With the school year about to start next week, I have noticed that there is talk and worry in various online groups and social media circles with mums of children starting school for the first time. Their worries aren't just extended to their children having a successful start to school, but they are also concerned about themselves, and navigating what some perceive as the "school yard mummy scene".
It possibly doesn't help when there is on line and social media sharing and publishing of styling tips for "school mums" with suggestions that you want to look like you made an effort but not too much of an effort. What's wrong with too much effort, I ask? There is quite a bit of nervous conversation around (like there is every year) about school mums making new friends with their children's friends and concern about cliques, attitudes, opinions and parenting styles.
So if you're concerned about this new phase in your mummy life I want to share a few things with you and encourage you to leave your worries at home before you head out the door to take your special little person to their first day of school.
First up these schooling years are long and if we just think of primary school for now, you've got a good seven years ahead of you with mostly the some kids and families you will be seeing day in day out, week after week of the school year until you start thinking about high schools.
Seven years is a long time, so be open to forming friendships with other school mums, you'll need them believe me! You will need other mummy friends when the chips are down and you're too sick to get out of bed and your partner has gone to work and the kids have to get to school. These will be the angels that will swoop in save the day, manage the kids for you and drop you off an easy dinner for that night so you can recoup as quickly as possible.
Don't worry although it may seem daunting believe me you will find your tribe of mummy friends that you fit and gel with and you might be surprised how diverse you all are. Of course certain personalities will be attracted to one another, both good and bad, but that's life and just one of those things so don't waste your time with questioning it. These days everyone seems to have an opinion, which I have felt the public confrontation of, but at the end of the day someones opinion of me is none of my business and it's a clear indicator to me that it is not someone I would want in my mummy tribe.
Please don't hide who you are, the passions you have, down play your style or fashion tastes or your parenting styles to make others feel comfortable or to be accepted. Be true to yourself and attract those to you that genuinely have an interest in who you are as a person, this will be the foundation of forming friendships of trust and understanding.
Since Cohen started prep three years ago now I have ended up with an awesome tribe of mummy friends and we are an incredibly diverse group of women. Within our group we have varied ages, religions, relationships, home lives and family structures, some of us have one child, some of us have two or more and some of us have children with additional needs. The list goes on, but boy oh boy are they an awesome bunch of women to have in a tribe and we all have genuine care and concern for each other and each others children.
Just remember aside from your family that you wake up seeing every day, your school mummy friends are the next group of people you will see the most of with the exception of workmates if you are also a working mum (and if you are a working mum, power to you and that juggle you're a rock star in my books). It'll be one of the women in your tribe who you will need to call on when you just can't make it that school event, assembly, carnival because you're working or bed ridden with the flu. It will be one of your tribeswomen who will be sure to take photos and clap and encourage your child in your absence and send you a text message and photos to show you that everything is okay.
Next week when school goes back and on that first afternoon you go into school to collect your child from their first day you'll find yourself standing outside the classroom. Take a breath and have a look around there will be a lot of people looking nervous and shy about this new journey and where it will take them. So smile, be brave, be you and remember there's little people watching, they're always watching and you're the greatest example of being open, accepting and understanding of other people despite differences.