Other mums at the 'school gate'.... sigh.....

(34 Posts)
Nic04 Wed 16-Feb-05 06:53:03

Does anyone else find the 'school gate' thing to be either uncomfortable or unfriendly? Or cliquey?! You know, picking up and dropping the kids off to school or pre-school in the mornings and afternoons.

My ds started pre-school this year at a school that I was very lucky to get him into. It has a good reputation & his teachers are lovely, etc etc. That's not the problem though. So far I've found that a few mums already know each other, and it seems that they just don't want to acknowledge anyone else, or even smile or say HELLO. Either that or they will acknowledge you one day, and not the next - GRRR. Last week while I was waiting for ds to come out after preschool, I sat on the bench next to another mum and we started chatting. She told me all about her two year old son and how he's been really sick lately, and we talked about a range of other things until the kids came out and we left. The next time I saw her, it was as though we'd never met!! She walked past and didn't even say a word. I'm finding it quite uncomfortable as there seem to be a lot of people seem to speak to you one day, and then 'blank' you the next. Am I the only one who's finding this whole school gate thing a pain in the #@*&$??

Some of the mums I met there in the first few days were quite nice, so perhaps I just haven't seen them on the days that I've picked up ds. But overall, I find it a bit cliquey or uncomfortable. How hard can it be for people to just be pleasant and acknowledge each other?? I'm wondering what other people think about this and whether you've experienced the same kind of thing.

GimmeIrnBru Thu 08-Nov-12 21:16:52

thanks friendofminniemouse - I no longer acknowledge said people when doing the school run. I just ignore and carry on with my business. You have the right attitude, thank you for sharing your words of wisdom! wink

friendofminniemouse Thu 08-Nov-12 19:21:47

OP - yes, that was my experience exactly. My DC are all grown up now, but at the time it was hurtful and I felt very left out.

Now, years later, I've watched many of their lives and relationships fall apart.

It really isn't worth investing any emotion whatsoever in these people who really are of no consequence to you. Just concentrate on your child and forget them - they're nothing to you wink

GimmeIrnBru Tue 06-Nov-12 15:05:04

Old thread, yes, I know but this is something that I've picked up recently at the school when dropping off and collecting DS1. Being 'blanked' in particular. What is difficult about saying hello to someone?!

dustypuffball Mon 11-Jan-10 21:38:28

awful thing to have to do every blinkin day, but me and a few others just go for telepathy, drop kids and get the hell out quickly,we know getting to involved makes life too public, anyway ive seen quite a few mums in pj's and slippers with big gold argos earings tying their pit bull type to the railings, swearing and smoking and talking of fights in night clubs. yes dearest, telepathy is the answer! lol.

mamatilly Wed 18-Nov-09 20:56:30

its good to read this, i am having such a hard time with preschool mums, i keep asking DH is there something wrong with me, am i too sensitive, imagining things, am i rude/quirky/do i smelll... i just dont understand how some mums think it is ok to smile one day, do playdate and coffee one day AND BLANK THE NEXT. even if not wanting to be best friends (!) then a smile is surely possible. it is pretty depressing if afew women cannot be bothered to be polite and kind to one another, and some of us feel pretty vulnerable and fragile about the whole thing.

sorry, rant over, having a really hard time of it and can only assume after a few occurences with different mums that it is me, that i am a totally ghastly sort of person and that for some obscure reason i have a lovely husband and afew lifelong friends who havent yet discovered my ghastliness xxxxxxx LOL xxxx

vaseofwildflowers Sun 07-Jun-09 05:13:57

Many of us are new to Mumsnet and so have no idea it's an old thread. I thought a woman was being horrible to me but actually I got great advice here and it turned out I was being oversensitive, and the woman at the schoolgate in question would have had no idea I thought she was rude.

Some people have an awful lot on their plates but if you want to, over time, you can make good friends especially if you are helpful,arrange things, join the PTA, and offer playdates etc.

Sometimes you just click, sometimes you don't. But you do need to make an effort over time without being ott.

If you want to make friends you will do if you treat it as a long term project, and don't take it too personally (unless you never smile or smell badly grin

ZacharyQuack Sun 07-Jun-09 02:17:39

Why do old threads keep getting resurrected?

hopefull09 Fri 05-Jun-09 22:21:12

The blankers , standoffishers are probably terified of being stalked ( not by op!) but they mightve had to fend off an overly enthusiastic mum on occasion like i have.

I once made arrangements for a new girl to come for tea, when her mum came to collect her at 7 she wouldnt go, and i finally shoved her out of the door at 10,30.Id never met her before.She then turned up the next day at 9 am, and the next, and the next.When i made it clear i wasnt impressed she turned nasty.

Ive been used as a free childminder, had kids dumped on me the day my dd was due and was having a home birth,," can you just " ect,, been expected to taxi around kids from school who do the same after school activitys as mine, it does make you wary of even being polite to other mums after a bit , as some of them want to move in with you and be best freinds.

Hapened again just a few weeks ago, new girl at school, came for tea, mum picked her up, still here at 9,40.It became quite obvious she was insane when she tried to demonstrate how she had previously attacked a neighbour with a length of wood.!!!

Managed to shove her out of the door while she demanded my phone number and tried to make arrangements for lunch. I dont know why i attract these loons, i live in a nice area in a nice house, and im clearly normal.Get the same on buses too, every loon sits next to me, must be my face.

Not saying your a loon op,, just trying to explain why some of us blankers are like that!

mrsruffallo Fri 05-Jun-09 19:28:57

I agree, there is far too much over thinking of the situation.
Just remind yourself you are there for your children, not for yourself.
It's your choice how involved you get.

hopefull09 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:26:37

I think theres too much read into the school gate thing. For me its simply somewhere i have to go, same as the supermarket, i dont see it as an opportunity to mingle socially , and dont really want to.

Ive been a parent at my school for nearly 20 years as my children vary in age. Might sound tight but its tedious for me now,, having to say hello to a hundred parents twice a day.I tend to apear in the playground as the bell rings then i grab and go.
I do chat to other parents occasionally, and im always polite but i have little in common with some of the parents apart from a child of the same age and dont really want to stand around chatting to strangers.

In my experience school gate freindships end anyway as the children grow older or find new freinds or simply move on.

I suppose i could be classed as a blanker most of the time, although its not deliberate, i just want to drop and go.Ive seen all the fallings out , blankings , gossipings , upset over birthday partys, im fed up with it.

Theres the pta clique,, the working clique, the stay at home group, the posh, and the just plain nasty.
I dont think it helps that people often say to mums with small children " it will be differant when hes at school, you,ll make loads of freinds at the school gates ect ".I think a lot of people see school as a social occasion when it isnt.

Dont take it personally, maybe theyre grumpy and off like me !

stillenacht Fri 05-Jun-09 10:57:33

Nic04 - i completely know your situation. I get 'funny' looks from other mums there because i am allowed to park in the school (whereas most are not allowed) as DS2 has autism (he doesn't go to that school) when i pick up his brother. Many of the mums are SAHM - and spend their lives in the gym and at coffee mornings (don't care if i get flamed - its the bloody truth). My DS1 is in year 5 so i have been around that school for 5/6 years now. I have a few mummy friends from there and one in particular is lovely and fab but even mums in DS1s class who have known me all this time still give my DS2 funny looks (they have known him since birth).

lindastirling Fri 05-Jun-09 10:48:37

My son has attended the same school for 3 years. In that time none of the parents have really spoken to me despite me smiling and saying hello.One parent walked home with me one day then ignored me the next!!I cant understand as I am a popular social person in every other walk of life.I try not to let this bother me but it does, I dread picking my son up as I end up standing alone in the playground while they are standing in groups.I can never imagine being so horrible to others.I thought it was just my school this happened at but after reading stories here I realise it happens all over.Anyway it will soon be summer holidays yipee!!

sallystrawberry Wed 16-Feb-05 11:08:18

Im always rushing around here there and everywhere, so dont have time to chat, although theres a few mums I know from outside the school and if theres a school disco or sports day I chat to them but there are some really cliquey cliques and I just avoid them, my lifes to busy for all that.
My dd is due to start a new nursery at easter and for 6 weeks before shes due to start, once a week they have a sort of playgroup/mother and toddler thing for all the mums and the children who are going to start at the same time, get to spend an hour a week together. Its nice cos we get to chat, play with the kids, have storys and songs and I made a lovely pic of a butterfly last week with glue and feathers lol

Poshpaws Wed 16-Feb-05 11:07:26

Also agree with misdee, though. I don't necessarily want to make friends, but it is nice to acknowledge people, especially if you recognise their faces.

Poshpaws Wed 16-Feb-05 11:06:03

People can be funny, can't they? Maybe it is about being shy, although I am shy and always say hello to other mums/dads when dropping DS off at pre-school. Also, if a parent strikes up a conversation, however trivial, I will always respond.

At DS' last nursery, there was a mother who I and DH used to say hello to every monring. At first she would reply, rather begrudgingly, then she just didn't reply at all, so I gave up.

Then once she came to pick up her DS and mine was already leaving, shouting 'hello' at this woman and it took her four shouts to answer him. It was just me, him and her, so no excuse to think he may have been talking to someone else.

Her DS has since started school and I do wonder how she is getting on there, but also how HE is getting on because he may be picking up 'unsocial' vibes from his mum

misdee Wed 16-Feb-05 11:02:12

i havent attempted to make 'friends' at the school gate yet. i chat to another lady as our kids went to the same nursery, and sometimes walk back with her as she lives nearby, but i dont know anyone else. i am not snobby or aloof etc, just have too much on my plate to worry about making friends atm.

Pinotmum Wed 16-Feb-05 10:45:46

There is always one dad at hometime outside dd's class and I always say hello to him as he used to look so awkward just standing there. He is a really nice guy and I have since met his wife. In my simple little world I just think that as our children are going to go through school together it would be nice if all the parents were pleasant to each other but sometimes we're just too busy to be pleasant aren't we.

sobernow Wed 16-Feb-05 10:38:40

I think it's the same as when you see your neighbours every day. Sometimes you feel like a chat, sometimes you just nod and wave, other days all you want to do is get in the house and keep your head down. We are all in different moods and not every day is a garden party. I don't think that the mums who ignore me are ignoring me, in the same way that I'm not ignoring them I'm just getting on with what i have to do.

I have chatted to a dad in the playground who said he finds it really difficult because he cannot gravitate towards a group of women and hang about trying to find a point in the conversation where he can join in. It's hard enough for many mums to do that but a dad would look like a creep, tbh. And there's no way he could suggest going for a coffee in the local cafe, never mind round at his house.

So I think it would help if we realised that most people at the school gate are thinking much the same as we are and try not to get paranoid about it.

PuffTheMagicDragon Wed 16-Feb-05 10:38:19

Yes, agree with Pinotmum, I've got to know one of the Mums and she is lovely - very shy by her own admission, but we get on well. I've got a friend now and I am happy .

PuffTheMagicDragon Wed 16-Feb-05 10:33:39

It's definitely not just you. There's a mixed bag of chatters, helloers, smilers, nodders, blankers and in my own little worlders at ds1's nursery.

Pinotmum Wed 16-Feb-05 10:24:36

Sometimes it's a full blown discussion, other times it's a nod or a smile. I always try to nod or smile at the mums/dads I see regularly. I know not everyone is that way and it can seem they are ignoring you but usually they are not. In my dd's class most parents are friendly but there are those who wish to keep themselves to themselves and if after a couple of days of smiles or hellos I get nothing back I just ignore them. One thing I have learnt is not to write people off too quickly as those I have thought stand offish often are the nicest people in the end

nutcracker Wed 16-Feb-05 10:22:08

I think it does take tiime though. When Dd1 started nursery i ws pretty new to the area too, so i didn't know a soul, but over the 18mths she attended we slowly started chatting to each other and I now actually like standing and chatting to them all, it's one of the hoghlights of my day (as sad as that may sound).

It is a bit different with Dd2 though, have srtruggled to have conversations with alot of the moms of the kids in her class as alot of them already seem to have kids in the same older year and already know each other.


It would bother me though if no one spoke to me.

Nic04 Wed 16-Feb-05 10:00:50

At least it's not only me then Twiglett.. it's hard to know how other people are feeling I suppose. Maybe some are shyer than others and find it hard to acknowledge people, & then again maybe some just can't be bothered.. who knows! I'll keep at it and hopefully things will improve soon.

Nic04 Wed 16-Feb-05 09:56:11

Thanks batters. It's hard isn't it? I remember a friend of dh's telling me a few years ago that the 'school gate' was quite a significant thing, but I didn't know what he was going on about

It's unfortunate that ds had to start at a new pre-school, all the kids he knew from last year have gone to different schools so he's had to start over with new kids. At least I knew who his friends were last year and I knew some of their mothers, at least on a casual basis.

I should be grateful for the fact that ds is really enjoying pre-school so far and that his teachers are wonderful. Perhaps the other stuff will come in time, although it's kind of hard work at the moment.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 09:49:32

I've seen this kind of post again and again and its so

I think some people, shy ones, find it incredibly difficult .. and I know that I tend to chat to the same old people at the school gates but that's either because it about school (I'm on the PTA .. maybe you could join yours) or because its old friends who I've known since toddler-dom.. I make an effort to smile and say hi to everyone though

BUT .. occasionally.. I wake up in a bad mood .. I rush to get DS to pre-school .. I barely grunt at my friends let alone other people .. I would be mortified if I thought people took offence

Also you get 5 minutes at the gates, and when friends / acquaintances smile and say hello your attention goes to them .. there is most probably no slight intended

My only advice would be to keep smiling, keep saying hello, try to fight through your shyness .. occasionally suggest a coffee (then and there or the next day) and make friends slowly ..

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