Return to the playground

It is becoming clear to me that school never ends (Bowling for Soup are right), as a parent you have to return to school and of course the fickle playground.  Some days I am quite sanguine about the cliques of pretentious parents who play the ever-popular game of one-upmanship which, for the record, fucking sucks.  NOT because any child is better than mine, they most certainly could never even come close, she’s the most loving, kind, caring and sweet little girl you could ever hope to meet.  I am fiercely proud of her, you may have guessed, as is every parent of their child.  I do not, however, behave in the vulgar way I observe on a weekly basis.  For example, you may have read in an earlier blog post, that my daughter was awarded ‘Star of the Week’ recently.  Yes I was bursting with pride, but it only spilled out at home and here.  I did not loudly projectile vomit the fact all over the parents of other children at school.  That is crass and a bit pathetic. 

Today I took my children to a party at a gymnastics club in Rugby and overheard another child saying that they have another party tomorrow, held by the parents of a little girl in my daughter’s class, whose name I hear regularly.  My little girl states that this other child (who was also at today’s party), is her best friend.  I have, therefore, recently suggested to the mother that she and her daughter come round to my home for a coffee and a play-date, or I would have the child round for tea after school one day maybe.  I was met with the comment that they are busy and that would be nice maybe in the school holidays.  She stated, “That sounds really bad doesn’t it?”.  I reassured her “Not at all, I’m about to be pretty busy too, as I’m returning to work in May”.  We left it that I would pop my contact details into the reading folder of the child, via school, so they could let me know when would be a good date.  Foolishly thinking that she actually meant it.  However, after hearing that there is a party being held by this busy family and my daughter has not been invited… you can see where I’m going with this. 

Now I feel like a sad loser who is trying to be friendly with someone who is not interested.  I’m thirteen and not being chosen for the netball team all over again.  I am feeling like that a lot at the moment and it makes me want to crawl under a stone and stay there.  Am I so fundamentally unlikable?  Dull?  Abrasive?  What is it?  Do I offend?  Or, horror of horrors, don’t they like my little girl?  If not, why not?  I guess my paranoia is showing a bit today, I’m tired too.  It’s just one of those treacle days when I feel like I’m trying too hard and it’s exhausting. 

I am now presented with a dilemma on Monday at hometime, when the hyenas begin to circle on the playground.  Do I hold my head up high and keep on being sociable with these mini-groups of people, with whom I have very little in common with?  Or do I revert to type and sit on the bench at the edge of the playground and shrug on my comfy old “fuck-you” approach to it all?  The latter is preferable to me, but it probably isn’t just about me anymore.  How would that affect my daughter being included with her little classmates? 

So I’m back at school, on top of all the grown up concerns, bills, daily chores, blah blah blah and having to go to work!  Big, sweaty, brown corduroy pants, piled up in the midday sun. 



8 Responses to “Return to the playground”

  1. Lovely lady, these aspirational, snobby mums are not worth an ounce of your worry. I would suggest that you hold your head high and be civil and polite, but do your own thing in the playground. Trying to cultivate a friendship with an adult who is so willingly exclusive and bitchy is a waste of your precious time. Even if your daughter is friends with her daughter, I would say that if the mother is willing to be exclusive and bratty then these are the values that the daughter will eventually have too, and therefore a friend that is likely to end up hurting your little girl.

    I’ve just finished reading Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman (it’s the non-fic book that Mean Girls was based on) and I’ll bring it along to the next SMB that we’re both at for you. It has a whole chapter on what to do when there are these kinds of dynamics in the playground.

    • Thank you, that’s really kind. Sage advice too, I’d not thought of the parental influence on the attitude of the child. Annoyingly I actually liked the mom, had hoped we may be friendly, based on our few interactions. It is so easy to be wrong about someone’s character I guess! I think you’re right, I’ll be courteous and dignified, but keep to myself. My daughter doesn’t need my help making friends, she’s wonderful, I’m sure she’ll find some good friends for herself.

  2. This makes me sad and angry, not necessarily for you (although I know the feelings this kind of behaviour can elicit – I sometimes feel like my office is a school playground) but for your lovely, friendly, confident little girl! You are right to be fiercely proud of her, I have rarely met such a well-mannered, sociable and bright child (and with my parents being teachers I meet A LOT of children) and I just pray that the daughter doesn’t subject her to the same unpleasantness the mother is clearly capable of subjecting her peers to. I always think it is such a shame that children can’t be sorted by personality-type rather than age or ability at school…

  3. That is really lovely of you to say about my little poppet. That’s a pretty interesting idea, sorting by type. There are certainly a few children that I wish were not in the same classroom as my daughter, in the position to influence her.
    Although, having said that, Beth certainly does not take any shit. This child was apparently saying mean things to her today, so my sweet little girl jabbed her in the back with a pen! Ooops! It was pretty hard to say the things you are meant to say in response to this, as inside I was saying ‘Yeah! Take that! Ha ha.’ Instead I said ‘That’s not nice’ and got her to apologise to the child, after which they were running around holding hands. Crazy kids!

  4. That’s really sad. You kind of hope that people grow up a bit when they leave school, and leave the school bully mentality and one-upmanship behind them. Keep holding your head up as you are so much better than them. Be the bigger person and make good your invite to Bethany’s friend over to play in the hols, and hope if she comes, that the mother doesn’t want to hang out with you while the kids play! xxx

    • Too late to make good on the invite, which is a bit of a shame, but today was the last day of term. Hurrah for the Easter hols! Lie-in in the morning here I come! Glad you’re able to comment now, I guess it’s stopped being all screwy. Thanks for the nice words. I think I’ll just give her my contact details (probably not my blog address though), then I’ve not tried too hard, but taken the high road. Although, I’ll admit to being erm… aloof when she was trying to be all chatty with me the other day, couldn’t help it, I was still mad. I have invited another little girl instead these hols, who has been a lovely little friend to Beth, we’ll see. If this attempt is unsuccessful, I flippin’ give up!

  5. ps. maybe take a leaf out of Bethany’s book and poke the eevil mother in the back with a sharp object?

    pps. I am not proposing that you run round the playground afterwards holding hands…

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