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Need some input re: another mum at school

(30 Posts)
LeighNic Fri 05-Jun-09 02:39:41

Hi. I feel like a bit of an idiot, but basically I tend to accidentally 'blank' people when I'm out sometimes. Most of the time it's because I'm in my own little world, deep in thought about something or just concentrating on what I'm doing, and I don't notice who's around me. Anyway - I was pulling into the school car park a few days ago, it was rainy, I'd had a busy/harrassed afternoon and I was looking for a carpark. Our school carpark is a nightmare at the best of times. Just as I was trying to drive into the parking space, a mum came around the corner holding a young child's hand, and I couldn't drive my car forward until she'd moved out of the way. I sat there and waited, but then her child stopped walking and started to touch the bonnet of my car so I suppose I just sat there expressionless until the mum had moved him out of the way. I don't know why I didn't look at her face as she was standing directly in front of me, but I was feeling a little stressed (pushed for time) and for some reason I didn't recognise her. Then I noticed that the mum yanked her child away from the car and walked past my window, & it was then that I realised it was someone that I'm usually quite friendly with and our sons have played together on and off. I felt really bad that I'd stared straight at her and thought I would try & catch up with her once I'd parked the car, but couldn't find her after that.

It played on my mind a bit that afternoon because she'd looked cranky when she walked past, so I sent her an email that night and apologised that I hadn't realised it was her. I told her that sometimes I just don't notice people due to being pre-occupied etc, & then I added a few chatty lines about school and our boys. It was a definite apology but I tried to keep it lighthearted at the sime time, as I didn't want to make more of an issue out of the whole thing. Anyway - a few days went by, and no response. I started to think that perhaps she didn't receive the email, and then I saw her at school again this morning. I was standing there with dh and she just walked straight past me, so once dh had left I went and found her to try & talk to her. She was a bit strange toward me and she also said she'd gotten my email, so it looks as though she just chose not to respond. After about a minute she said a an abrupt 'goodbye' and left. I feel really stupid now to be quite honest, and cranky with myself for being so unobservant. I also know I was feeling a bit irritated at the time (in the carpark) and unfortunately it might've been a bit obvious to her. Perhaps I shouldn't have emailed her about it but I was worried that I'd offended her, so thought it was the best thing to do.

Now it seems I am left with this uncomfortable situation. What do you think - did I do the right thing in trying to address it with her, and has anyone else ever been in the same boat?! I'm feeling a bit upset and starting to wonder how many people I've offended in the past through not noticing them. I remember my neighbour getting quite offended years ago because I'd not even seen her in the supermarket when she'd said hello to me.

jabberwocky Fri 05-Jun-09 02:58:03

I have also gotten myself in embarrassing situations from doing this! I think you did the right thing by explaining and imo she's being a bit childish if she continues to make a big deal about it.

warthog Fri 05-Jun-09 06:38:02

well you've tried to make amends and she is being very ungracious.

i also think you need to consciously work on this problem. it might not be the first time you've blanked her which is why she's being so off.

i find it upsetting if someone blanks me, for whatever reason.

LeighNic Fri 05-Jun-09 07:11:24

I'm sure I've never blanked her before warthog. We have always been very friendly to each other and I had a good chat with her just last weekend... no hint of any problems with her at all before this happened.

I suppose I can work on it to some extent, but if my personality is a bit that way inclined (becoming easily engrossed in something), it's a little hard to be completely "on the ball" every time I go out! The only thing I can do is be more aware of it I suppose. I've always made a conscious effort to smile and be friendly to just about every person I come across.

If it happened to me and the person apologised for blanking me, I would definitely accept their apology and be friendly to them - particularly as they'd gone to the trouble of apologising and explaining why it happened. So I'm really not sure why she is still being frosty... I've been nothing but pleasant to her in the past.

warthog Fri 05-Jun-09 07:30:49

erm... but you were at the wheel of your car, her child was touching your bonnet, you were staring at said child... what exactly were you engrossed in? you could have wound down your window at the time rather than tried to find her later. i'm not surprised she's upset. i know we're not all perfect, and you have apologized (good), but i think this situation was badly handled.

having said that i think she's taking it a bit too far. are you absolutely sure this hasn't happened before? camel / straw / back? how would you know that it hasn't?

depends on if she's a good friend and you want to stay friends, but i'd ask her what's going on.

warthog Fri 05-Jun-09 07:31:38

'depending on whether' - what bad english! clearly i'm not perfect either smile

spicemonster Fri 05-Jun-09 07:57:39

Some people aren't as good at the social niceties as others but it doesn't necessarily mean they're rude. It's not deliberate. I think you did the right thing by emailing her and it's a shame she's not been grown up enough to accept your apology in the spirit it was given. Hopefully she'll calm down in time.

LeighNic Fri 05-Jun-09 07:58:21

Well, I was definitely pre-occupied with a few things when I saw her, which is why I must've looked straight through her. I'd had a stressful day, having some pretty major issues with tradespeople and renovations that we're having done at home, and was running late to pick up my son in the rain. Also having a few issues with dh so I'm positive a lot of these things were running through my head at the time - so I saw her but I didn't 'see' her, if you know what I mean.

By the time I realised it was her, she'd already strode past the window (quickly) and my car was facing the other way. I suppose I was a bit shocked that I hadn't recognised her and didn't think quickly enough about how to handle it.

I've had some major stresses in my life recently and this might not be helping. I realise she was probably annoyed, but I did try to apologise... seem to be getting the cold shoulder from her now unfortunately.

LobstersLass Fri 05-Jun-09 08:18:42

I think you've made the best of a bad situation. She is being petty by maintaining a grudge after you've apologised.

Blimey, all you've done is not said hello to her once. It shouldn't be a big deal.
Don't worry yourself about it.

MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 08:23:20

I tend not to see people until they are standing right in front of me. It can cause awkwardness sometimes, but I swear, I am in my own little world a lot of the time and I just don't see people across the street or whatever.

You have apologised. If she is being weird about it, it's her problem. I would continue to say hello and be friendly, and if she chooses to blank you, she is a childish hypocrite.

LeighNic Fri 05-Jun-09 08:32:02

I'm wondering if she thinks I'm being a bit strange by emailing her about it!! I just didn't know how else to get in touch with her as I've lost her mobile phone number and she's also moved house over the last few months. I don't always see her at school, so I thought I'd better tackle it as soon as I could.

Perhaps she didn't think it warranted an email from me? Who knows how other people minds work... maybe that's made her a bit funny too. And perhaps now I'm trying to analyse the situation too much..

LeighNic Fri 05-Jun-09 08:34:36

I must be like you MrsMattie. I see people if I'm specifically looking for someone, but otherwise I often don't notice them until the last minute... it can definitely be awkward occasionally can't it.

Tortington Fri 05-Jun-09 08:40:51

i do this a lot.

yu have apologised twice - she neds to get over herself - and you need to stop worrying fgs. what does the silly bint want? blood!?

Uriel Fri 05-Jun-09 08:42:14

I think you've done all you can and now she's being weird. Try not to let it get to you.

I blanked my across the road neighbour in the library - just didn't see him, he was on the other side of the library. He hasn't spoken to me since.

warthog Fri 05-Jun-09 09:33:59

ah well, why didn't you say house renovations??? that's enough to send anyone into a zombie state smile

i'd just carry on being friendly, as you always are. if she chooses to get all wierd - her problem.

ActingNormal Fri 05-Jun-09 09:36:26

This is the sort of thing I would do too! Then I think "What the hell is wrong with me, that must have looked really rude". It is exactly why you say, because I feel so preoccupied. I would also worry about it for ages after and it is a horrible unsettled feeling isn't it! You've done what you can though and there isn't much more you can do without hounding her.

RubberDuck Fri 05-Jun-09 09:40:29

I do this a lot too, so you're not alone The vast majority of people when I've apologised and explained that I'm 99% of the time in a world of my own are perfectly fine about it.

I'd let it go tbh, I know it's hurtful but I've learned not to stress out too much about school playground relationships - when they're good enjoy them, when they're not stand in the corner and daydream while waiting for your kid to come out Win-win!

brimfull Fri 05-Jun-09 09:40:30

are you safe to drive when you are so "engrossed" as you say?

thirtysomething Fri 05-Jun-09 09:40:36

i can understand how this happens - I have so many different jobs/bits of work to juggle that often by the time I get to school I'm very preoccupied and don't always "notice" people - I actually have to make a conscious effort to talk to people I know or would just kind of stand there in my own world. And others I know have seemingly not seen me and walked past - I think this is normal really as everyone's busy and it's not easy to be uber-polite all the time, especially as the kids come out and demand full attention! I don't dwell on it personally; I think the OP has done the right thing by apologising and should leave it at that - agree other Mum being a bit OTT in her reaction - however, I also wonder if she was preoccupied and has other worries? Why else would she let her child meander in front of a car clearly trying to park?

stealthsquiggle Fri 05-Jun-09 09:44:16

I can see why she was offended. What I can't see is why she is continuing to hold a grudge after what sounds like a very gracious apology. IIWY I would leave her to stew - you have done all you can.

pellmell Fri 05-Jun-09 09:44:42

You sound like me and give things like this too much thought.grin

In the grand scheme of things this (meaning the car situation) does not matter. You have bigger and more important matters to dea with

If you are generally happy in yourself it isn't as important that others are happy with you iykwim.

She might find your need to be "forgiven" quite un-nerving.
Let it go, you have let her know that you are sorry you didn't see her etc...

warthog Fri 05-Jun-09 09:50:59

if she were me, and you said 'sorry i didn't see you', i would be thinking 'i was standing in front of your car, blocking your way. how could you NOT see me!?'

but she's being a bit of a twat now.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 05-Jun-09 09:59:31

Message withdrawn

LeighNic Fri 05-Jun-09 10:37:30

Thanks everyone. Pellmell that's what I'm concerned about, that she might be feeling un-nerved because I was so quick to apologise! And I only went to speak to her at the school because I didn't know if she'd gotten the email or not. Don't know why she didn't reply to me in the first place.

I realise I'm overthinking this. The only reason I wanted to apologise is that while she seems very friendly on the surface, she also seems quite sensitive and comes across as a bit 'edgy', therefore I thought she may've been feeling quite upset - I didn't want her stewing over it. She certainly didn't look very happy when she walked past my car.

Anyway - RubberDuck I like your attitude toward these things Obviously playground relationships weren't meant to be easy... glad to hear it's not just me.

pellmell Fri 05-Jun-09 10:53:11

o.k (says I, who does analyse everything)
I wonder if keeping yourself absorbed with this school lady matter is a delaying tactic on your part?

Could it be keeping your mind off something far more difficlt to face?

feel free to tell me I'm a looney grin

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