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AIBU to find the school gates intimidating?

65 replies

Oasis22 · 19/12/2019 22:05

My son started reception in September and I guess I had a rose-tinted idea that I'd get to know the parents in his year and it would be a friendly 'in it together' attitude at the school gates, where everyone would mingle and make new friends, but I was obviously a bit naiive. For starters, they all seem to know each other already. We don't live in a small village where there's only one school or anything, so I found this a bit surprising. And much as I try and make small talk to be friendly etc and get a conversation going, people are happy to exchange pleasantries, but don't seem particularly interested in chatting, and just go to the person they're already good friends with. I only moved to this town two years ago, and whilst I've made friends through work, I was hoping the school gates might be a chance to get to know people, but it's not what I expected. Admittedly, I don't drop off and collect every single day like some mums do as my partner and I share it.

I was also slightly annoyed today as a parent-organised event the whole class had been invited to was cancelled, and the only reason I found out was I overheard a mum telling someone, and that the cancellation had been announced on 'the Facebook group'. What FB group?! Certainly not one I or this other parent were a part of.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing? I know I shouldn't care but it's a bit crap.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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Vulpine · 19/12/2019 22:07

Just keep muscling in. Join the face book group and dont take anything personally.


Turquoisetamborine · 19/12/2019 22:07

Can you ask to be added to the Facebook group? We have a Reception messenger group and then a school wide Facebook group. You do find out useful stuff on it.


marchingonwithmother · 19/12/2019 22:08

They might've all gone to school together as you are new to the area or know each other from being local. Just get chatting, ask to be added to the groups etc


dontcallmeduck · 19/12/2019 22:15

I remember this when my eldest was in reception. My trick was to be the first one in the playground so the next person would almost have to say hello, then I would start chatting. Also I took dc to all the parties so I could chat to the parents. Again there was a Facebook group I didn’t know about but I got added later in the year, it was a genuine mistake I hadn’t known about it.

My second child experience was exactly the same with the new class mums although I already had my group of sibling mums. But I still made the effort however they very much keep to themselves so it’s a bit pointless. It’s not that I want or need the friends but surely it’s just nice to chat?


FloppyBiffAndChip · 19/12/2019 22:23

I hate the morning and pick up. I am so so anxious all the time I just 'hide'! I think the other mum's think I'm rude and aloof which makes me even more anxious so I avoid people even more - sometimes exchanging a smile and a hello. It's so much harder than I thought and I feel so judged every time I drop off and pick up. I really want the other mum's to like me, but I think the opposite is true :( I can't wait til secondary and I do t have to face all this!

You'll get a few friends via playdates, which you'll enjoy, just don't worry about everyone else


Oasis22 · 19/12/2019 22:34

Thanks for your replies. I think I'm quite a sensitive person and it's seeming like a thick skin is needed for this kind of thing. Some days I do think 'sod it, I'm just here for my son, so who cares', but others I do see the merit of being in a fb group with them or whatever. I'm looking forward to my son getting solid friends then there's something in common to talk about. I will talk to anyone...but I appreciate not everyones like that.

OP posts:

Bluerussian · 19/12/2019 22:40

There were no school gates at my son's school but parents congregated on the pavement at chucking out time. I hated it, always turned up last (not late exactly but last of all). I did go to work part time so sometimes I didn't do the pick up which was fine.

The mindless chatter and laughter did my head in, frankly. I wasn't the only one who felt that way.


Freddiefox · 19/12/2019 23:07

Play dates, get parents to your house when they pick up and invite them in offer coffee get their numbers... keep plugging away friendships will start


Wolfiefan · 19/12/2019 23:12

I’m not sure I would “keep plugging away”. Proper friendships shouldn’t have to be forced and having kids the same age doesn’t mean you’ll have anything else in common.
I hate the school run. Too many parents ignoring their child’s awful behaviour or trying to outdo one another in the realm of competitive parenting or how very important they are.
I speak to a few lovely ones and hide from the rest. Blush


LadyAllegraImelda · 19/12/2019 23:13

Their children may have already been going to the nursery together for the last year.


formerbabe · 19/12/2019 23:21

My ds started school in year one so the parents already knew each it was quite tricky but they were actually quite friendly and I got to know a few and it was all good in the end.

So when my dd started in reception, I thought it would be much easier as no one would know each other and we'd all be in the same boat. I remember the first day and a big group already seemed to know each other. It was very all or're either besties or you're ignored...sadly I'm in the latter category.

No advice but sympathy. Maybe when it's your dcs birthday, organise a class party...looking back I wish I'd done that in reception year.


purpleme12 · 19/12/2019 23:27

Reception was ok. People chatted a bit (not everyone)

Then it got to year one and it was like everyone but cliquey. People are alright by themselves but when they're together they've got this really tight bond it seems and they're not really interested in being friends I don't think.

I've tried inviting people over they're either busy or don't reply. I think I'm the kind of person people don't want to know.
But it's so disheartening for my child


Nat6999 · 19/12/2019 23:41

I hated it when ds was at Primary school, the other mothers were so bitchy, commenting on what other parents were wearing like it was a fashion show. In the end I used to take ds in just before the bell went & sat in my car until a couple of minutes before school finished, if I had to be there early I wore my headphones to avoid having to listen to all the bitching. It gets easier once primary school is over, thankfully there isn't much parent input at secondary school.


Haggismom · 19/12/2019 23:47

Honestly, don't worry, it's the same for most of us. Until you know a couple of friendly faces to head for, the school run can be stressful.
Be patient and listen out for pointers like the Facebook page. You should be able to search for it. Arrange playdates for your dcs and ask the mums - if you like them - to stay for a coffee. Birthday parties and school events will eventually lead to you getting to know folk. There are nice mums out there, it just takes a bit of time. Be open and smiley in the meantime.


Isithometimeyet0987 · 20/12/2019 00:07

I have to admit I’m wild at the school gates I don’t really talk to anyone unless I really have to (I’d rather sort my emails so there done before I pick up dd and then go teach tbh) which is only really if I’m giving a party invite back to a parent or someone’s asked for a play date (also have to admit I’ve made excuses up not to have these before as I’m quite busy with work and DDs out of school activities). Could you maybe look out for the more chatty sociable ones maybe your trying to talk to much like me.


AwakeAmbs · 20/12/2019 00:13

The ones who seem to know everyone are usually the “busy body” types in my experience 😊


crosser62 · 20/12/2019 00:21

I think yabu because I just don’t see why you can be arsed with any of it or them.
I put my earphones in, music on full blast, zero eye contact, no exchanges with any of them.
I drop off last minute, piss off and pick up, piss off.
I have nothing to say to any of them, no time for the effort involved and zero interest in getting involved and this stems from the first couple of weeks of reception being added (god only knows how) to a WhatsApp group. The absolute shite and utter utter drivel that was on there. So I silently left that group and just stick to the school Dojo thingy for all my information.
No, I think you are worrying too much about something that you don’t need to worry about.


formerbabe · 20/12/2019 00:26


I feel the same as you. I see the same women at drop off and pick up chattering incessantly to each other. I often wonder what on earth they have to talk about?!

However, don't you find this affects your dcs social life outside of school in terms of play dates and parties?


crosser62 · 20/12/2019 00:32

No, he’s been to parties and a couple of play dates with a kid who’s dad I know.
I find those things excruciating, dh takes him to the parties, he doesn’t mind them but keeps himself to himself really, he’s friendlier than me.


crosser62 · 20/12/2019 00:35

Also my kid has a lot of after school stuff so doesn’t have time for all that stuff.
We do try really hard to get him to party invites, it’s nice of them to want him there and he loves going.

We don’t throw big lavish parties for him, mostly a family thing with maybe one or two from school, that’s it.


Bluerussian · 20/12/2019 00:47

Nat6999 Thu 19-Dec-19 23:41:50
I hated it when ds was at Primary school, the other mothers were so bitchy, commenting on what other parents were wearing like it was a fashion show. In the end I used to take ds in just before the bell went & sat in my car until a couple of minutes before school finished, if I had to be there early I wore my headphones to avoid having to listen to all the bitching. It gets easier once primary school is over, thankfully there isn't much parent input at secondary school.
Good post. I hated the gossip.


Vulpine · 20/12/2019 06:42

Wolfie - what you call 'plugging away' is what many people call habitual small talk and done often enough, can indeed turn into friendship


Wolfiefan · 20/12/2019 06:58

I didn’t call it that @Vulpine. A PP did.
Just because you see these people at the gates does not mean they have to turn into your friends. One or two might but looking for a whole new circle of close friends at the school gates seems a bit odd to me.


Vulpine · 20/12/2019 07:01

I find it more odd that people dont want to be friendly at all.


Wolfiefan · 20/12/2019 07:02

Friendly is not the same as friends.
I have lots of people I chat to but we aren’t close. We don’t go on evenings out. We don’t exchange gifts. I wouldn’t exchange confidences with them.

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