When children start school it's nerve wracking for everyone. The children have to start in a new place, wear a uniform and make friends with lots of new people. They are the smallest people in what is normally a massive building. It's intimidating and definitely a tad scary. But it's also just as intimidating for parents too. Not only do they have to hand their children over to someone else, they also have to face the prospects of playground politics and the mean girl mums of the playground.
When Max started at the school he is at, I was fortunate to find some wonderful friends quickly. He is a sociable kid and whilst I can find situations like that a tad intimidating, he quickly guided me to his new friends parents and within minutes we had all started chatting like we had known each other for ages. That is until the phasing out began.
I'm not even sure I can pinpoint exactly when or where it happened. I just remember logging onto Facebook to send them a message, only to realise I had been unfriended. After mentally retracing my steps I realised it was in the past couple of days and there was no way at all that I could contact her about it. Almost overnight we had gone from chatting and joking in the school playground to being ignored and turned away from. To everyone else they hadn't changed at all, but to me and a select few, we knew that we were no longer wanted/needed/allowed to be called a friend.
Within 24 hours we had been blocked and deleted by not only 1 mum, but she had drafted in someone else in the imaginary battle against us. Still none the wiser as to what had happened, and as fast as things escalated, the rumours started. Things we had apparently said and done, horrible and vile things that I would never dare say about anyone. But rumours fly in a playground faster than the common cold.
In the time that has passed since that occurred I've grown a bit of a tougher skin. But it still breaks my heart when they ignore my child, avert eye contact and tell their children that mine isn't worthy of playing with them. I'm more wary about who I befriend and whilst I have my tight knit circle, I'm conscious of others and it takes time to trust.
Speaking to other mums I know, they too have similar stories. One mum experienced 3 years of exclusion after calling out another mums behaviour after someone died. Another mum was shunned at the school gates after false accusation of violence were spread. Another was slagged off at the school gates when their child doesn't even go to the school in question. It honestly baffles me as to why some mums feel the need to regress into school children when they step foot in the gate. Why does being amongst children make them feel like they can behave that way.
A mum told me of the time she was called a "special silly slag" just for being dressed for a business meeting on the school run. Luckily she was quick thinking enough to make a quick remark back, but for others the small digs can grow and gnaw away at someones self esteem. What can be perceived as a joke for some is actually hurtful for others. One mum told me that the small digs resulted in a Facebook campaign to jump her at the school gates. All because some words got taken out of context.
As an adult I can rise above the pettiness. I can shake my head and laugh off the negativity. Whilst I'm not a mean mum, there will always be one wherever you go. I'm just glad that Max, whilst hurt to begin with can grow and flourish with those that love and care for him. The mean mums might spout horrible words but stay strong, make them wonder why you're still smiling.