I’ve always found it hard to be a mum at the school gates. When I was a working mum, I didn’t do the school run all that often, meaning that any chances to get to know the other mums were fairly few and far between. There was a period of a few months during Big’s nursery year when I’d had Small and was on maternity leave, so that’s when I really got to know some of the other parents better, and there is a small group of mums in Big’s class with whom I socialise from time to time (when one of us (it’s never me!) can be bothered to get us organised!).
Again, when Small started nursery last year, it was my Dad who did most of the taking and collecting, and I only saw other parents on my one day off, so didn’t really get to know anyone too well. It was only towards the end of the year, when we had connected on social media, that I began to know them better. And then, due to her special educational needs, Small remained in nursery while all her friends moved into school proper, and now I’m back to square one with not knowing anyone.
Now I’m a stay-at-home mum and whilst I love being able to be the one to take the kids to school, I hate standing in the playground every morning, waiting for the nursery door to open. It’s like being back at school again myself, only I had a decent amount of friends at school and never really felt lonely or left out. I see other mums arriving and greeting each other – they clearly know each other from before – and I wish I could be one of those confident people who can just walk up to a group, or even just another person and get chatting.
But I’m not. I’m socially awkward and anxious and I find conversation so bloody difficult, especially if I don’t know someone very well. I feel old compared to many of them, and usually end up chatting to a couple of the grandparents instead, but that’s only because they know my Dad, or because my husband has chatted to them before (he can talk to anyone, anywhere!) I remember when Big was little (ha!) it was going to birthday parties that really helped, but so far there have been no invites and Small may never be invited anyway, as she’s a bit ‘different’.
So, for now, I’ll keep standing on my own, feeling awkward, looking longingly at last years’ parents heading through the other gate towards Reception, hoping that one day I’ll pluck up the courage to speak to someone, or that someone will take pity on me and say ‘hello’.