As regular readers know I used to be a Deputy Head and class teacher for 22 years and as a Mum too who used to stand outside the school gate waiting for my kids I used to overhear lots of gossip, mis – information and down right unkind comments sometimes.
Here’s an article about what we as teachers used to call “The Playground Mafia”
“Playground name-calling, gangs of spiteful bullies lying in wait for their victim at the school gate. No, not the children, their scheming mothers:
Heather Collins, a 34-year-old mother-of-two from Hampstead, North London, wasn’t considered ‘suitable’ by some of the other mothers at her son’s primary school.
Several of the class reps and PTA members felt her skirts were too short, her vowels too flat and her son, Ben, too scruffy. Heather was well aware of their disapproval, but decided to ignore it as idle gossip from women who had too little to talk about in their own lives. Plus, she figured, Ben was happy at the school and she didn’t have to mix with these women.
But the gossip didn’t end there.
‘I remember clearly the day when Ben said he didn’t want to go to school because the other children wouldn’t play with him because their mummies wouldn’t let them,’ says Heather.
‘His teacher spoke to me about the situation. She said she couldn’t do anything about the bickering among the mums, but would be able to help Ben and discipline the children.
‘After a few weeks, it came to a head when two PTA members sent their husbands round to tell my partner that I had been having a series of affairs with men while he was working abroad and that it was letting down the reputation of the school.
‘I think it was at that point I felt the petty playground politics had gone too far. I wanted to kill the bitches. I wanted to take Ben out of school that minute.
‘Fortunately, the teachers were fantastic with the children and, ironically, the mothers who sent their husbands round to my home have moved their children to another school.’
Have you heard of stories where competitive parenting takes on a new dimension of ruthlessness?
There are thousands more stories about over-zealous, competitive parents …….