Every morning as we walk to school the inevitable dread arises… the anticipation mounts, the nervousness arrives. Not from my child – but from me! I left school many moons ago but over the past year as my daughter has began attending early education (posh words for Nursery/Kindergarden) I feel like I am right back in the playground again.
They work in packs. Clustered around each other in gaggles, theres always a leader though! A tiger that guides there hunt for prey. Who licks there lips at the idea of a new one. They are easy to spot. The rest are probably clinging to the them in fear of being the next victim as they feel the same as I do! Who’d have known it would be like this? I had no idea.
When she first started I knew noone – not a soul – I spent 5 months walking her to school. Through the playground hand in hand, head down as we walked to the door for the younger children. God forbid the door was still closed because that meant the awkward stand around queuein – do we talk to a newbie? Who is she? What do we know about her? My daughter and I spent many a morning watching the other mums talk to each other, sometimes a small smile my way but mostly not! Until I started to meet up with another mum on the walk to school this was how I felt every day. Every Single Day.
Don’t get me wrong this isnt all about ‘everyone elses’ fault, I just was not confident enough to walk up to a group of people and join in there conversation. So instead I stood by myself and had fun with my daughter. Keeping myself to myself – timid, quiet and shy. (Here’s me on the left)
It truly is like school again, many small flocks chattering around the walls. Whilst all the children play together.
Theres the working mums, the dolled up mums, the mums in their PJ’s, the dropoff and run mums, the PTA mums, the gossip mums the list goes on. Like lions in the jungle they can smell fear. Or at least thats how I felt. Probably bloody ridiculous, but paranoia at its best.
I’m not sure which category I fit into – probably best I don’t know! But I’d guess somewhere between working mum and PJ’s mum – I’m “holding it together with pritt stick” mum as I juggle a million things. Or at least I was until I recently lost my job. Now I am “no make-up, hair scraped into a bobble, eye bag” mum. I was actually less tired when I was working – how does that work!?
The strange thing is that all the children played together freely and without prejudice still (3 and 4 year olds) – yet the parents are too shy to talk to each other? too rude? obnoxious? ignorant? don’t care? I just don’t know. That can’t be the world we live in now, can it? I teach my daughter to look for children in class playing by themselves and to ask them to play. I’m not an idealist I know she won’t do this everytime but I know that if I instill this into her now, one day it will resonate.
I now try my best to walk in head high and say hello to every person I make eye contact with – despite the fact that I still feel on edge, maybe they are too and just simply know how to disguise there fears better than I.