2 Dec 2015

The 'Mumship' - Playground Rules

When you are four, it's easy to make and break friendships - one week you will be happily playing and the next you declare you have a new best friend and waltz into the playground hand in hand.

Us mums watch and listen to the dramatic changes and wonder what the following week will bring and we all stand in the playground making polite conversation. You see the same mums (or dads or grandparents) every day and for 15 minutes your lives are lived in parallel. You all have to turn up in time and wait and then watch as the children file out and get assigned to their parent/carer, we all then get the same book bags thrust upon us and head on our way.

You get the sense that you know the people around you but you don't really know them much at all, there are the long standing mums...the ones who have been there from before time began. This is their second or third child going through the system and they stand with their comrades and new mums rarely break into the ranks as they stand in a semi circle, cackling over a shared joke. They ignore the kids as they are sent on their way and finish their conversation when they are good and ready whilst the kids kick holes in the front of their shoes on the hard gravel playground.

Next and near the front are the new mums - we are the nervous newbies, our first born has started school and we are new enough to still miss them when they are at school. We wait expectantly with whatever snack our lovely little people have requested, crane our necks and wave as soon as they are lined up waiting to be sent off to their parents.  We stick together and ask if everyone received the nit letter and whether they've seen the school photo yet. We usually have a pram with a smaller person in and we half apologise, half barge as we struggle our way out with the book bag that has been off loaded onto us whilst grilling our child on what they ate, who they played with and did they do a wee!

The late arrivals slink around at the back of the crowd and try and catch the teachers eye because their child was first in the queue and had to then stand to one side as all the other children get matched up with a parent and the fact they were late is something they want to keep under wraps.

The inbetweeners - these mums neither care about rank systems, being late or making sure their child missed them. They simple exist in the middle somewhere, milling around, talking to the odd other mum but never standing with the same group two days in a row. They could be part time picker upers and don't do this often enough to have made a group or they are too busy to care.

It's often difficult to know who with and where to stand but if you are lucky you will meet some lovely mums and have a 'mumship' where for 15 minutes a day you feel like no one else in the world knows you or your child better. It's a great feeling and hopefully develops into a great friendship that will develop as your children grow.
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