Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Doesn’t it feel just like school…

Now we are well over 30 we are definitely grown ups or so you’d think. But to be honest it is all a sham. The vicissitudes of life may make our understanding better but down at the school gates it’s as if we had never left.
The cliques and gangs that were the bane of our lives then are just as much prevalent, if you look hard enough, as they ever were,
And don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you are older and wiser that you can rise above it – in fact it is just when you think all is OK and you have a good handle on life that you will be felled and felled hard.
You can of course put off the fateful moment by not interacting at all with the school gate posse but let’s face it you tried the anonymous bit at school and you know eventually you will be so stunned and amazed that one of the popular posse speaks to you that before you know it they’ve used and abused you making you feel worse than ever before.
The pecking order is very like that of school there are the popular ones buzzing around a Queen Bee who usually has older children at the school and knows everyone and is on first name terms with the great and the good that make up the School Governors. Then there are a variety of cliques such as the chalet girl types, the horsy ones, those with obviously far too much time and/or too much money on their hands. There are the professional working Mums who are considered scarily clever, and of course there are a variety of second wife bimbettes, wannabes and the odd and peculiar whom everyone looks on with slight alarm.
I fall in the odd and peculiar group for although I don’t consider myself part of any particular set that is not how I am judged. I am plainly not scarily clever for I do not have the VIP hauteur so cultivated by women executives when dealing with mere mothers, nor am I popular for I do not know the right people and nor do I get invited to lots of dinner parties, never mind the right ones. I do not wear the right clothes or even drive the right car so I obviously don’t have the money or the style to be a lady who lunches. I have no idea what spavins are so can’t join the hunt.
And none of that bothered me one iota until of course I had the temerity to start organising the PTA. And it’s not as if I even wanted to – I got lumped with it! Basically I do have office skills of a sort and I am curious by nature so when the PTA was looking for someone to take minutes I thought: “Why not?”
I tell you pure vanity got me into this mess!
Everything was going along nicely, I was able to make a difference get things organised and running smoothly. It seemed a doddle. So when the nominal chair had a fit of the vapours (basically got thwarted) and she said had to resign, I landed up in the chair and everyone was so terribly nice. I almost got carried away with it all suddenly finding myself popular, with people actually listening to what I said rather than doing their best to pretend I wasn’t there. I started to garner a kind f respect and it was all very, very, gratifying.
However, these things end and there was the inevitable coup. It was done beautifully and I applaud the Queen Bee. It was so totally typical and so totally school.
Having finally got everyone thinking about costs and focussing attention on where we could actually raise money all there was to do was sell tickets. But inevitably that did not happen and with two weeks to go not enough were sold. So back from the sidelines the Queen Bee comes into rescue the situation and the whole event lands up back in her capable hands. It’s was amazing how quickly she got her acolytes back on the job and ticket sales soared. It was genius!
Basically I don’t think I am or was ever cut out for the cut and thrust of school gate politics…

17 comments:

Diney said...

You are so right about the different types! I thought I wouldn't let it get to me the 2nd time around, being all mature and all this time, but it is still just the same sort of pecking order (at a different school) - those that are in with the staff, others who never will be.Frankly, now I don't give a damn - I have loads of friends away from the school gate so I just make pleasantries to those I have to (mothers of daughter's special friends)and move on.

Tattie Weasle said...

Diney - I tried to be so cool about it and just one tiny slip! Pure vanity on my part though...;)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I cheated . Took myself off to a foreign country where the exact nuances of what , if anything , was being said about us took a while to understand . Everyone was very polite and far too kind to mention any shortcomings . My children were also too considerate to mention my lack of suitability , luckily . So by the time I realised how little I fit in , I was too busy to care .

blackbird said...

I've had it both ways- young, busy working mom with my eldest and, I hate to say, a sort of a queen bee with my youngest- 10 years apart. Not in any kind of social way outside of school but, in school, yes. The side effect of having time to volunteer and to be at school. Sort of like a whirlpool sucking you in.

I always tried to involve everyone with no pecking order at all but that wasn't on everyone's agenda. I learned a lot about human nature and how to recognize control freaks of all kinds. I'm glad that I'm out of it now.

Jude said...

I think I too definitely fall into the 'odd and peculiar' category. I'm shy by nature and don't get that involved (haven't got the time anyway) but although being on the sidelines makes me feel a little uncomfortable at times, I have absolutely no desire to be part of the cliques.

Tattie Weasle said...

Smitonius&Sonata - the thought has crossed my mind...
Blackbird - you are so right with the whirlpool analogy and yes it does depend on the hidden agendas...
Jude - thing was I didn't know I was in a clique but it did feel nice to belong for once even if it wasn't really real..back to normal and feeling perfectly OK. Least I don't have to worry about my appearance now! :)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Absolutely love this post! You could almost be writing it from my heart, as well as your own. I tried to get involved with the PTA too a long time ago (all at Amy's first school, the middle school is streets ahead and a much better environment etc) but I didn't feel accepted, I sat on the edge of the circle of the table and was ignored all night. So I didn't go again, tried it twice and that was enough!

School gates; Ha, that was a joke too! Cliques and gangs absolutely and exactly as you have described. By the time Amy had reached Yr 4 (the final yr) I didn't even bother to make an effort because I knew there was no point.

It makes one think about home-schooling doesn't it...!

CJ xx

bodran... said...

I was ignored for ages poor things didn't know what they where missing!! but i was just sooooooo nice to them all, Cos i'm much better than them..I Never ever involved myself with school politics i left that to the ones who thought they were clever. what a laugh!
W

Tattie Weasle said...

CJ - Home schooling sometimes seems a distinct possibility but then I thibnk of all the rgreat people I've met...so it's not all bad and anyway I refuse to be browbeaten!
Bodran - they def didn't know what they were missing 'cos you're luvlee! My big problem with politics is that I think I do know what to do - well in theory at any rate - and so therefore think it can be circumnavigated only to realise that in parctice all I can think of is school and I become as tongue tied and stoopid as I was then...perhaps I should just leave the school runs to Charlie???

ELS said...

This is fantastic and I could have written it myself! Thanks for the tip though - have always felt so very inferior to the queen bee SAHM who always know what day it is and are forever lending me buckets and spare hats. I will take comfort from your insecurities in the worst possible way and cultivate my air of Paxman-like intelligence and froideur of a working mum. Suck on THAT, Alpha mums.

You can take the mummies out of the playground...

Ladybird World Mother said...

Ouch. Can't people be just awful.
Not sure what category I am in... normal??!! Know so well all those categories you write about... although at our little country school (62 pupils) we really don't have the awfulness of it like you do. The school only has 40 families who attend, and you get to know everyone so well that the categories kind of fall away. Some mothers buy out of all of that, but most mix in and we all get on rather well. Good for you for making that event happen in the first place, and good for you for being big enough to stand back to let old Queen Bee back again.
Oh, well, makes life interesting I suppose. xxxxx

Tattie Weasle said...

ELS - so glad to be of use insecurities and all!
LadybirdWorldMother - I am thinking of taking a bet out on time taken for QB to have another hissy fit and threatening to pull out, I could make it an accumulator with the time taken to come back in again etc I'd say as the pressure mounts I should get a roll of at least five before the event takes place now all I've got to do is find someone willing to accept the bet...now that would make life interesting!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I am so not looking forward to Adam starting school. I am not going to do well in the school gate stakes. And if QB wants to do it so badly, well, I say let her!

Pondside said...

Yikes, Tattie - an ocean and a continent away and you have described the cliques in the school yard here so well! There aren't any mothers who ride or hunt but you could substitute any number of other activities that describe them. I think that if I'd been in a clique it would have been yours!

Tattie Weasle said...

Brit in Bosnia - you could do a wonderful pen sketch of them it really brings tehm down to size and looking in it is rather funny!
Pondside - welcome you with open arms - and some chocolate, wine....!

Exmoorjane said...

Oh God, yes,yes,yes.... Think I'm in the weird category for sure...

by the way,you've been tagged...should have been a Monday memory meme but clean forgot and posted it today!
jxxx

Tattie Weasle said...

Jane - I think all the best people are wierd or at least all the people I know and like are anyway! THanks for the Meme shall endeavour to think of something for Monday!

Go on you know you want to...

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