My son has been accepted to a new school. It’s a heartbreaking decision as to whether to send him as I love his current school.
When discussing it with some friends I kept coming back to one core point.
What if I don’t like the other Mums? What if they are stuck up? What if they don’t “get” me like the Mums at his current school do?
One of my oldest friends looked at me squarely as we were tossing around possibilities.
“Why does that even matter?” she asked me.
“I don’t remember your Mum and Angela Robinson’s mother hanging out back in the early 80’s and it never stopped you and Angela being friends.”
There’s this phase of motherhood, when you never see anyone. And then comes the “new friends” onslaught. Video: Elle Walker.
She was right, of course. (Old friends always are.) But the fears about breaking into a new playground gang remain.
Oh, it’s not my son – he will be fine. He’s a popular kind of laid-back kid.
It’s MY playground gang I’m worried about.
I don’t remember when it became necessary to be friends with our kids’ friends’ parents?
But somewhere in the last generation we deemed it necessary to micro-manage every aspect of our children’s lives. Even who their friends are.
Playground politics is enough of a mind-fuck as it is.
When your kids are little. It’s easy. You are set. Their friends are the friends of your friends.
You have control.
Playdates are fun because you get to hang out with who you want. Weekends at the beach are just like they used to be with the old gang (except this time involve enough STUFF to backpack around Europe for a year).
Their kids, your kids. The Mums fondly smile as the Dads show off their nappy-changing skills. It is like ‘Friends with babies’. Happy days.
But once they hit the big old world of school all that control is taken from you. These kids you have spawned get minds and personalities of their own. Interests of their own, likes and dislikes of their own.
And EEEKKKK, friends of their own.
Suddenly those weekend BBQs become thing of the past as you ferry child after child to sport and playdates and birthday parties, and the onus is now on you to make friends with these parents.