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School mums

(31 Posts)
alienmama Wed 06-Jul-16 19:09:40

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to express how difficult I find socialising with other school mums. My kids have been in their current school for 3 years now, and although I do know and chat to many more people than I did first, I still feel like a complete alien.

I am usually ok with it as I only drop off and pick up the kids, but events like sports day are only reminder of how inadequate I feel in such situations. I look at them all and they seem to get on so well, chatting away and giggling, and I end up thinking the problem lies with me. Recently I picked my kid up from his friend's house, and his friend's mum had a couple of friends over, so I sat down with them and chatted over a glass of wine. They all said they felt the same about socialising at the school gate. They all found it painful.

Sometimes I wonder if it is to do with the fact that I am not British, I have a different culture, but still I have been in the UK for over 12 years. I do feel isolated, but equally, I'm not keen on small talk, never have been.

I'd really like to hear about other mums' experiences, and hopefully feel less of a weirdo !

Funko Wed 06-Jul-16 19:16:52

Nope. I'm British. I'm also a full time working mum. On the rarest of occasions I actually get to take my son to and from school I find literally everyone bitchy and clicky and have done since reception class. My ds is in year 5 now. I long long gave up making an effort!

Funko Wed 06-Jul-16 19:18:47

It's funny but the same ones are nice as pie to my face if I see them at cubs etc when THEY aren't with their school gate covens 😂

knaffedoff Wed 06-Jul-16 19:23:28

Hi mama,

Sorry you are finding the school gates difficult, I doubt it is because you are from a different culture. I am English, I have always enjoyed the friendships made at the school gates, (ds is y2) but I am realising that these friendships are not very deep, I don't always share the same values and ultimately I find other friendships more rewarding. I hope you will see that we are not so different flowers

SisterMoonshine Wed 06-Jul-16 19:28:22

Small talk is how I've built my relationships with other mums
Then some people you click with more.

AlienMama Wed 06-Jul-16 19:30:03


You are right, it is the fact that the friendships / conversations aren't deep that I may struggle with. It reminds me of being at school myself, all those gangs of girls giggling together, and me on the periphery.

Sometimes I think I should just give up looking for meaningful friendships and just carry on being polite and friendly, but not involved.

AlienMama Wed 06-Jul-16 19:32:43

I can do small talk, I just always end up feeling unsatisfied and therefore "it must be me" is the thought that comes to mind.

I just struggle to find like minded people I guess. But then there is nothing wrong with those mums either.

BrandNewAndImproved Wed 06-Jul-16 19:41:07

No its not you.

Quite a lot of it is that they were friends before their dc started school or they're neighbours or they went to the same toddler groups. I only speak to a couple of the school run mums because our dc are friends and have been round to my house and vice versa for play dates.

You could join the pta if you really want to make friends there. Or do what I do and pick up and drop off on the bell. If you don't like small talk then you won't have anyone to small talk whilst you wait for your dc to small talk with.

crazyhead Wed 06-Jul-16 20:49:21

I have that light chatter style and talk to all the mums - it doesn't mean a lot though - I work all the time and hardly know anyone from Adam. However, I daresay I look like I'm in a clique!

I do think that when you've got half an eye on your kid, you are just a bit hectic and socially all over the shop. I don't think you should judge these occasions really. You've no reason to know whether people are 'like minded' or not!

I think you should just smile but then seek out situations where you get to know people (including mums if you like) one to one.

AlienMama Wed 06-Jul-16 20:56:40

Maybe this is it, maybe I expect deep meaningful contact and the school gate is not where you find this.

I am friendly, I smile to everyone and I respond to small talk. I don't stand in a corner judging everyone. If anything, I judge myself more than I would judge others.

It is not a big deal, I was just curious as to how others coped with such situations. And for the mums who seem to find it easy, I wanted to know how they did it.

Thisisnow16 Wed 06-Jul-16 20:56:55

Yes I'm full English and find it grin

It's due to the fact that I've moved around a bit and most of the local mums actually went to the kids schools themselves so they literally know everyone, who's nice who's not and so on.

AlienMama Wed 06-Jul-16 21:00:13

Same here. I'm "new" and I feel different... But I was the same in the previous school... And I was the same as a teenager in my own school. So it is not about the other mums. It's about my struggle to easily break into social circles.

PTA meetings are my idea of hell by the way confused

MummyBex1985 Wed 06-Jul-16 21:25:59

Meh I'm from the U.K. and frankly most of the school mums drive me insane with their inane chatter and mindless drivel. It's cliquey and it's bitchy and frankly I'm too busy to engage with that kind of crap lol!

I do get on with a handful of school mums but ironically they're the ones never at the school gate. But we are quite similar so would probably be friends, school or not.

I'm sorry you're struggling with it though. It took me many years to get the "give a shit" attitude I've got now. Ten years ago I would have found it difficult!

lukeymom Wed 06-Jul-16 21:38:55

My son's in year 2 almost year 3. I am English and find it hard to chit chat to anyone at school. When my son first started I was positive about everything. I would smile at a few other moms and they'd smile back. I'd sometimes say hello. But after a while I'd find they'd get cliquey and walking together most days sometimes standing at the gates.There were two moms I tried to befriend they were moms of my son's friends.But one would often walk with someone else,though we'd sometimes speak a few words if she was on her own.The other one rarely spoke to anyone and would just walk into school and out again.
By the time my son was in year 1 the both moms left. First the one,I spoke to her beforehand and she said she was moving miles away.My son was sad losing his school friend. Then months later the other one was leaving. I spoke to her and she said she was moving miles away too. I said I was disappointed for my son.She said he can always go and play with her son if she comes back to visit her mom we could meet up.I agreed and gave her my number.She never did phone me.So it took a while to get over the fact my son lost his school friends.He had to make some more but still talks about them.
He's been at school 3 years now and I just wish I had a friend I could chat to.No one smiles anymore,I feel I have given up.I don't really look forward to the school run each day and pick up. One thing I notice is that those who spend time chatting are ones who haven't got jobs to go to or those who walk the same way home. I drive to and from school so don't get a chance to make small talk with anyone. I notice alot of men pick up their kids too so not sure I want to befriend a I wish there was an online network for my school. To get to chat online first.

Mintychoc1 Wed 06-Jul-16 22:48:09

OP you say you're not keen on small talk - could this be the problem? Not many people actually enjoy small talk, but it's a way of getting to know people and find out if you can be better friends.

I always talk to new people who join the school, and of course it starts as small talk. If someone doesn't really respond enthusiastically after a few attempts then to be honest I don't trouble them again.

Claraoswald36 Wed 06-Jul-16 23:00:59

Wading in to say I struggle too. I'm worrying now I don't make enough effort and that dd1 isn't having enough play dates because of it. I'm British and I find it all very insular too

BabyGanoush Thu 07-Jul-16 07:06:03

I have been at three different primary schools with my DC, (we move too much!) and am foreign, yet have allways been able to "do" the playground thing.

I have even made some new friends

However, with my youngest DS in yr6 I am nowcounting the days to leave the playground days behind me grin

So much inane chat...

I always see playground parents as "colleagues" rather than friends though, and try to build a few working relationships. Not expecting friendship, but to simply get on in a cordial manner (like colleagues).

This pragmatic approach helped me.

Was never intimidated by cliques, fair enough that some people know eachother better and are friends, that does not mean they don't like me. Or if they don't like me: so what...

It's not you, OP, it is the situation.

Having realistic expectations helps. I don't expect tomakefriends at work or the playground, but if I do it is a bonus. But not expected, or necessary.

AlienMama Thu 07-Jul-16 07:34:14

That's a great way to look at it. Thank you BabyGanoush.

I certainly have cordial relationships with the majority of them. I just don't belong to a clique. But then I've never belonged to any clique, maybe that's just the way it is for me and does not mean I have problems with socialising, just that I do it slightly differently.

Thank you all, your replies help me think clearly.

LesisMiserable Thu 07-Jul-16 16:16:19

I think school mum cliques are something of a myth in the minds of people (including me, in the past) who feel a bit like they don't want to be part of cliques but are nonetheless affronted by their existence - kind of a reverse snobbery. I have a couple of mums I'd talk to at events etc but for the most part that's it. We are coincidental associates, nothing more. I wouldn't sweat it. Unless you actively want to make friends there in which case dive into any and all school activities and form your own 'clique', if you can be arsed grin

AlienMama Thu 07-Jul-16 16:58:07

After giving it a lot of thoughts, and talking to real friends and from the replies on here, I think I would not chose to be part of those cliques if we weren't brought together by children. I'm going to stick to seeing them as acquaintances and focus on making real friends in other social circles which I feel more comfortable with. Thank you all !

SpaceUnicorn Thu 07-Jul-16 19:28:35

I don't understand the 'clique' paranoia at all: why assume that they're an elite squad of uber mums with an agenda of making other people feel bad? Surely they're just people who know each other better/for longer, live near each other, socialise together. etc? They presumably hate small talk in the same way that 99% of normal people do, so they find it easier to talk to people they know better.

I'm not part of any specific school 'group'. Some days people chat with me, some days they don't. I never assume that this is because of anything I've done or not done.

Mostly people are preoccupied with themselves and their own life and that influences their behaviour. It's rarely a personal vendetta.

AlienMama Fri 08-Jul-16 00:23:06

SpaceUnicorn: there's no paranoia, no assumption that they are uber mums on a mission to do anything.... I've repeated many times there was nothing wrong with these women. I was more curious about how others who didn't quite fit in coped with it.

lukeymom Sun 24-Jul-16 09:35:06

I replied earlier but wanted to add something else.I've seen a few moms at my son's school who the majority of the time don't talk to anyone,just walk in and out again. Then on occasions I have seen the same mom's chatting to someone like they are good friends. When we broke up for the summer I saw one of the moms chatting by another mom's car ( a mom who is usually in a clique) and they gave eachother a big hug and said goodbye and they'll see eachother after the holidays. It just baffles me really. People never even make eye contact with me anymore. Sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable that I haven't got no one to chat to.

ThePinkOcelot Sun 24-Jul-16 10:12:51

My dds are now both in secondary school and I have never ever socialised with school mums. The odd hi, how are you etc but no more. In fact I used to wait in the car until the bell went, pick up dds and away. I hated the school run.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 24-Jul-16 10:17:25

depends on the school.

the school nursery, I did not fit with the other parents. they just had a different mix.

primary school and there are a few people I click with . there are friendship groups, but generally there is someone to be friendly with.

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