It’s pretty damn hard being a mum in this day and age.
There’s so much expectation to be the perfect parent, the doting wife or partner, having a successful career whilst ensuring you are also very present in the lives of your children. It’s a tough gig and if you’re anything like me you feel like you’re failing at most of the above 99% of the time.
We are our own worst enemies. But, to be honest there’s a lot of school mums out there who don’t help the situation either. They get in cliques and when you’re new to the school it’s really difficult to find your spot and feel comfortable among your parenting peers. Just as children find it overwhelming to start school, it can often be the same for mums.
I’ll admit it; my parenting style is fairly relaxed. I never know when homework is due, what day swimming is and we are late a lot of the time. It’s not because I don’t care; it’s just who I am and in turn my kids are the same; even if they don’t want to be. I try. I really do to make sure we are organised, but I swear I just don’t know what happens every morning.
Well actually I do. I spend it yelling loudly while drinking cold coffee and hoping that lost shoe will magically appear.
I ask over and over if everyone has brushed their teeth, their hair and if they have everything ready for school. Everyone yells “Yes!” and the older 2 race to the car arguing about who is in the front seat. I chase my 3 year old around the house to put pants on and when we finally get on the road, someone forgot their library books.
I’m not one of those mums who’s at the school constantly…
I don’t volunteer at the tuckshop or for reading rotations. I don’t stop and chat much with other mums in the morning or after school, and it’s not because I don’t want to. I literally turn up and slow down just enough to ensure my kids don’t get gravel rash as I boot them from my car. I speed off, blow a kiss and pretty much hope for the best. Then go about my busy day.
I have realised my choice in music is highly inappropriate for school pick up and drop off times… and I’m not even sorry. Swearing while singing is different to just normal swearing in our house. Projects are generally late and I’m the mum who throws a sheet over my kid on book week dress up day cause we forgot it was even on. He’s a ghost okay!
I forget days I’m supposed to be there to watch my children get awards and send them to school in their uniform for free dress.
But despite all of that I’m not a shitty parent.
I am busy, my kids are busy and we do a fucking lot between the hours of 6:00am and 7:30pm. My kids swim, do gymnastics, play cricket and train for all of them. I work full time hours and try keeping the house at least semi-liveable. Kids want feeding every day apparently, even though they complain about what I cook. I don’t have a lot of money and we do what we can to make shit work. I honestly don’t have time to pretend I’m the epitome of parenting perfection.
But what do mums like me get in return?
Judgy school mums whose holier than thou perspective of themselves absolutely pisses me off. I’m not talking about the ones who at least smile if they see you. The ones that say G’day or attempt to give you a wave while you whisk past them in the tuck shop. Or the ones who offer to drop your kid to training because they know you have to be in 3 places at once. Those women are gold.
I’m talking about the mums who alienate you from conversation.
The ones who stand in groups with their backs to you while waiting for assembly to start. I am talking about the ones who are able to help at the school, but frown on you for never having been to one of your child’s reading rotations. Even though they have no idea why. The ones who look you up and down as you fall from your filthy car in Ugg boots and un-brushed hair. Whose children’s book week costume is more OTT than every outfit worn in ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’.
I seriously just can’t keep up and your shitty judging attitudes can literally go eat a dick.
Women are bitches. What’s worse than a woman being a bitch? A school yard full of the same kind of women who are bitches together. You may not say anything with your mouth (to my face), but you can’t hide your scowl. Your disapproval of my disorganised parenting really isn’t appreciated.
In a time when women really need each other why is there so much judgement thrown around in the school yard. Why do some women feel it’s their place to reiterate to another mum, who already feels like she’s drowning, that her efforts are inadequate? Why does volunteering for tuck shop make you a better mum than me? And what gives you the right to believe so or talk about me like you’d know?
It’s actual utter bullshit and I’m kind of sick of it. So here’s the truth. There’s so much emphasis in our daily lives to be perfect parents; mums are arseholes to each other out of fear. Judgy school yard mums don’t have their shit together at all, they just hide it better than the rest of us. They care more about their child’s book week costume than they do about how their child copes socially and it makes for a very shallow parenting strategy, passed directly onto their children.
Arsehole parents bring up arsehole children.
How do I know? Because my kids didn’t care about their book week costume until your child said theirs was stupid. My child loved school until your child said my daughter couldn’t sit with her. My son couldn’t wait for cricket training until your child told him he couldn’t bowl. And my kids loved swimming until your kids told them their goggles weren’t cool. And that’s not fair.
I never walked into the schoolyard with my children thinking I was a better parent than anyone. I never walked into the schoolyard with my children believing that you were a better parent than me. I walked into the schoolyard with my children excited for their new chapter in life and mine. I just didn’t realise it would be one of the most competitive and shallow social experiences I’d have as an adult.
So, if you are one of these mums — and don’t pretend like you don’t know — chances are, at some stage, I admired you.
You always looked amazing when I saw you in the mornings. You were in the tuck shop talking with not a hair out of place. I wished I had the time to join the P&C just like you and loved the handmade Tinkerbell Costume your daughter wore for book week.
But things have changed now…
I’ve realised that every time I waved and you ignored me. When you turned your back on me that morning waiting for assembly. When you declined my daughter’s invitation to have yours for a sleep over and the day your son called mine a sook.
It was no longer admiration I had. It was pity. Those parenting standards you set aren’t mine to reach; they’re yours, and that must be really fucking hard work. But I am grateful. Because without judgy school yard mums like you, I would never have been able to appreciate the kind of mother I’ve become.
So for every mum who’s winging it in the school yard be proud. Loving your kids is enough.
Kids learn by example and if being a mess of a mother who never misses a moment to kiss and cuddle her children, even if that means they’ll be late, so be it. It will be my child in the playground sticking up for yours when they’re being picked on. Unlike you, I’m not here to raise arseholes that wear fancy book week costumes. I’m here to raise fierce, independent, kindhearted warriors that will change the world.