Recently, I became a full pledged member of the notorious mum’s school run club. This was a completely new scene for me, and since my son was born, I have led a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, and have never really been in one place long enough to get involved with the wonderful world of mum politics. Somehow, I feel my nomadic lifestyle has served me well as I have managed to avoid the dread of befriending unwanted friends and been sucked into such mindless chit-chat. Unfortunately, the avoidable is now unavoidable with my son now embarking on his journey in school life, I can no longer slip under the radar of the mummy posse.
When approaching the school gates as a first timer, you’ll feel a slight element of gang-like culture, and you’ll see various mum clichés huddled together around the playground almost as if they are guarding their territory.
You have the “Keeping up with the Jones' brigade,” which are easy to spot with their attempt at Scandinavian chic which they can’t quite pull off. These mums don’t miss a trick; they will scan you up and down, already know what car you drive and your marital status. I found the sheer desperation for perfection mind-blowing amongst these mums. If only they knew it was so visible to a wanderlust like me. The try-hard factor of maintaining the perfect life image to the outside world must be so utterly draining and tiresome. Their conversation appears to be scripted and seems almost rehearsed, as they are always on edge in the fear that they may say something wrong which will not fit in with their fake persona.
The thing is once you step into this mum world through no choice of your own, you’re forced to attend ‘play-dates,’ which are fun for the kids, but not so much for mums like myself. A quick hello and a gracious wave during the morning school run whilst pretending to be in a rush to avoid any unnecessary interactions will simply no longer cut it. Now the kids were going to play, which involved a two-hour coffee date with the “Keeping up with the Jones'” mum brigade, I naively thought I could get away with sipping on my Americano whilst nodding and smiling for a couple of hours. Oh boy was I wrong; and all of a sudden I thought I was in an episode of The Apprentice. Instead of been grilled by Alan Sugar, which would have been more agreeable, I had a group of frenzied mums who were more than keen to subject me to a Spanish Inquisition. Before I knew it, I had disclosed whether I was married, what job title my husband held, and, of course, what I did for a living, or was I a desperate house wife? Who would have thought a play date could be so intense? What happened to light conversation and maybe even some humor?
After the play date, things got even heavier; I had now been added into one of the million mums sharing social platforms. Yes, you guessed it. The infamous WhatsApp group chats where you are privileged to an hourly update on trivial school news by a frantic mum. Not to mention the millions of questions which in my opinion seemed to be really stupid things to ask. Most of these mums were well-educated and had high flying careers, so I was absolutely astounded at how confused they were over packing a gym kit. This I presume is the fear of been different kicking in, because heaven forbid their kid would show up in a different pair of shorts from the masses. Again the sheer desperation of always getting it right rears its ugly head time and time again. Of course, the group is now on muted mode, I mean these mums really know how to blow up your phone with their over the top queries.
Another play date later, which involved myself and my son doing the unthinkable, purchasing and, heaven forbid, eating a cake. I could see the shock in these mum’s eyes; I mean really have they never seen a kid eat cake before. Of course not I forgot they are also making sure they adhere to the mum’s food patrol policies, gluten-free, sugar-free and basically not that tasty. Don’t get me wrong I am all for healthy eating but a little bit of cake every now and then didn’t kill anyone.
As I shared the most delightful cake with my son, I smiled at the mums much to their dismay. I may just join this mums club and really give them something to talk about and a school year to remember, queue the crazy unconventional mum coming out!