I'm 38, not eight, and while I thought I had left the playground bitching behind when I left school twenty years ago, it seems I was wrong. Very wrong.
In the four years I have had children at school I have discovered just how bitchy and bullying school mums can be. Oh I have made some lovely friends who I love meeting up with, not just because of our children but because we really get on brilliantly. But then there are the bitchy mums – the ones who stand and whisper, looking over while they gather round their cauldron, going deadly silent when I approach.
At this point I must admit to being a bit dumb at times. I'm not very good at noticing when someone is ignoring me. Two of my four children are school age so my main concern in the morning is to ensure that I dispatch the correct children.
But really there is some behaviour even I can't ignore. Currently there is one mum who regularly bares her teeth at me, glares at me and shows a huge amount of animosity towards me. Attempts to befriend have been thrown back in my face and I am now at the stage where I honestly don't care. In fact if she wanted to befriend me, it would terrify me.
My ability to laugh this strange behaviour off is related to the fact that I know I'm not alone. Speaking with various friends throughout the country many have similar tales to tell.
Take my friend Saskia for instance. She organised a party, invited all the school mums, spent a fortune on alcohol and sat back expecting a good night. School mums came in, drank all her alcohol (in the kitchen away from the party) and then promptly left en masse at ten o'clock. This had been prearranged with Chief Bitchy Mum whose house they were going to.
My friend Catrina felt that the cliquey group of mums from her son's year group looked down on her, making assumptions because she was younger. She says, "I have never met such rude people and my heart used to literally sink at the idea of being in the playground at home time when I knew I would be completely ignored. I know it wasn't me because numerous other mums have mentioned how awful this clique were. They would literally only talk to me at Christmas or summer when it was time to make a collection for the teachers, then it was a case of 'give us some money or you can't sign the card'."
But as an adult things are a bit different and I have found that it really doesn't bother me like it would a child. My husband and I can sit and shake our heads and laugh at the immaturity of some parents. And with friends I can swap stories, each more bizarre than the last. As long as our children don't realise that they have not been invited to a birthday party because their mum doesn't like us, then that's all that matters.
But as a mum to an eight year old girl I do feel a bit sad when she complains about someone being horrible to her at school and I have to leave her with the mistaken belief that grown ups don't act like this.
Hopefully she will be like me, finding the behaviour slightly amusing and timing the school run to arrive just as the bell goes, with no time to chat.
Scariest playground mums and their tactics
Head honcho: May be involved in the PTA or other school related activities. Head honcho makes her presence known and is never seen on her own. Conversations will be more like interviews with her gleaming required information from you quickly and effectively.
The Clique: Are sure that power comes with the pack. The Clique will make it obvious they are speaking about you by glancing over and going silent on your approach. When separated from the group, members can appear nice on the surface, but always look guilty when chatting.
Muzzle Mum: So called because she growls and snarls so much you consider calling the RSPCA. Muzzle Mum acts so unfriendly and is so obviously nasty that you wonder why anyone would ever talk to her voluntarily. Her main weapon is her face, which can change to a beaming smile and an overbearing welcome when the right person comes along.
Also on Parentdish: Help! It's the school fete
Does this ring true for you?
Have you found yourself ostracised by the school clique?
Do you feel paranoid at playground pick-up?