Friday, 5 October 2012

The Playground Wars

I've absolutely had it with the other mums at the park. Today my daughter tried to join a group of kids doodling on the ground and they instinctively closed ranks, snatching up their measly little stubs of chalk to stop her from joining in. Apparently, this kind of cliquey behavior extends well beyond the age of five. Some mums are in and some of us would definitely be the last ones chosen for the rounders team.

The Converse trainers + Armani bag mums are totally in. They're the kind who are rolling in dosh, but who like to keep their footwear casual to show how young and 'street' they really are. Except, that is, for the €200 designer wellies they wear when it's wet. Their children are all obviously made of sugar as - despite the wellies - they all disappear as soon there's the merest hint of the possibility of a sniff of rain. I've seen the whole playground empty in approx. 33 seconds, mums and tots tearing at their hair and wailing 'it's raining, it's raining!' before I've felt even one drop. Not since the Wicked Witch of the West has anyone been so utterly terrified of water. Curiously, these mums often let their sons' hair grow really long which causes me to mistake them for girls and which may be the actual reason why I'm not allowed in their gang. Other potential reasons include:

1) I spend too much time hurtling round the playground yelling 'Isabel, get down from there NOW/Isabel stop that NOW/Isabel come back here NOW' etc etc for anyone to have a chance to make friends.
2) it's a foreigner thing. Too much hard work to get to know a foreigner. Foreigners also steal our men and don't use the bidet. Shudder.
3) I'm not friendly enough. (I just put that one to show how fair and unbiased this post is. Actually, I do have some friends at the park, they just happen to be nearly all other non-Italians).
4) their conversation is sooooo boring that they're embarrassed to let me join in.
5) they're just bitches.

I mean, come on. We all go to the same playground every afternoon, see the same faces, we're all suffering from the same sleepless nights and terrible twos and flippin' awful fives etc. A little mummy-solidarity, per favore. I'm forever smiling and saying 'hello' and 'how are you?' and 'hasn't she grown! I mean he, of course I meant to say he..'. You'd think I was asking them to donate a kidney, not pick their brains about bikes with stabilizers versus bikes with no pedals and other such burning childcare issues.

I may follow in Isabel's size five and half Tesco's plimsoll footsteps. After being snubbed by that group of children, she sauntered off and stole some kid's tricycle. Then, when she got bored with that (about two minutes) she casually got her own massive chunky chalks out and made the others really jealous.


DebonaireDad said...

I can completely sympathise with this - I get it as well, although in my case I'm not just a foreigner, but I'm a man as well and what could a man possibly know about raising kids or just hanging out in the park? Sometimes I think they are just frightened of having a guy around! I loved your comment about "their boring conversations" - made me chuckle. Luckily I've found a friendlier park with friendlier people now ;-)

Anonymous said...

With you on this one....Had to move region before finding a friendly playground!Most of the time it's just me and another Brit mum too - because for some reaon we seem to be the only ones that dress our kids appropriately ... and the only ones that have ever bought a raincoat....

Michelle said...

This makes me feel better. I thought I was just being subjected to the typical Florentine snobbiness! I'm totally with you, parenting toddlers is hard enough without also having to deal with highschool-like behaviour from fellow mums. Sigh.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Oh, how I hated those mothers when I had young children. I hated the snobbery, the superiority, and the looking down the noses. I am just a plain, ordinary person who, yes, yelled at her kids occasionally, and - horror of horrors - was broke and bought half their clothes at jumble sales!

Fret not, my dear. Those other mothers are probably not worth knowing. They'd bore you rigid within minutes if they did open ranks to you.