This post originally appeared on http://www.realmumsrevolution.com.au
Why it was important to make new friends when my child started school
When my son started school last year I am not sure who was more nervous, him for starting school or me at the prospect of having to make ‘school mum’ friends. The thought terrified me and I felt like a tantruming 5-year-old refusing to put my shoes on and go to school!
And, well to be honest as I am not one of those mums who has it all together all the time.
I am not perfectly manicured at 8 am and certainly don’t look like I’ve stepped out of a photo shoot at school drop off, and don’t get me started on what I look like by the end of the day. Let’s just say I look ‘tired’ to be polite.
The thought of dealing with what feels like those old high school clicks with the mums who think they run the school and have been around for a while was daunting. I mean I am a grown woman who is assertive and intelligent and I can’t stand bullies nor do I tolerate them but when it comes to the politics of school communities there is always a tread lightly approach, especially for newcomers finding their feet.
I am not exaggerating when I say I spent the first 3 terms keeping to myself, politely saying hello to most people and sitting awkwardly on my mobile while waiting for the bell to ring.
But then I looked up and noticed so many others doing the same, everyone feeling awkward and being polite and occasionally making small talk until suddenly it wasn’t awkward anymore and found common ground to talk about.
All of a sudden I was surrounded by this lovely bunch of women who were just like me. We weren’t trying to impress anyone, we were all just ourselves, honest and authentic.
There was no pretentious parenting advice or one-upping one another. To my delight, we laughed at our bad parenting moments or epic parenting fails.
There was no helicopter parenting, just chilled out mums who had similar views on how to raise kids and not be precious about it.
We shared laughter, helped one another remember class milestones and events that we missed from newsletters and the occasional SOS when one of us was running late at the end of the day.
What was once a scary prospect of making new grown-up friends suddenly became a band of merry rebel mummas who enjoyed one another’s company.
Play dates and catch ups after hours were no longer a daunting prospect but instead a great chance to chat and relax while the kids wore themselves out.
In fact, we now plan ‘playdates’ with the kids so we can catch up for a coffee!
People talk about finding their tribes and everyone needs a school mum’s tribe to rely on.
Others who can remind you its casual day so you don’t send your child in uniform, to remind you what colour house they’re in for sports day, and to lend each other emergency costumes because you forgot it’s book week, again!
What I’ve learnt is that you don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not, if you’re one of those rebel mummas who don’t fit in with the Stepford Wives Club then find your likeminded tribeswomen and revel in your authenticity, be you and be proud of it and you will attract your kind.
So if you’re still in the solo zone at school, sitting in your car or focusing on your phone until the bell goes then it’s time to be brave, pull up your big girl panties and go and find your new tribe.
Who knows what amazing things may follow, what new friendships may bloom? And the silver lining… you’ll be setting a great example for your child about how to be brave and make new friends.