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school gates...what's your view?

(33 Posts)
targaryen Wed 30-Dec-15 12:12:28

When my first child was at primary school I worked full time and so didn't do all drop offs and pick ups. I worked shifts so could manage a couple every week.
I liked when I could drop her off and pick her up and enjoyed having that time with her.
My son is in primary two and following mat leave of child no 3 I gave up work meaning I do all drop offs and pick ups.
I find it quite hard. It's really cliquey and there's a whole group of girls mums who congregate round the gates so you've got to walk through them all....I don't understand why they have to stand in such a big group at the front ?

I spoke to my husband and he said I need to toughen up a bit, and it's not about me but about my ds.
My ds is a very very active outgoing child and is really happy where he is.

How do other people feel about the school gates? Sure I can't be the only one who finds it all a bit of a minefield !

catkind Wed 30-Dec-15 12:47:08

I wouldn't say it is a minefield, but nor am I particularly bothered if I don't talk to people. All you need to do is be there, pick up child, leave. What's to be tough about? Do you find crowds difficult generally or anything? I'm generally the most rubbish person in big groups, but school pickup is okay, I don't feel like I'm expected to socialise anyway.

Over time you will have things to discuss - play dates, parties, teacher presents - so you'll prob get chatting to people more. Give the ones around the gate a smile and an excuse me. Maybe they'll be the ones you get to know!

targaryen Wed 30-Dec-15 13:15:20

I wish taking my ds to school and picking him up was as easy as you describe!
He likes to be there 10 mins early so he can have his bag at the front of the line and have a play with his friends. He is literally bouncing round the house from 6am so it's better to just get him to school and let him burn off energy but it's 10 mins of small talk for me, I don't do small talk well and end up babbling on a lot of rubbish.
At the end of the day he likes to play as a lot of his friends wait for older siblings to come out so he likes to play and he has so much energy that it's better to let him run a round with friends....cue the inane small chat that I don't do well.

It's actually easier if I let the toddler run about as I just run about after her and can avoid the awkward chat.
I don't really like crowds and generally avoid things with too many people.
I just find all the different groups and cliques awkward and never really very sure of where I'm meant to be.
If I didn't have my toddler I'd probably just put my I pod on and tune everyone out.

SisterViktorine Wed 30-Dec-15 15:24:09

I often don't chat at pick-up, even to the people I like! It's a mutual thing- obviously I would join in if they chatted to me but often it's clear people would rather just stand and wait quietly so we stand in companionable silence. I don't think you should feel that you have to chat if you don't want to.

BackforGood Wed 30-Dec-15 15:34:23

Well, just stand in your own space if you can't cope with the thought of passing the time of day in a friendly manner with someone - but it seems an odd way to go through life to me.
It doesn't have to be an issue though - there's no compulsion to talk to anyone.

SirChenjin Wed 30-Dec-15 15:38:08

I don't often do the pick up as I work, but when I do I often feel as if I stick out like a sore thumb - billy no mates kind of thing, which is ridiculous really, as I do have friends, I just don't know the mums to talk to! I find saying hello to the people round about me and then catching up with my texting takes care of that awkward time when I'm standing waiting for DS.

targaryen Wed 30-Dec-15 16:26:38

I am generally quite a chatty and friendly person it's just the 10x a week drop off and pick ups that I find awkward.
It is probably more about my weirdness than anything else.
It all just feels false.
I always feel like I need to talk to the person next to me when really I don't confused

targaryen Wed 30-Dec-15 16:28:00

I have many more year ahead of me so I really need to sort my shit out and deal with it.
Part of me feels like going back to work full time just to avoid the school gates !

tribpot Wed 30-Dec-15 16:32:36

I'd go mad if I had to do ten minutes of small talk every morning in the playground. Bugger that for a game of soldiers. We arrive less than 30 seconds before the bell rings, but if your ds insists on being early, I would just take yourself off and watch him play.

I find it very odd this clique hang around at the gates, fortunately our school has multiple entrances so there is no one place where everyone hangs out, but aren't they in the way of everyone trying to get past with pushchairs and/or wheelchairs at rush hour? Bloody inconsiderate. I'd be tempted to ask for them to be moved on but this will no doubt be the start of open warfare.

Put your headphones in and just ignore. I check emails when I'm not actually taking a work call in the playground (has happened a number of times). I get on fine with all the other parents in the year group, and will chat to the parents of ds' particular friends if they're there, but am quite happy doing my own thing and ignoring everyone.

Catnuzzle Wed 30-Dec-15 16:36:02

I also REALLY struggle with the enforced social interaction, so I understand what you mean. I find having my phone out and either checking emails or mumsnetting prevents unwanted contact. A smile, nod and then standing away from my usual 'spot' also discourages conversation.

mercifulTehlu Wed 30-Dec-15 18:12:45

I've never understood the school gates angst tbh. I turn up, drop off or pick up my dc, sometimes chat briefly to a few people, sometimes don't. There are some groups of mums who are clearly good friends with each other and have maybe known each other a long time. I don't think that makes them cliquey.

myotherusernameisbetter Wed 30-Dec-15 18:16:45

Can you not find another person who looks fairly quiet and strike up a friendship? that way you'd only have the one person to deal with and you could have your own small group meaning you don't have to chat with anyone else?

Or train DS to take himself to and from school.

Or homeschool...

myotherusernameisbetter Wed 30-Dec-15 18:18:06

or alternatively have your son be bullied by one of the cliques kids - they soon wont want to be anywhere near you.

BertPuttocks Wed 30-Dec-15 18:32:14

At ours the only groups are the parents who hang around together are the ones who know each other elsewhere. Some are neighbours, and some are people who went to the same schools when they were growing up.

The rest of us just pick up and go.

M48294Y Wed 30-Dec-15 18:36:30

I just don't understand why dropping off and collecting children from school is a problem, unless you have a serious social phobia or suffer from anxiety - in which case you would need to seek help from your gp and of course you (collective you) have every sympathy from me.

Otherwise ... why all the drama? I will never understand it!

catkind Wed 30-Dec-15 19:24:43

Perhaps if you could reprogram yourself that you don't have to talk, things might flow more naturally?

targaryen Wed 30-Dec-15 19:25:25

I don't understand it either.
I'm normally a telly confident, chatty person and not shy.
My Job before I became Sahm was all about communication and talking to families but there's something about school drop off and pick up that stresses me out.
It's definitely something about me.
Maybe I need to be working.

targaryen Wed 30-Dec-15 19:27:13

Catkind I think that's it!!
I feel I have to talk to everyone I pass or stand beside but it's forced small talk and it stresses me out!
I need to get coping things.
If I don't talk I feel like I'm purposefully ignoring people which makes me feel awkward !

gandalf456 Wed 30-Dec-15 19:35:28

I was like you for years and finally put it to bed in the last year or so. I decided it wasn't the right environment in which to make friends and I don't like big groups where everyone is the same.

My daughter's at secondary school now but I have a son at infant school. I did try to make more of an effort with her friends' mums but nothing meaningful came out of it and I never see them now.

I will pass myself and be friendly but have zero expectations of most people

Mandzi34 Thu 31-Dec-15 06:29:38

I can't say it bothers me too much. I have my couple of friends who I enjoy talking to, the rest I don't bother with.

Helloall1 Fri 01-Jan-16 21:15:50

Hi Op

I understand what you mean, I feel the same. DH does most school drop and collects due to work and I feel awful I can't do more. But when I do get chance, I love it but I feel completely awkward surrounded my groups I don't know! People have their groups and no one really seems willing to engage...I have tried. I'm fine with that, but still have such an awkward feeling.

Don't let it ruin your special time, concentrate on your child and try not to worry about what other parents are doing. I'll try to take my own advice too wink

Dungandbother Sat 02-Jan-16 10:36:32

There are cliques but they are just mums who always talk to the same mums day in and day out.
And stand in exactly the same spot. They aren't threatening in any way. They just have a momentum of conversation flowing which gives off a sort of vibe as they all mimic body language and laugh at the same time.
If they were by the gate, I'd say to them cheerfully Hey move over you lot.
Or run their toes over with the buggy grin

I talk to lots of people, but only to say Hi, nod, smile.
And I move about a bit. Within a periphery of DC expecting me to be.

If a parent of one of DC friends were to appear, I would make eye contact, wander over, check in.

Sometimes I just stand there hands in pockets miles away.

Just keep a smiley sort of face and stay put in roughly the same spot. You really don't need to do anything else.

Cressandra Mon 04-Jan-16 13:08:20

I think it maybe looms larger if you're at home. I whizz up, usually late, from work, scoop up child and hurriedly exchange smiles and an "alright?" with anyone I know on the way. It's not really a "thing", it's a moment in my day. Whereas if you have a lot more time without adults to talk to (or are more outgoing than me) it becomes a bigger thing. And that applies to the cliquey mums too - maybe they are enjoying the social highlight of a day spent otherwise talking about Paw Patrol, and they're more interested in chatting to their friends than exchanging pleasantries with acquaintances.

ShowStopper Mon 04-Jan-16 20:09:14

Op, I know exactly what you mean. I think in Ds old school, which was small and only had one entrance, where, like yours, the mum's congregated, it did feel awkward at times. I think my anxiety added to this awkwardness. Inward anxiety, on the outside I'd be all smiles, head held high, saying hello to people etc it just never felt reciprocated from groups of other mums. I found even if on the rare occasion I was standing talking to a group of people, I'd still have time to say hello to a familiar face walking by, or someone standing on their own.

At Ds new school it's a totally different atmosphere. Lots of busy people, lots of entrances, no congregating, no catching school gossip as you walk by. It's a totally different atmosphere and my anxiety hasn't really been an issue. I can stand by myself, quite comfortably never speaking to a soul, or I can strike up conversation with other Mum's or Grandparents, during the brief time I'm there. I don't do many pick ups though and I drop off quickly. I don't think I could stand waiting around for 10 minutes every morning.

Eva50 Mon 04-Jan-16 23:16:20

Can't you drop and run?

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