In 2020 I officially became a ‘school mum’.
How did my kid suddenly become this proper little human learning stuff like real maths and how to spell?
Gone are those days of turning to your partner and saying things like “can you hide the C-A-K-E?” In the safety of knowing your kiddo won’t understand and you can shove the cake in your face hole in glee whilst they sleep. They can work that stuff out now. Nothing is sacred.
I don’t know how I got responsible enough to be a ‘school mum’.
I look around at all the other school mums and officially feel like an imposter. They all look like they have their shit together.
At the school gates I am exposed as the ambivert.
I hate the awkwardness of small talk and generally being around other humans other than those I birthed (I hate them too sometimes 😆).
But I also love to talk and be involved in happenings but the anxiety and cringe of starting the conversation often gets the better of me.
It’s a constant reminder of those playgroup days with all the cliques I wasn’t in, that I avoided but also secretly wanted to be part of.
I notice many of the school mums and dad’s seem to have a friend.
Some are in groups.
These are all established groups and one does not casually stroll over and be like “hey guys” to an established group.
Total tumbleweed moment.
I’ve been in a group, I know how it works. One has to be INVITED into a group.
How did these groups come to be? Has everyone secretly been making an actual effort whilst I’ve stared at the floor avoiding all human connection?
I look around at everyone and am pretty much definitely sure that none of these are my kind of people.
I am certain they are all of a different calibre of grown up to me.
You know, the real life adult ones.
Some have handbags and manicures, I haven’t even brushed my hair and am wearing a technicolor dream coat.
I see the glamorous looking mums with their colourful lips, and on-trend shoes. They wear beige macs and look like they get their hair cut at the salon rather than hacking at their barnets by themselves over the bathroom sink (yes reader, this is me).
There are the outdoorsy mums with their healthy glow faces, sensible walking boots, zip up fleeces, backpacks and dogs.
There are the ‘I dont give two fucks’ mums, who roll out in their slippers and dressing gowns. They don’t care what anyone thinks. Respect to that.
There are the yoga or “I’m just heading to the gym” vibe mums in lycra and trainers and nice toned tight butt’s.
And there is me. I am afraid of all these mums. I am afraid they won’t like me. I don’t feel I fit.
With 3 days worth of dry shampoo, eyeliner like Alice Cooper and looking like a unicorn vomited on me.
2020 was the year of covid, which coincided with my son starting school so the whole school gates affair has been very unusual.
It was all social distancing and mask wearing so I was totally rescued from any awkward chats and pressure to befriend anyone. Total result.
It’s been quite the blessing for me. But now my son is in his second year, and the restrictions have eased, actual talking and mingling possibilities have resumed.
In fact I have actually had to speak to some of these parents in the wild. Shock horror!
And can you believe it I’ve even actually made a couple of mum friends of my own. Yay me. Although because I am so darn socially awkward I still kind of avoid eye contact or shyly wave to them whilst standing in a corner and only really chat on planned meets or if our paths actively collide.
But do you know what I am coming to realise?
Many of these mums and dads feel exactly the same as me.
Everyone is outside the gates hating on the whole wretched debacle, not wanting to look anyone straight in the eye for fear of actual communication.
Everyone feels like they are the only one that doesn’t have their shit together.
Everyone is in full scale imposter mode.
Well, mostly anyway.
There are definitely some parents that have ultimate confidence, whom everyone seems to know, like school royalty.
I like to call them the alpha mums and dads. These parents are like the popular kids at school.
They are seasoned pros at the school gates having been in the system for years. They relish being the voice behind organising school activities, fundraisers and such.
They set up the WhatsApp groups and know all the dates for all the stuffs. I imagine they have personal organiser’s and don’t replace their diary each year like a fickle child foaming at the mouth outside paperchase at the excitement of starting a crisp new one (yes yes, again me).
They buy replacement inserts for their diaries like sophisticats.
What’s with these parents? With their actually remembering my name and having massive birthday parties and managing to organise socials as well as have a job and run a home. Jeez.
There’s me home all day and still living in a pig sty.
I think I am just a bit in awe and possibly kind of want to be their lazy messy friend.
Who can feel like a real life grown up merely through proximity and get invited to all the stuff and be liked. (Please love me, I NEED to be liked).
But I also know myself and I am very likely to have an anxiety meltdown about actually going anywhere with a parent group.
I would be in a constant flux between wanting to remain the rebel who is too cool for actual mates and the needy girl alone in the playground who wants to play with the popular girls.
I KNOW THIS.
I’ve been here before.
It is literally just like school again.
I am at fucking school again.
Wearing all the weird shit.
Wanting to look cool, like I don’t give a toss but secretly, a little bit, wanting to be in the clique.