I’ve made a conscious decision to avoid discussing politics, religion or anything else that is likely to earn me a death threat or to be put on some government watch list however I feel that I should be safe airing my views on the politics of the school playground.
My eldest son started in the education system 4 years ago, up until this point I was blissfully unaware of how political the school playground could be from a parents perspective. I remember the excitement of taking him to pre-school for the first time and standing excitedly in the playground amongst all the other parents, now at this early stage you have two distinctive sets of parents:
- The new parents who are experiencing their bundle of fun enter the long merry go round of education. These are identifiable by a big broad smile and a cheery hello to everyone.
- The second/third/fourth etc time around parent. These have been through all of this before, they are the veterans of the pre-school playground and are easily identifiable by the forced smile, standing on their own, phone in hand, occasionally raising their head to force a “hello, alright?” to another one of their kind knowing that neither wants to talk.
After about 4 weeks you will find no sign of number 1, the enthusiasm has gone and the reality of standing and having to make small talk with other parents for 15-20 minutes each day starts to sink in. Then it happens:
I was not prepared for the politics and cliques that hit me when I went into what we call “the big playground” and for someone like me who is very choosy over who I talk to and who finds small talk with people I don’t like or know a waste of my precious Instagram time, this presented a challenge.
I like to be stood on the fringes looking in and observing and from here you can really see the whole social group of playground parents at its best. Across the playground you will find groups and cliques of parents, some are really nice and accommodating but invariably you have groups, now I have come up with categories for some of these people and have come up with the following coping strategies to follow:
1. The Joules Group
This lot are the more affluent parents or at least want to think that they are. They are easily identifiable by the fact that they look like they have just ram raided a joules shop and run out with as much of the product line on as possible. This group tend to be a bit sneery and will tend to have given their children names such as “nimbus, Teepee or Sunshine”.
My tip for dealing with this lot is to walk into the middle saying “your coat looks really nice, is it tesco?” followed by “sorry, I’ve got to go. I’ve just realised I’ve got an argos delivery coming” (what?! no oak furniture land?!). You can gauge your success by the number of muffled conversations you can hear as you walk off.
2. The we love your friends kids like our own group.
This lot really get on my man boobies. They are literally one step away from spooning each other in the playground and are identifiable by their shrieks as they run over to each other open armed giving air kisses, you only saw each other this morning so stop already!
My tip for dealing with these is to turn, stand, position your legs slightly apart, cross your arms and stare at them whilst slowly and continuously mouthing “no, no, no”. An occasionally slow head shake thrown in gets your message across.
3. The gym mummies.
Easy identifiable by the amount of lycra, fake boobs and camel toes on display. This lot seem to think that turning up in full gym kit gives the impression of being fit however I know for fact that most of this lot don’t even go to the gym as I see most of them sat in the local coffee shop straight after the school run!
My tip for dealing with this lot is to shame them, comments such as “you do realise Sure make a deodorant for women too” or “nice toe” followed up by discreetly whispering to them “we know you don’t have a gym membership” as you pass them in the corridor will unnerve them and make them start to question the benefits of their charade.
4. The boring ones.
There seems to be a lot of boring individuals at our school who are identifiable by their clothing choice (normally 10 years behind), the ill fitting shirt/trouser combo and the 90’s haircut. Now these are nice people at heart but they will make the end of school pick up seem like a 30 minute root canal procedure.
My tip for dealing with this lot is to stare blankly at them when they talk to you. Don’t say a word, be blank…..Don’t crack, don’t even mutter a word back. Find your happy place in your head and go there.
5. The slutty mum group.
Easily identifiable by the outfits, the hair twirling, the tate gallery levels of makeup and the fact they are surrounded by almost every single dad/bad marriage dad in the playground. They really piss off the Joules group who believe that they will be in danger of losing their hubby if they even so much as look at these Jezebels. This lot tend to be loose cannons, lock up your men!
I have no tips for this lot, just stand there and watch the amount of drooling male attention that they tend to get. It will take you back to secondary school times.
The last group are my favourite and where possible I will be amongst this lot wishing for the school day to go on a bit longer…….
The stand on their own, looking at their phone all thinking the same thing group which just so happens to be “don’t you dare talk to me, don’t you dare, just walk on mate as I have more interest in this tiny bit of skin on my little nose picking finger nail then I do from having a ball achingly pleasant conversation with you” group.
I am a member of this group and intend to stay this way until I can get myself associated with the slutty mum group.