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To avoid this mum? (Yes, a school gates dilemma)

(87 Posts)
Campaspe Thu 11-Feb-16 15:52:38

I hang out with a group of mums. Our kids play together at times, and we socialise together. One other mum makes me uneasy. She seems awkward and lacking in social skills, and I felt a bit sorry for her as she seemed friendless. She seemed to latch onto me a bit, and our DDs became friends. I found her a bit boring, and a bit snide at times, and tried to see her only as part of the group.

Our DDs have had some friendship problems recently, typical 9 yo girls blowing hot & cold with it. I've kept a discreet eye on it, but I'm trying to let DD figure it out alone as much as possible.

Other mum tried to text me about it, and I advised her we should ignore etc etc. Since then, things have felt awkward between us. To make it worse, DD's teacher phoned me to say this mum has been in (the implication was to complain about my DD & the friendship issues). Other mums have told me this mum regularly visits the school, & my DD seems upset & puzzled by this. From what I can see, their friendship is up & down, no bullying is going on, & my DD is left on her own whilst this other child plays with other children. All fair enough.

I'm polite to this mum, include her in group stuff, avoid conversions if I can politely do so, but feel I want nothing much to do with her. However, I feel guilty as she stands alone if I don't explicitly invite her to join the conversation, and the other mums aren't keenkeen to get caught by her.

Aibu to restrict our relationship in this way, and why do I feel both guilty & manipulated by her at the same time?

Forgetmenotblue Thu 11-Feb-16 15:56:48

You are being very kind and a great role model for your DD. You are handling the friendship issue really sensibly and calmly.

She isn't doing any of that. Keep your distance from the other mum. aNd praise up your DD for being sensible etc and not being a drama queen over the normal ups and downs of school life.

<primary school teacher since Adam was a lad>

Gobbolino6 Thu 11-Feb-16 15:58:19

I agree 100% with Forgetmenot.

CaptainCrunch Thu 11-Feb-16 15:58:26

I think you're overthinking it and giving it too much headspace.

In any other circumstances you wouldn't engage with someone you didn't connect with, I don't know why the school gate should be any different.

Be polite but nothing else.

Forgetmenotblue Thu 11-Feb-16 16:04:06

BTW my own life got much happier when I stopped trying to be Mrs Nice who felt she had to rescue people from poor situations that they had themselves created. Don't model that behaviour to your DD, too many women to it. I learnt it from my mum. Wish I'd given it up years ago.

Floggingmolly Thu 11-Feb-16 16:06:44

How is your dd aware of her "visits" to the school, to be upset and puzzled by them?

SoupDragon Thu 11-Feb-16 16:08:16

Actually, I feel sorry for the other mother.

Witchend Thu 11-Feb-16 16:15:56

Why would your dd be puzzled by the other mother's visits to school?
I used to visit the school regularly while I was sorting out their library. And again I did for dd2 in years 5/6 as she suffered from anxiety and had regular catch up sessions with her teacher to try and keep the anxiety to a minimum. And presently ds hasn't been well for about 2 months so I go in at the start of day to keep them updated and pick him up at lunch.
In no case has any of this been remarked about as patents do this all the time, from helping with reading through to running lunchtime clubs.

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 11-Feb-16 16:15:59

Could you elaborate please, SoupDragon?

op I think your feelings are understandable. You befriended her although you wouldn't naturally be friends, and recent incidents have made you more reticient about her. I'd keep on as you are tbh. She may well dislike you for not engaging with her any more, but it seems like she's not happy with your current relationship anyway.

girlywhirly Thu 11-Feb-16 16:17:57

She won't make any friends by complaining to the teacher about other children and parents. I think your DD is really sensible and I'm not surprised she feels upset and puzzled.

I think if this other mum prefers to be underhand in her complaining perhaps she doesn't deserve to be chatted to. She sounds incredibly insecure and maybe manipulating people is the only way she knows of getting people to do what she wants. Her DD may already be like this herself which is why the girls fall out lots. It's a pity for her DD but there it is. I bet the teacher is already fed up of dealing with the mum.

MrBean Thu 11-Feb-16 16:26:13

I too feel a little sorry for the other mum. Maybe she has social and communication issues (Asd) or maybe she's just shy and doesn't know how to interact properly. Some mums at school can blow hot and cold, nice one minute lien they're your best friend and then the next time you see them they blank you. I'm so glad I don't get involved with playground politics, I have two "mum friends" from school and they are such lovely people, not judgey, or nasty, the rest are though hence why I give them a wide berth.

Campaspe Thu 11-Feb-16 16:34:20

Thanks for your thoughts.

To answer a question above, I think my DD is puzzled as apparently the teacher has told her that this other mum has been in to discuss the friendship issues. I don't think she's told DD more than this.

I definitely agree I'm giving it too much head space, and I will try to disregard it a little more. I think I'm just trying to understand why I feel this mix of responsibility & guilt. I also feel resentful that she appears to blame my DD for the friendship stuff, but doesn't come out and say so directly.

I'm definitely over thinking this! I really dislike her, and think she's snide, but I also feel sorry for her. Aargh!

girlywhirly Thu 11-Feb-16 16:35:17

Flogging molly, it's possible that the other mum's DD is telling the OP'S DD when her mum goes into school. The odd spiteful remark that she's going to tell the teacher on her for not being friends or something.

Toomanytrousers Thu 11-Feb-16 16:35:51

I too feel sorry for the other mum. How gracious of you to be nice to her, even though she isn't the life and soul of the party.

I also don't think she has done anything wrong about the friendship issue. Maybe her child is very upset about it. She tried to talk to you about it first but you said you didn't want to get involved. If something had gone on and her DD was upset about it, you wouldn't deal with it, I don't think there is anything wrong with her having gone into school to talk to the teacher about it. I don't think it was underhand at all- she even tried to talk to you about it first. Why was the school telling you she'd been in? Did they raise it as an issue with you about your dd's behaviour?

Campaspe Thu 11-Feb-16 16:56:29

Too many - teacher told me other parent had been in. Teacher said she wanted to talk to all the girls in the class together about how to resolve arguments, deal with conflict etc. I'm happy with this. I don't doubt her child is unhappy at times; mine is too, but as there is no bullying going on, I feel they are best left to resolve the issue, and adults get involved only if there is evidence of something more prolonged or serious.

Meeep Thu 11-Feb-16 17:05:29

Her DD must not be coping as well as yours is with the typical friendship issues, I assume.
A chat with all the girls in the class won't do any harm.
I don't understand why you feel this is a bad thing. You prefer to stay out of it all. That's fine. She thinks her DD needs a bit more help, that's fine too surely?

Niloufes Thu 11-Feb-16 17:07:42

You don't have to be friends with this mum just because your DD is friends with her daughter. However if the DDs have issues from time to time then you need to be receptive to talk it though with the mum if necessary. Bit weird ignoring her at the playground though. You can be civil but not pally etc. I hate all the cliquey stuff.

ghostspirit Thu 11-Feb-16 17:07:54

i might have missed it. but i dont understand why the school contacted the op about the mum going into the school.. at our school it would be confidenual. i had a simlar thing some time back im friends with the mum but my son was having some problems with her child. left it for a while then i spoke to the teacher. it was sorted out in school and to this day the mum does not know that i spoke to the school.

tinofbiscuits Thu 11-Feb-16 17:13:08

I feel sorry for the other mum too. It can't be easy for her if she feels awkward and finds it hard to socialise.

What's wrong with going to see the teacher? Presumably she's just hoping the issues will be sorted out. If the teacher isn't aware they can't help.

witsender Thu 11-Feb-16 17:14:47

If she feels there is something amiss then she is well within her rights to want to talk to the school. She may well be hearing something different from her child, and given that she tried to talk to you about it and you declined to discuss it she is obviously worried enough to warrant trips into school. Everyone manages parenting differently...there is no right or wrong approach to what is happening here.

Don't feel bad about not including her, as long as you aren't actively excluding her. As much as she can't be sure what is happening with the kids, nor can you.

SirVixofVixHall Thu 11-Feb-16 17:15:23

I agree with Meeep

LordTrash Thu 11-Feb-16 17:23:51

I don't really understand what the other mum has done wrong?

I thought you might be posting about me for a moment, as I am similarly awkward and unpopular at the school gates (ASD) and dd2 has had friendship issues, which I've discussed with the teacher - but she's a year older so I guess it's not me!

Why wouldn't someone approach the teacher if they thought there were problems within their dc friendship group? I presume her dd has mentioned it to yours, though, which isn't ideal - but isn't necessarily the mother's fault.

Is the other mum pressing you for one-to-one social interaction? You haven't really said what she's doing that you might find upsetting.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 11-Feb-16 17:34:06

I feel sorry for the other mum too. Whatever is going on is clearly bothering her daughter and she is trying to sort it out (why the hell shouldn't she be going into the school?).

The only thing I can see from your posts is that you have been gossiping about her with other mums and you have ignored her attempts to try to X love with issue she perceives there to be.

What are you looking for from this thread? Permission not to talk to her at the school gate? Because you can make that decision yourself. Fwiw I would be polite to someone at the school gate and I would make an effort if I saw someone I knew standing alone because it would cost nothing and might make a difference to them.

sleeponeday Thu 11-Feb-16 17:34:22

I think you're doing everything right, but the fact is, if the mum has concerns about her child she is doing the right thing in raising them with the school, too.

I also suspect your child's being upset and puzzled is from the other girl telling her that her mum is going in to school.

It is hard if your child plays with her sometimes but won't when more exciting friends come along, though. That's going to burn and I can see why her mother is upset for her, though it isn't bullying, either.

Are you sure the girl has no SEN? I regularly visit DS' school and it has absolutely nothing to do with the other kids, but the parents might think otherwise for all I know. (I know on one occasion it was related to your DD, but there's no evidence the other times have been, is there?)

I feel sad for mother and child tbh. Sounds a little as though her child is repeating the social situations you describe with the mother. But this mother may find it hard if her child is repeating her own childhood experiences, or even adult experiences, and not know how to help her because she hasn't enough distance on the problem.

None of that is any of your problem, of course.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 11-Feb-16 17:35:53

Sigh. "X love with" is supposed to be "resolve whatever"

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