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can't believe how cliquey school parents are! are their lives really that dull?

(132 Posts)
mammablueeyes Wed 10-Jun-09 21:27:47

my dd is only in reception and I must say i was quite looking forward to her starting school and meeting the parents and her making some nice friends but I have found myself withdrawing more and more since september because they are in little groups and its all so uncomfortable and silly I just cant be arsed, is this norm?

Ronaldinhio Wed 10-Jun-09 21:32:00

Perhaps they know each other from mother's groups or nursery/nct/swimming anything

I doubt their lives are any duller than yours

mammablueeyes Wed 10-Jun-09 21:38:18


zanzibarmum Wed 10-Jun-09 21:38:35

Yes this is the norm... The bad news is that it gets worse... The good news that you care less and less as time goes on.

There are IME a number of types to watch out for. First, the ex career high flyer: this is the mum who used to work and now who puts all her energy into the PTA. Every inconseqential decision is fought over. Her reputation is always on the line and she must be right.

Another type is the mother who delves into your child's book bag when they come to play. This is the mum who is forever comparing her child to yours - you know they peek at your child's work because it slips out in conversation.

Or what about the mums who hang around the schoolgate long after the bell has gone. These mums then go for coffee and only realise it is 11am before they stop the gossip...

What other types have people spotted

stillenacht Wed 10-Jun-09 21:40:14

mammablueeyes - i hear ya! many of them do lead very dull lives.

Hey SAHMs - once ya kids are at school go and get a job!

<<runs off cackling - am in that sort of mood>> grin

mammablueeyes Wed 10-Jun-09 21:47:04

well I have spotted all of the above types, espcially those PTA ones, I went to a couple of PTA ,meetings when she first started but they were so ignorant to me and another reception parent who went, both of us didnt bother going again. I am a busy mum, I am a student nurse and also work part time and I pick dd up/drop her off most days but I dont have time to chat especially in the mornings, I feel quite snubbed actually now and I just dont even bother trying anymore

mammablueeyes Wed 10-Jun-09 21:49:39

I get paranoid that my dd is a naughty child at school or something

Niftyblue Wed 10-Jun-09 21:52:50

zanibarmum has it nailed on the head

llareggub Wed 10-Jun-09 21:53:23

Maybe they mistake you not having time to chat with standoffishness? Have you tried to engage in chat?

fryalot Wed 10-Jun-09 21:54:53

A handy tip that someone told me once for when you feel a bit left out in the playground and you don't really know which group (if any) to join and are worried about people talking to you (or not)

Get there first.

It really does work (or it did for me anyway) People just sort of wander over and stand with you, sometimes they even say hello. It does take some time (months) for them to maintain eye contact with you, but it does happen eventually.

(and another "type" the teacher wannabe - the type that is always offering to be a parent helper, and writes an essay on their child's reading record. Always first to volunteer to go on school trips and looks put out when she doesn't get invited to the staff christmas party grin)

blametheparents Wed 10-Jun-09 21:55:48

Surely you are all over thinking this?

I don't particularly see cliques on our playground.

I walk up the road and drop DS off in a playground with the same people (mostly mums every day). I have a younger DD who is now at pre-school. I chat to the mums that I see in the playground and at pre-school dropping off their little ones. Sometimes I dare to chat with some mums more than others, either cos our kids are in the same class, cos we turn up at the same time, cos our kids are friends whatever, surely that does not make it cliquey??

I have made some great friends, and others are just acquaintances.
There is no underlying nastiness going on.

smartiejake Wed 10-Jun-09 21:56:26

I think it varies. With DD1 I found the group of mums quite cliquey. I only did the school runs for 2 days a week (work part time) and found I was often given the cold shoulder by all but a few- my mum who did the other days said the same thing,and she usually gets on with anyone.

With DD2 it couldn't have been more different. I was always made to feel welcome in any group I happened to stand with and even now 5 years on we still all go out together 2 or 3 times a year.

The interesting thing is that the children in DD2s class were all SOOOO much nicer than in my older dds class. Lots of lovely little girlies who were always a pleasure to have round to play.

Lots of the girls in DD1s class were nasty spiteful little things- strange that?

stillenacht Wed 10-Jun-09 22:00:01

squonk - oh yes...i know one just like that (whose son has caused my son umpteen problems but cos she is 'teacher's helper' whereas I am a real teacher - albeit in a different school - her boy gets all the attention etc etc) Grrrrrrrr.....

nickschick Wed 10-Jun-09 22:01:28

My dc have had to go to several different schools throughout their school life (due to dhs job) and heres what Id suggest - go in to the yard smile nicely grin and say 'hi' to everyone,offer to help out in school if you are able and offer to support the PT with whatever skills you have.

You will soon find a gap and fit in seamlessly - a lot of it boils down to confidence,chat to the other mums about their dcs coat or the handbag etc etc make like your interested - it will all work out ok.

SlartyBartFast Wed 10-Jun-09 22:03:48

you need to develop a thick skin.
it will get better. most parents are sticky together like glue because they are all in the same boat,
just barge in and be friendly.

<<isnt it easy to give advice>> grin

zanzibarmum Wed 10-Jun-09 22:04:04

In my DC school they had to stop mums going into read because the gossip in the playground was which child was struggling with reading...

Larkin got it the wrong way round - the kids are not tucked up by mum and dad but rather the kids tuck up otherwise sane, rational adults.

seeker Wed 10-Jun-09 22:06:12

What is the difference between a clique and a group of people who know each other?

I get SOOOOO cross with threads going on about how dull/ boring/bossy/competitive/whatever the other parents in the playground are - I've got news for you. They are just like you. There isn't another separate species called playground mothers - they are just a group of people. Some you like, some you won't. Some will be as mad as a box of frogs, some won't. Some will be rude, some won't. And it's a bit daft, if you don't mind me saying so, to not go to the PTA because you met a rude person!

And if you are withdrawing into yourself, everyone else, who finds it just as hard as you do to approach people they don't know will be thinking "Well, she's really standoffish - I'm not going to try talking to her!"

Rant over. Sorry!

stillenacht Wed 10-Jun-09 22:06:52

interesting zanzibarmum as i am sure this is why Mrs Teacher Helper does this - to spy on how crap the kids are at reading in comparison to her 'gifted' (but PITA) son.

blametheparents Wed 10-Jun-09 22:07:59

That's what I meant seeker, you just put it better than me!

mammablueeyes Wed 10-Jun-09 22:10:17

oh god the teacher wannabe is the worst! always there, involved in everything, I do smile and try and chat but have found some of them quite blatently turn away from me and other mums and are standing there bitching which I find dispicable and a bad example to the children.there are a couple that i can chat to but they feel the same

SamVimesIsMyHero Wed 10-Jun-09 22:11:26

I agree Seeker. If you know a group of people you talk to them. It's not a clique, we're not teenagers! THere are some bitchy gossips but you soon learn who they are. We have a few, I'm happy to exchange pleasantries with them but just quietly keep my distance, I'm not interested in everyone knowing my business. Otherwise there are some lovely women I have met through chatting on the playground. Really lovely, normal woman who love their children, nearly all work part time like me, we sometimes have coffee because it's nice not for bitching session, just normal people looking for ways to spend their days. <breathes>
<hugs seeker>
<worries about forming clique and lets seeker go>

seeker Wed 10-Jun-09 22:15:28

Yes some of them will be bitchy. So will some in any other group. If they are bitchy and rude enough to turn their back on you, then you don't want to talk to them anyway. Avoid them. Chat to the ones that aren't like that.

mammablueeyes Wed 10-Jun-09 22:17:53

I didnt go to the PTA again becasue myself and another reception mum went for the 2nd time and bearing in mind it was from 7pm until past 10pm so quite a chunk out of our time, nobody even acknowledged us or said hi or thanks for coming, infact some of them smile at me now in the playground that I am NOT going anymore lol. I do realise that not all groups are cliques but I also know that some are and I guess I am just not like that and the time that i do have to be at the school and play a part in my dd school life I hoped it would be more positive

zanzibarmum Wed 10-Jun-09 22:18:48

The other type is the mum with the older child who has left the school but with a younger child still in the school - or the mum who's child is in Year 5 or 6: The normal refrain is " the school is going down hill.. wasn't like this 5 years ago.. glad DS is leaving..."

Seeker there is some truth in what you say - but you miss the fundamental dynamic. All of our personalities change as soon as we cross that playground threshold - from the nice, normal person that you describe into one of the manner types that populate various parts of the playground.

seeker Wed 10-Jun-09 22:22:44

<seeker forms clique with Sam - then realizes when she gets home that she has turned her back on mammablueeyes, who she has always suspects doesn't like her. Worries all evening,irritating her dp who only understands BlokeSpace relationships, then decides to be really brave and go up and invite mammablueeyes for coffee even though she has been looking a bit aloof lately. Braces herself as she goes in through school gates, then realizes that it's polling day and she's the only parent in the playground.>

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