School Yard Politics

The Mummy Snobs.

My important task yesterday was to go in search of some great new toys to keep Baby Viv entertained now that she’s becoming more and more active and engaged. Well, some more toys to make up for the rare times when I’m not throwing her around like an aeroplane and making her giggle that is. The two of us went off and popped into the shops to fulfil our duties. Now, I don’t really mean that we just popped in like it was nothing, in an out in a flash. Because anyone who’s had the pleasure of kids will know that when you’ve got a baby and a pram, the possibility of multiple trips back to the car to drop heavy items off and you’re arriving close to feed times, it’s going to be anything but quick.

Together we managed to find some great new toys – there may or may not have been this really awesome looking purple elephant with dangling thingy-bobbies (yes that’s a word, OK) that rattled and was so super cute that I almost got one for myself also. No really I promise, I’m not two-years-old, I’m twenty-TWO-years old… I even got Viv involved in the all important decision-making process. Each item was handed to her, anything that elicited a giggle and/or ended up in her mouth was appropriately vetted and deemed a winner!

Afterwards I needed energy to fuel my new title of heavily laden “pack-horse” so we stopped for coffee (and OK, guilty, it also became my substitute lunch. I’m defying the rules of The Summer Challenge. Naughty!) As we were waiting in line, I most surprisingly ran into one of the School Mums.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t have happened. Not because there aren’t any, or because there’s zero chance of us both frequenting the same places, but simply because most of the School Mums would not have made it possible for us to run into one another. That is to say, (most) of the School Mums seem to act as though I don’t exist. I am the invisible woman who drops off a child each morning and picks her up again each afternoon, complete with another child in tow. I’m also the invisible woman who just so happens to know the names of each of their children; their allergies, their food intolerances, their likes and dislikes and even the names of their imaginary friends. And yet, come 3pm pick up time, I’m the invisible woman whom you must not make eye contact with.

So it was despite this (rather amusing) conundrum of school-yard politics that I was happy to have run into perhaps my one and only School Mum friend that I’ve successfully made. Like me, she also has a little one not much older than Baby Viv. Like me, she also has a vibrant and tenacious little girl in the same class as Miss Charlie. Like me, she is one of the last to arrive (frantically and rushed) at school each morning. And perhaps most significantly, like me, she seems not to pay mind to the fact that she is a “mum” and I’m a “nanny” and therefore in accordance to strict School Mum convention we must not associate.

We stopped and chatted over coffee, discussing the upcoming play that the girls were involved in, the extravagant plans for the Christmas concert that us “parents” are expected to help plan and joked that some day the school might lock the gate on us if we keep getting the kids to school after the first bell. That’ll teach ’em to dawdle at the pedestrian crossing!

I really enjoyed our shared coffee break. As a nanny, it can get a bit lonely at times. Whilst I absolutely adore Viv with the entirety of my heart (and the other kids of course!) their conversation can be lacking depth from time to time. Also, just an FYI, desperate conversations with the dog can be fairly one-sided too, just so you know. Given this, a little adult chit chat is very much welcome and appreciated and it was lovely to be able to lose myself for an hour or so in a tête à tête with someone over the age of 12. Shock horror I know.

Later, as I waited diligently for Miss Charlie to bounce down the footpath from her classroom, bidding au revoir to her teacher, I couldn’t help but wonder as to:

Why all of the other School Mums kept me on the outside?

Yes I know I’m (just) a nanny, quite a few years younger and that I don’t always share the same tendency to forego gym clothes and nikes for stilettos and designer sunglasses, but would it be so difficult to share a smile and make small talk? After all, I’ll likely be seeing you in a few short hours when I drop your kids home to you, kids who’ve been in my care, at (insert random sports practice) activity… Go figure.

Anyone else had to deal with the School Mum convention?

5 responses to “School Yard Politics

  1. I guess it may depend on the area/school. When you were little the mums used to stand around in the car park and chat for ages! And usually in tracky dacks and polo shirts and crazy clarks sunglasses and gum boots if it was raining. Or thongs if it was summer :). There were certainly no stilettos or designer glasses where we were!
    Then again there weren’t any young nannies either, as far as I recall.
    I wonder, if there was, if we’d have disregarded her like most of the so-called ‘ladies’ in your area do you?

  2. Interesting. I guess at various times and in various places we may all wear that cloak of invisibility, sometimes through choice and desire, and sometimes not. I often consider my invisibility which has occurred often throughout my life, but for reasons other than yours. I often wonder if it is a perception or a reality, and if there would be any difference between the two.

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