries as an expat surrounded by mums of international school children. Your description sounds fairly typical unfortunately. Many of these women have given up their own careers to follow their husbands and now find themselves with a lot more time on their hands and nowhere to direct their expertise and energy so they turn their child's schooling into their life's mission. Another group of mums were the ones who had never been outside their own country before (usually the US) and the excitement of an expat lifestyle with schooling and housing paid for in many cases went to their heads and they began to act like minor royalty around the school. You have my sympathy.
However, not all mums are like that and you just need to find the normal ones - they will exist! Don't distance yourself completely from the coffee mornings etc as otherwise you will struggle to meet them, just keep trying and you will meet like-minded people. Otherwise, could you meet people through something like the International Women's Club or the gym? Some of those people will have children at school too but you are likely to have something more in common that fretting about whose child is on the higher reading level?
Hah! Cross-post, promise I hadn't read your post about the reading levels when I posted but it's just so typical of the script of these situations!
This exist in schools regardless of whether its international/private/state etc.
It wasn't any different at our unremarkable state primary. No tiger moms so no academic bitchiness but apart from that .... There was a bit of 'fun' when a couple of girls didn't get into the newly formed netball team. Their mums collared the teacher and demanded why x was selected over their DDs. Classic.
I confined myself to the periphery of it all during my time there. Apart from swapping 5 min of gossip now and then at the school gate and at birthday party drop offs/pickups I didn't have much to do with the moms. It wasn't an issue for me since I wasn't a stay at home parent so I didn't look to the school moms as being essential to my happiness.
Not working I think is the key here. Most of the mums at my DS's prep didn't work and they were all to a woman eye wateringly wealthy. These women often had successful careers before giving up work and have now channelled their drive and ambition into their children/school/coffee morning etc etc. There will be some "normal" ones out there the question is how to spot them? one really nice mum I knew at the prep always stood on her own on the side of the pitch avoiding the hideous ones! Watch out for the ones that don't seem to know everyone else I found hereditary peers, nothing to prove and too worried about the rain coming through the roof of their stately home and foot rot in their sheep to worry about the PTA, Sunday Times rich lister again nothing to prove and becasue we're in the UK foreigners more normal!!
Oh yes, it's the same here [hollow laugh].
Like the others say, too much time on their hands. I found that once I decided that I didn't want to play the game, our children were actually better off and happier as I felt more relaxed about school life. I know the sort of mum who is so involved in school life they can hardly have any time for their children - probably why your children are doing so well (well, that and the fact they may just be brighter to begin with).
Do you see your ds staying in the same school long term?
I ask this because you do have a choice about what school you send your dc to. My parents couldn't send us to international school when we lived abroad as children, so we went to the local school. It had its own challenges, but we came out speaking the language and have not suffered educationally for it. However this was a temporary posting.
From a teachers perspective we would welcome parents who don't engage in silly stuff outside the classroom and let us get on and do our jobs!!!
That sounds ghastly OP. My DS is at a UK prep, but I can honestly say I only know of one other mum like you describe. Thank god!
If you have to fit in to this nightmare for your DC to do well, then it sounds like the wrong school to me.
Dunno, but it's toe the line, not 'tow.'
God it's tiresome, i get lots of " can you not come to our meetings, help out more ....."
Well no, i don't want to :-) i pay to send them to school and i have no desire to give my self to the school.
Don't worry just keep smiling.
We returned to the UK a couple of years ago and previously we had DD in a kindergarten attached to one of the international schools where we used to live courtesy of DH's employer.
It wasn't so bad at that level but I certainly did hear some gossip about similar behaviour from those with older children.
I don't know which country you're in, but the country we lived in it was quite common for people only to stay there for around three or four years at most before moving on - we certainly did that.
If it's the same where you are then it's likely that a fair proportion of these mums will have moved on anyway within a couple of years.
I'd also like to echo what annh said above
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