Dear mums, be kinder to each other.
I never really enjoyed high school, I honestly spent most of my secondary education just wanting it to be over. I went to an all girls school and it was exactly the cliche you'd expect. Pretty girls were popular and bitchy, smart girls were called 'boffins' and made fun of and anybody slightly left of normal was ridiculed. Now I guess you've already worked out that I was one of the weird ones with just a splash of geek. I played the clarinet, sung in the choir and wore a bright red fur coat in winter (a present from my nana that was simply divine, even if it was a little vintage for the 90's). The girls made my life a misery and I never really fitted in or made lasting friendships bar one person who is still a big part of my life now.
So when my boys started to school I was excited to be back in a playground without the pressure and the anxiety it used to cause me but I was in for a shock. You see it's just the same old cliche. Stay at home moms that judge the working moms and the career moms believing the housewives to be lazy and then the ones that are somewhere in between. well I'm pretty sure the mums at school think I'm a stripper (that's a lot to do with Finn drawing a picture of me dancing on a table in reception). I knew instantly that I didn't fit in and it took me right back to high school. Only this time it's worse because now my children are affected by my social leprosy. They get invited to less play dates and birthday parties and when some parents all walk home with their school friends we just hop in the car and tootle home, and I'm ok with that. You know what I'm not ok with though is mums on the playground being mean to each other, making nasty comments or writing derogatory comments on the book of face. Standing in their covens spitting venom at the other mothers not in their clique. I don't care because it bothers me, I've seen a thousand covens of spiteful girls in my time what's a handful more but what I care about is what our children see. We want our children to be kind, tolerant and welcoming to others. We want them to be generous and treat those how we wish to be treated. How can we do that if we adults cannot be kind to each other in the playground? I don't believe this is just my school and I must say this is not a reflection of the school itself, the school is wonderful but across the country I'm seeing more and more posts about mums feeling judged, isolated or victimised by other mums from school.
Being a parent is hard, like kick you in the lady garden hard and the last thing we need is to feel like the one group of people that should get it are too busy judging us to support us. No matter whether you stay at home or you work 40 hours a week it's a tough time to go through without a few friends. Why can't we praise each other for the wins? Why can't we learn from each other instead of tearing each other down. I don't just want my children to be tolerant of others I want them to hug them and invite them round for tea because to me that's what will change our crazy world. In these frightening and worrying times we need to fill the world with kindness and the best place to do that is the playground leading our children by example.
So next time you are with the mums in your playground before you do or say anything ask yourselves 'would I want my daughter to say this to somebody?' and if you can't say yes then don't say it. Our children won't grow into who we tell them to be but who we SHOW them to be.