Prepare yourself for a monster post on a topic I don't usually blog about. It's not about Milo or even babies.. it's about the bullies that are waiting for you at the school gates when you least expect them!
I didn't have he easiest time at school. I wasn't very 'popular' but i wasn't a 'geek' or a 'rebel' either, my friends and I of sat in a kind of in-between group. I was bullied for most of my school life in some way shape or form, sometimes it was as trivia and sometimes it really wasn't. Because of this I couldn't wait to escape in to the real (working) world as soon as possible. So when I left school at 16 I thought I was leaving all those girls behind me and for nearly 10 years I did. Yes I encountered the odd bitchy co-worker but they're usually universally disliked and a good source of gossip and boding between the other, more normal colleagues. Not until Ella went to School did I realise where they'd all been hiding.
Given that I had Ella at 19 I had anticipated all of the other Mums to be older than me but where we live it's a nice (read posh - we rent) area and it would seem that they are the kind of folks that got their lives together and were financially secure before having kids. This means that they are all well in to their 30s, some pushing 40 (or already there) and practically a totally different generation. So for the first year of Ella's school life I was ignored. I didn't do a lot of picking up and dropping off as I was working full time but still when I waited there amongst the chatting masses nobody said a word to me. When I was visibly pregnant people started to strike up conversations. I'm not sure if they thought it was more acceptable or if they had found their ice breaker but suddenly everyone was interested and you can only imagine once Milo was born.. I had a new posse of "friends".
So morning and afternoon I would rock up at school and make mundane small talk with women I had nothing in common with and I felt oddly accepted. Ella had play dates and I even agreed to take one girl to school once a week to help out a working Mum who was pushed for a baby sitter. I offered.. I didn't have to but I did. I should probably mention at this point that said little girl is not a nice little girl. She has been a thorn in my side since they first started in September 2010. There's quite a back story but in a nutshell I requested Ella be moved classes before the start of the last school year to avoid them socialising. We've all known a girl like her, they don't change and unfortunately for Ella chances are she will know her for at least another 10 years. The classes remained and bizarrely the two of them became friends so I thought I'd give the kid another chance. I was wrong.
One day a couple of weeks ago Ella came out of school in tears telling me this child had been picking on her. WELL... pissed off is not the word! That very morning she had sat at my kitchen table eating breakfast with my family and then she has the audacity to be unkind to my daughter? I don't think so! This behaviour had been going on for a very long time and I had held my tongue hoping Ella would stand up for herself and be more assertive but I could hold my tongue no more. I laid in to the kid (not physically of course, I was more than arms length away) I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not tolerate her bullying Ella any longer, that she wouldn't like it if the situation was reversed and that I was wholly disappointed given that I'd taken her to school that day, I was doing her mum a favour!
What I said I said in front of a huge group of parents, It was nothing I wouldn't say again and I did not shout. I may have been a touch menacing in my tone but rest assured... that was intentional!
I left, furious and stormed home. Moments later the child's Dad appears on my doorstep giving me what for. He tells me his daughter is upset and that other parents were asking what she had done. This man came to me angry I had disciplined his daughter (his job by the way) and he left telling me that they didn't know what they were going to do with her. He knew within 5 minutes that she was wrong and I was defending my child. That was the day before half term.
I turned up yesterday morning (first day of term) to be frozen out by every parent in that playground. The Mummy Mafia. What behaviour is that for "adults"? What hope do these peoples children have of growing up to be mature and well rounded with parents like that? I may have flown off the handle but I was teaching my daughter to stand up for what's right and not to put up with someone picking on you. What they are doing now is setting a far worse example. Ella tells me that she and the girl are friends again now and that's fine (though I'd rather they weren't) but the girl cowers behind her Mum when she sees me. Is it terrible that I'm pleased?
As long as she's scared of me she won't dare be mean to Ella and although my intention wasn't to scare her if that's the outcome.. I'm okay with it! The Playground Politics will continue I'm sure but being a grown up I am equipped to deal with bullies better than my 6 year old so rather me than her!
I guess I'll have another chance at being the 'good parent' when Milo starts school rather than a social pariah/loose Canon Mother that everyone freezes out!