You may remember a little while ago there was a school that asked parents not to wear pyjamas while dropping children off at school. There may be exceptional and occasional extenuating circumstance, but I thought that this was fair enough.
More recently, a headmistress was forced to write to parents (mothers particularly) saying that turning up smelling of drink, or smoking weed at the school gates, was not acceptable. I thought that was pretty funny. Must have embarrassed a few of the Chablis mums, I imagine.
I’m going to turn now to something that keeps on cropping up in the press. It’s the problem of bullying at school. Not children bullying other children. Parents bullying other parents. I find this incomprehensible.
Apparently there’s a growing trend for groups of Scrummymummies to sneer at the mere mortals. The Scrummymummies arrive in full warpaint, with perfectly coiffed hair, designer bags and shoes, labelslut clothes, form a cabal, and take the piss out of normal mothers. Or out of their unfortunate offspring should they not be dressed to the correct standard.
I went to school in the 50s, and the UK was still reeling from the after effects of WWII. Just about every item of clothing I had I inherited from my elder siblings. My mum was adept at darning, patching, unpicking old woollens to re-use the wool for new clothes. Everybody was as it. If I needed a new pair of shoes and my elder bro hadn’t quite outgrown his ready for the hand down, it was a big thing.
All the children looked like that, clean but a bit dishevelled. Mums had a day dress and a posh dress, and that was about it. When the six of us went away on holiday for two weeks, we had two suitcases between all of us.
How we got from the priority being warm and dry, to being seen to be a fashionista on the school run, is a mystery. According to Mumsnet (a source I advise you treat with a degree of caution) a third of mothers became anxious at pickup time because of bullying by their peers, and a fifth had witnessed other parents being bullied. Maybe sneering is the way women act aggressively when a proper grownup, bitch-slapping catfight would disturb their hair and endanger their manicure.
Go back to swapping recipes, not insults, might be a start.