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I feel like I’m being stalked by a school gate mum(46 Posts)
Ok, so stalked might not be the right word. We have DCs in the same class, I also have a DC a few years older. Every day at school pick up she homes in on me and basically I get a monologue about her day, her latest job search, a kind of brain dump of her thoughts, feelings, emotions for the day. It is exhausting! I literally cannot get a word in so it’s not a conversation, and I want her to stop! Today I walked towards the gate to collect my DC from the teacher and she literally followed me to continue what she was saying (a long and convoluted explanation of the pair of shoes she’d chosen for her DC over the weekend). I then try to engage with my DC, ask about the day, make eye contact with the teacher and so on and she’s still there rabbiting on in my ear!
So - I pretty much turn away from her and walk around the other side of the playground to collect older DC and she’s there again, chattering away. I’m trying to chat with older DC’s teacher, chat with my two and she’s just there, going on and on... She ignored her own child through all of this.
I don’t want to be unkind, she seems lonely and has gone from a very high powered job to being home all day as she looks for a new role. (She was made redundant.) That said, I can’t be her sounding board/brain dumping ground every day. To me she needs this kind of emotional support from her DH or family (who are all around, I hasten to add).
I don’t know if I’m explaining this well and I don’t think I’ve done myself any favours trying to be polite. The pick up area is very small so there’s no way I can avoid her. For context, I have a DH who was been extremely ill for the last 18 months and quite frankly, I don’t have the bandwidth for her draining rants day after day, especially when at school pick up I’m often having to tell my DC daddy is back in hospital so won’t be at home that night. It doesn’t help that her DC and mine seem to adore each other...
Any help appreciated!
Hold your hands up, look her in the eye and say STOP. I'm sorry, you obviously need to talk but I'm exhausted, I'm stressed and I can't listen today.
No-one's going to make her stop for you and this will at least tell you whether she's genuinely a self centered cowbag (if she goes off at you) or if she's just not very aware of how she comes across (if she apologises or at least subsides and backs off a bit).
mum - trust me, it’s tempting to shout that at her! I went the other way one day and said let’s have a coffee to catch up properly, rather than trying to chat around pick up, it that just led to a longer rant 😭
She seems socially awkward sometimes and I don’t want to be unkind. BUT - this has gone on for long enough and I’m starting to dread seeing her. Due to older DC I also have other friends at the school gate and sometimes I want to chat with them. I feel as though I’m her substitute social circle, if that makes sense? And I’m kind of embarrassed as this sounds so petty written down but it’s the drip drip drip effect. It’s heaven when her DC is off sick.
Look her in the eye, say “lovely to see you but I need to go and do x now” and then turn and walk away.
If she follows you/carries on you say “sorry, I’m busy now”. And walk away.
Have your phone clamped to your ear, make noises as though you are in the middle of an important conversation. Smile and wave at her, walk off to continue your conversation.
trust me, it’s tempting to shout that at her
Seriously, what's stopping you? I mean you don't need to shout but you obviously need to be firmer and clearer with her than you have been. There's nothing unkind about clearly explaining that you simply can't have the conversation the other person wants you to have at that time (it's actually a lot kinder than waiting til the day you finally snap and scream "JUST FUCKING FUCK OFF WILL YOU" at her). You don't owe her anything, you're not responsible for her, and you need your emotional reserves for your DC.
You’ve got enough on without dealing with her.
I think you need to spell it out to her: you don’t have the energy to deal with her as well as everything else you have. If you need to tell the dc that dh is in hospital then you should tell her that you’re sorry but that you need to talk to dc and you’ll see her later.
Don’t be afraid of speaking out.
can you say things like
please excuse me i need to talk to my son now
if you would excuse me i have to speak privately with the teacher
if you dont find a way to get her to stop you are going to end up blowing and screaming shut the fuck up i dont give a shit about you
I will try tomorrow. She’s very thick skinned - or maybe she doesn’t read social cues well?
If she’s very thick skinned then you will have to be very direct.
There’s no need to be unkind or rude but say what you mean, really clearly. She won’t get hints.
Can you say 'I need to talk privately to my children now' or would you have to really be rude?
I would aim to arrive just as the door opens so you can grab your child and escape before she has a chance to get talking to you. Or if you arrive early go up and speak to one of your other friends and if she joins you and starts one of her monologues just keep changing the conversation to something that only concerns you and the other friend.
You need to be direct and that is possible without being mean. You might be right that she doesn't pick up social cues easily - in which case, she doesn't deserve to be told to Fxxx off, as others have suggested. Try being very direct and clear. If she doesn't get it then, you might need to be colder but at least you'll have tried the kindest way first (it sounds as though that's the kind of person you are anyway).
- kind, I mean, that you're kind, not cold!
So - today was ok! Stalker mum had parked illegally outside school so literally ran and grabbed her DC and then ran to the car again...
My DD sometimes goes to after school club, just so I can arrive 30 mins after school time, theres plenty of parking and I dont have to talk to anyone!
DD loves it, as they just play.
I think Thistlebelle solution is the best
However just food for thought - I’ve been that mother - so desperately lonely and just trying to connect - have you thought about inviting her for coffee with a bunch of other mums? Maybe she would then connect with others and be able to relax a little and not focus solely on you.
For the socially shy, awkward or unskilled, the “mother gauntlet” is horrifying. I would watch myself try to connect with others knowing that I was being a bit weird but being unable to really do anything else.
Kindness goes a long way
@Sprinklestar glad it was better today. I'm sorry you have had a really tough time.
I can only echo others, be very clear, I must go and speak to the teacher, I must talk to my child, excuse me. and be clear. If you can face a little chat with her one day then do, because "Kindness goes a long way" as @OldGuard says. If you feel able to spare one trip to the park with her kids and yours, or one coffee shop visit before pick up, suggest it as a one of and see how it goes.
Please do not be afraid to say, half way through the time together, 'Oh I must tell you what has been happening for me." Or if you are having coffee "I must let you drink your coffee and I will tell you what I have been up to." You do not need to do it, you really do not, but if you were able it would be kind.
So today’s update. I was actually there super early as I wasn’t coming from home and so sat with another friend on a wall away from little DC’s pick up area. Stalker mum rounds the corner, sees another mum who has a child in our DCs’ class and they start to chat. Then she clocks me and abandons other mum, heads over to me and my friend (who I know she doesn’t know) and says sorry for interrupting before launching into a monologue.
Me, other mum and friend were all a bit WTF?! I felt sorry for other mum actually as she just sort of abandoned her for me! So I try and stay polite as she recounts the same story she told me on Monday and then proceeds to slag off another child in the class, as well as something the teachers have said. Friend and I are sort of nodding like dogs at this point as it’s just such a loud, forceful delivery and we can’t get a word in. Other mum has wandered off.
The children come out of class and I use this as an opportunity to escape. Older DC was also very late out so we were spared walking around the corner to the road altogether but FFS! She homes in on me even when I have an old friend with me - that’s breaking all kinds of etiquette, no?
Tomorrow we have a class meet up at the park so hopefully her presence will be diluted by the sheer number of people but I’m sure she’ll still home in on me 😞 A similar thing happened a few weeks back as I was catching up with one of older DC’s friend’s mum, again someone she doesn’t know, and she pretty much hijacked the conversation. I’m always polite and introduce her but then it just turns into the stalker mum show. Some of her views are rather different from mine, she’ll loudly slate the teachers and expect others to agree for example, when I love my DC’s teacher, and I don’t want people thinking I agree with her craziness!
Start disagreeing with her then. Might put her off.
so treat her like a toddler. Put your hand up and say STOP
There's a mum who behaves in the same manner in our school. I last spoke to her 3 years ago. It was her choice. She asked me to sign a petition to get a teacher suspended. I can't remember what the reason was but my ds was doing so much better since he joined her class so I said no. We went from violence to silence. It's utter bliss.
Can you clue your other friends in and ask them to rescue you?
Or if you're talking to a friend and she barges into the conversation again even better - just ask her to stop - even if you have to say it several times (and pepper it with wait. Excuse me. Yoohoo. Breathe. [her name]. Can you hear me? And say it kindly but get louder and bring your hands up if she won't be interrupted...
Then when you finally have her attention, say that you were in the middle of a private chat with friend sitting next to you, she is asking your advice (needs to be this way around or she will feel like she can join in so she can switch conversation back to her) and as you don't have much time left you really need to crack on as it's important and that your sure she will understand. Then wait for her to go or go yourself And send her back to whoever she dumped so she isn't left looking like a lemon and to distract her...
And then just walk away.
Has she ever mentioned your dh's illness or asked after your husband or shown any concern about you?
Sounds like high functioning autism to me. They monologue rather than having a turn taking conversation.
What's wrong with you, just interrupt her and tell her it's too much or take her aside and tell her the truth.
I've been lonely and frustrated and relied on others maybe more than I should but I would rather they'd told me than slag me off on the internet.
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