This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Advice needed - love DDs school, dislike all the parents(28 Posts)
I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for posting this but I really dislike the large majority of the parents at my DD school, she's only been there for one year and it's now getting towards the end of reception year.
I feel like I've made a big effort across the year, PTA meetings, helped at Xmas fair, mums night out, but I still feel like I stick out like a sore thumb and just really don't fit in. I'm kind of gutted because I wanted so much to be a part of my DDs school life. I know it might not be everyone's cup of tea and I often read posts on here with people saying that it's best to take a step back from the playground mom stuff but I actually did want to join in with the Christmas fairs, summer fairs etc since we made the decision for me to take a break from work, so I do have the time to help out with these things. I've gone to PTA meetings and had all my ideas sniffed at, just got the "we've done that before it didn't work" type responses.
Basically would you just say give up as I am fighting a losing battle?? Feeling fed up, any advice appreciated.
Meh..I drop and run and collect and run. No interest at all. I help out at events so do my bit but I didn’t see school as a way to make friends. The only thing I have in common is that we had a child about the same time. Not the basis for a lasting friendship in my opinion.
I don't want to be friends with them, I've got friends. Id like things to be friendly and civil but I'm not after best friends. I wanted to get involved with events etc at my DDs school for the benefit of her and my younger DC that's all. But feeling like it's being made really difficult by the fact that most of the other parents aren't very nice 😕
This is your issue. Not everyone else’s. This is a lack of confidence on your part. I know. I struggle with this too.
Are you able to volunteer at school rather than focusing on the pta?
Or school is always after parents to read one to one with children, and get involved in art projects etc?
Oh god, I did all this - offered children lifts back from matches (never reciprocated!), acted as class rep, organised the class stall at the Christmas Fair, organised teachers' presents, volunteered to accompany trips, sat on committees at school, organised nights out and religiously attended nights out and coffee mornings.....I never worked out what I did wrong but the other mothers loathed me, and I wasn't overly fond of them. One charming specimen even accused me of stealing the money for the teacher's present one year. Eventually I gave up. I did find a couple of mothers I got on with, but that was it. I have now found some mother friends through dog walking! I asked a few people if they'd be interested in a dog walk after drop off and set up a whatsapp group, several of the ladies dropped out pretty fast but 3 of us now walk regularly. All I can say is I feel your pain, you are not alone. It is awfully upsetting.
Yes I already volunteer one morning a week. I'm actually quite a confident person but am reaching the point where sort of feeling like giving up with it and as PP said just "drop and run"... Was looking for words of wisdom from more experienced school mums that's all
@epwell sorry to hear this but also nice to know I'm not alone, maybe my post is coming across kinda wrong e.g "the issue is with you" response, I am disappointed but starting to accept this is how things are 😕
Not sure what you want from your volunteering but what about volunteering at another local school (reading, classroom helper) might just be a different group of parents who are less of a clique ( some school communities are just like that unfortunately) Or what about away from school (charity shop, beavers/brownies, local toy library/ SEN support group, food bank, hospital) Loads of options that would welcome you and your time with open arms.
Just step back a bit, chill out. I find people like you a bit intimidating and too much. I don't mean to sound harsh but people who try to organise everything and do everything at school I find really difficult to relate to.
The other parents aren't one and the same. There will be someone you connect with but give it time. For most people friendship is a slow burn.
Oh gosh I'm in no way OTT, I've gone along to 2 of 3 PTA meetings and was all but totally ignored at both, I ran a stall at the Xmas fair and suggested 2 things that were both dismissed one "has been done before" and the other "there'd be no interest in that" I'm not pushy mother just to clarify if it's coming across that way
I think sometimes you can just be unlucky with the group of parents in a class - perhaps it will be better with your younger child. I try always to be supportive of the PTA as they are volunteers and do a pretty thankless job, but my word they can be unpleasant and difficult to deal with sometimes. The school events can be great fun, particularly as the children get older - I have been on some really fascinating school trips! As they get older too you can get involved more in after school activities, music etc which can be more rewarding. You sound lovely and ignore the catty remarks about the problem being you.
there is already a clique there then, they dont want you joining in maybe.
Having been on the pta we have tried most stuff and if it doesn't work everyone is tired and wants to go home so we cut it down .. that isn't rude , it's just how it is .. just go and keep smiling . I have to agree it seems to be your insecurities making you think too much .. I can't believe everyone isn't nice .
I think PTAs can be like this and it’s very disappointing. You are made to feel like an outsider. Lots of PTAs never do anything differently and are a clique in their own right. They say they want people to join them, but only their friends. It’s a very hard lesson to learn.
I would take a step back and make yourself useful elsewhere for a bit. Definitely help out in school but steer clear of PTA. Volunteer for school trips and offer any expertise to the school, not the PTA.
Parents change and I was more friendly with parents in different year groups. Not friends forever and I don’t see them now, but enough to be friendly in and around school. It isn’t you that’s odd. It will be the cliques that have already formed and you are too late to join them. You will find others who are more relaxed about meeting new people. Those without friends for a start! They will be feeling like you. You just need to find them.
Are these parents of children in your child’s class or parents of older children that are already established in the PTA? I have made some amazing friends from my child’s class, and helped out a lot in school, but have never really broken into the PTA proper, I just help out when there’s fairs or stuff that needs doing in my field etc.
Even the friendship/help I have given has kind of evolved over time too, your child will be at school for seven years at primary and some mean people might leave, new people will start and you might be the one (more gently) explaining ‘oh, we tried that but it didn’t quite work’.
It’s great you are so full of enthusiasm, but over the years there will honestly be loads of opportunities to help out, and to forge friendships. (DD is yr6 now and there seems to be loads of things to organise to mark their passage to secondary but most of the parents are just ‘spent’ and getting anyone to volunteer is a triumph! I could kiss them!!)
Good luck! Honestly stick with it!!
What worked for me was playdates and coffee with other DC and mums. Inviting a little friend to come and play after school with their mum gave us chance to chat and be friendly. Then you start to have a base for when you go to school events.
If you've got time to give, you could consider being a school governor instead? Should be a different bunch to PTA. Recommend a chat with Chair of Governors first.
I think with a PTA you do need to just 'help' for at least a year before offering bright ideas.
PTAs get people coming along suggesting things, but those people generally not being willing to organise the thing they've suggested, so leaving more work for the small active committee.
If they see you actively helping, doing small bits well to help, they will/should be more willing to take on suggestions, especially eg if for a new stall you say I think a craft stall would work, I could do painting stones, I'll organise it but would need a helper on the day.
And yes, PTAs do say 'tried before, didn't work' sometimes with very good reason. Again stick around for a bit, casually ask why they didn't work out of a meeting, and then see whether you can see a way round.
I think this is possibly you and not them. There won't be a single "mother" type in the school.
ran a stall at the Xmas fair and suggested 2 things that were both dismissed one "has been done before" and the other "there'd be no interest in that
Thing is that I've been in that situation. I was at the infant school for 9 years. We had a particular asset that every new batch of parents that came in suggested the same thing. We'd had it looked at thoroughly (by a parent who did that sort of thing professionally, and he'd produced a long report) and concluded it would not be worth the money by a long factor, nice though it would be on paper, it would ultimately make a huge financial loss and probably end up being a liability.
The new year R parents would produce it as a huge "I've a wonderful idea" and get very cross and upset when they were told "no". But if we had debated it every time it had come up we'd have wasted huge amounts of time at almost every meeting-yes it did come up that regularly.
My experience of the PTA is that yes, you can get it cliquey-and some people want it to be a clique. But the majority of times it isn't a clique, it's simply that the same people tend to turn up to the meetings and the same people tend to turn up and organise events. If anyone else turns up happy to help and happy to come to meetings they are welcomed.
Witchend Sound like 'lets hire the pool out to the public' forgetting the health and safety, insurance, lifeguarding, extra cleaning, in pool toilet accidents, etc.
At ours it was suggested we run a fireworks event. I looked into the insurance, and the fireworks had to be set off a minimum distance from all buildings. We were surrounded on all sides by houses and there was no point on the grounds that met the distance requirements (let alone any other issues of which there were a number). So I wrote a very clear report and the suggestion was dropped. That was ~5 years ago, but recently I heard it was raised again...
Teen that is exactly what it was. It's an outside pool and the plan always is to make it covered and hire it out to the public.
yup - ex PTA here and as we approached Y6 we had a whole batch of new Reception parents suggesting stuff that had already been investigated before.
OP they may have sounded rude to you, but they may already have spent hours of their life investigating and discussing your suggestions? All Xmas Fairs tend to be the result of several years experience.
But just because of this you're saying you dislike ALL the parents?
OP - I agree with people saying that it’s unlikely they don’t like you.
And much more likely that you are overreacting and the issue is more on your side.
The objections to your great new suggestions are based on actual expletive.
I have been on PTA and ran things. And usually - reinventing the wheel doesn’t improve anything.
If you want to be helpful in the PTA - be helpful first. Learn and observe. And then after at least a year - you’ll be part of the club and then bring in your ideas.
And the best way for you to make sure your daughter fits in and has a lot of friends is to have lots of fun play-dates. Invite kids around, do things with them - krafts? make pizzas? Games?
Make the kids to want to come back. And chat with moms.
Running a stall at the fair is a once/twice a year thing. Rest of the time matters more
There's a woman at our pta who is brimming with ideas. They are all ideas that are labour intensive and she isn't taking on doing them herself, she's suggesting them for others to do. Drives me mad.
In your position I'd crack on and help anyway and don't worry if they want to stick with tried and tested ideas. Some of these people will have been giving up their time fir ota for years and they probably pretty much do know what works and what doesnt. If they're raising a lot 9f mo ey for the school, don't knock it!