When school run mums become good friends
When Little Miss E started school, we didn’t know anyone. Whereas all our friends in our neighbouring streets went to the local English-medium primary school, we opted for the slightly-further-away-but-still-in-catchment Welsh one. Other than a vague connection to a friend of a friend, I was as much the new kid as my daughter.
And I was terrified! I’d read so many articles about school gate battles, bitchy mums and Mean Girl-style cliques, I was dreading it.
Amid all the emotions of my daughter starting school (at that point it was the pre-school nursery school attached to the primary school she now attends), I was also dealing with my own fears of being the loner mum at the school gates or falling foul of the kind of Mummy Mafia I’d read about in those ”10 types of school mums to avoid”-style articles which are so prominent at this time of year. I’m still scarred by being bullied at school and the idea of it happening again was certainly on my mind.
As ridiculous as the idea of women in their 20s, 30s and 40s acting like a bunch of bitchy teenagers sounds, sadly it happens. I have friends struggling with exactly this right now; being ignored by women they thought were their friends, being left out of class get-togethers, being bitched about from the other side of the yard. I have no idea why grown adults think this is an appropriate way to behave; it’s really not okay at all and they should be ashamed.
But I also know I’m not alone in having met some awesome mums (and dads) at my children’s school. Women (and men) who have gone from being so-and-so’s parent to actual proper friends.
Friends who I have laughed with until I have cried. Friends who have listened to my problems and helped me find a solution. Friends who have confided in me. Friends who I’ve got far too drunk with. Friends who have helped me when I’ve been too poorly to do the school run. Friends I’ve met up with over the holidays with and without the kids. Friends who I don’t just talk to about the kids but with whom I have actual interesting conversations and with whom I have more in common than just the fact we have kids in the same class.
Friends I’m pretty sure will still be my friends when our kids have left primary school and we don’t have the school gates to hold us together any more.
Being self-employed means I can structure my work so that I can be there every day for drop off and pick up. As stressful as the school can be sometimes, I know I’m lucky to be there.
Some of the mums I’ve met work full time or almost full time and are rarely on the school run. I know they hate not being able to do the drop offs and pick ups… but I love that they are first to say yes when a night out is mentioned and are always there at school events.
As much as I am going to miss my babies when the big two go back to school tomorrow and the littlest starts preschool nursery every afternoon, I am looking forward to seeing the school mums on a daily basis again. Nattering at the gates. Heading to the coffee shop after drop off with our pre-schoolers. Impromptu after-school trips to the park after school where we catch up while the kids play. And, of course, mummies ‘ nights out where we can finish conversations and talk about things we can’t talk about in front of little ears.
And, thanks to my third-born starting in the preschool nursery at the same school as his siblings this week, I have a whole new gang of parents to get to know this term too. We’re going to be spending the next eight years together while our little ones are at school so I’m hoping I’ll find a friend or two along the way too.
Have you made friends with other parents at your children’s school? Do let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy – and do share this post with them too!
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I remember going to playgroup when my girls were around 2/3 years old and I was desperate to make some mum friends. A lady I hadn’t seeen before walked in with her daughter and I immediately went over to her before anyone else had a chance! We started chatting and got on well. The following week at play group I asked if her and her daughter would like to come my house for a play date and they did. We’ve been friends ever since! We also met another lady and her daughter, now the three of us all go out once a month and see each other regularly with and without the kids, it’s lovely. I’m also friends with some mums from the school too and we arrange play dates and meets in the parks which is great too. I was definitely nervous before the girls started school about making mum friends, but everyone was friendly and gets on well. Great post xx
Ahh! I made friends with 3 other ladies when my teen started in reception class about 10 years ago. There’s only me and one of my friends left in the school yard but we still all meet up for coffee every Friday and a night out once in a while. They are my best friends and I think will be even when all our kids are grown up. x
Oh it’s great that you’ve become such good friends with the other school gate parents. It’s sad that there is bitchiness at the school gate sometimes, I don’t understand how adults can behave like that! My children get a school bus to school, so I don’t often get the chance to actually pick them up from the school yard.
Rosalie started preschool in March this year and I was a little nervous as I didn’t know anyone. I’ve since made friends and it’s so so lovely.
this is so lovely to hear. My son goes to a small village school and everyone seems to already know each other, but we are pretty new to the area. There is hope yet! x
I remember fondly meeting wonderful parents when my kids were in school, and now they are done with their schooling and we are all still great friends.
I’ve just written about something really similar – my best friend is someone I met at school and actually someone who I thought was in a clique when I met her but she really wasnt x x
That sounds great, my son is still young, didn’t manage to make a great deal of mum friends so far. This being said he used to go to a childminder, there was this other little girl who is his age and I am staying in touch with her mom. I hope to make some when my son goes to school too!
I have definitely come across the mean girls at school but like you’ve I’ve made a lovely group of friends. They are wonderful x
This is lovely! I guess we become close because we have so much in common through the kids, and of course our kids become friends! I’ve made three lots of school mum friends now. my older two have gone to high school and it’s not the same but I am still friends with a couple i met at their primary school x
Aw it is so lovely when this happens especially when the children get on really well too. Happy smiles all round. xx
I’ve unfortunately never really struck up a good friendship with other school mums as working such long hours means I rarely get to involve myself in the activities and school playground chat. The other Mums would actually make me feel quite unwelcome and were often catty about it. Luckily I did get chatting to a couple of other working Mums and now our children are at senior school we can often contact each other for advice etc.
So glad you have managed to settle in! It’s not nice when you can’t find anyone with similar interests but it sounds like you have! No need to work at all!
It’s cool that you’ve made friends naturally at the school gates-and sounds like you’ve done it in the right way, without getting stressed about it 🙂
I don;t have children but from what I remember when I was a child myself, the parents didn’t really met each other unless it was the school night. So unless they were living next to each other, there was no relationship between parents.
I’m not the typical school mum friends type , but this time round and m hoping to try out a few baby groups . Being a stay at home mum ( on maternity leave ) is very isolating 🙁 x