As most of you know we moved areas just before the start of the year. So my children started new schools in January. Daisy has joined a local primary school that is 6 times bigger than her old school, so it’s a big old primary school with different playgrounds for certain year groups. As she’s in Year 4, her playground is relatively busy with several hundred children in. Daisy is finding it tough to settle in and find her place in the school and so we’re having to allocate more time to her at the moment emotionally and helping her keep positive. It got me thinking when I watch her walk in a little heavy hearted that she’s missing her old much-loved primary school. I can totally relate to her, as I moved schools about 3 times between the ages of 7 and 11 due to house moves and so I know how lonely and unknown it can be at times. I’m also in the same boat every time we move as I too have to find a new network of friends and acquaintances. I’m trying hard not to transmit my own unsettled thoughts on to Daisy and give her a more positive outlook on it all. So where best to air my true feelings than on here, my online journal.
I can honestly say, bar one Mum who after a few weeks of meeting have now emigrated back to Australia, no other adults seem to have even noticed my presence in the playground let alone smiled at me. I have stood in a couple of different places in the playground looking around with that slightly keen newbie look on my face, and nope, nothing. I’m struggling to even have much eye contact from anyone. I know it takes time but if someone could at least give me a nod or a gesture it could give me hope that I may get to have a conversation with someone over 4! Being a stay at home work from home Mum it can somedays be hard to get out and about and have that brief interaction with other grown ups. I suppose this is one reason why I have such a much-needed network of online friends now. For me the playground has always been a place where I can have a quick moan about my day, a good laugh, or dare I say it – a bit of gossip that’s going around; a heads up on what your Child’s teachers are like or even a cry on sleep deprived days. Yes I may have shed a hormonal tear or two on the school run, pretending it’s the wind in my eyes, or hiding it under sunglasses! It means your children get to know other children better through your own network of friends. There are always a few parents/carers that I haven’t gelled with over the years, but that’s just like any social aspect of life. On the whole some of my lifelong friendships have been made through standing in the playground, and on days where I’m stuck indoors, that 15 minute chat is just what I have needed to keep me slightly sane until Dougie returns home. We have always attended schools that have a high proportion of military families and so I suppose we’re all in the same boat and know how it is to be the ‘new Mum on the block’. This time around the school is predominately civilian, so I guess the parents/carers have known each other for a long time and so have set group friendships. Maybe it’s because she’s in Junior school that the children are that more independent at drop off and pick up so you’re not thrust into a cloakroom corridor every morning, politely making the small talk that then turns into a valued friendship. There is the odd sleep deprived day that I’m stood in the playground feeling lonely and thinking thoughts of ending the moving and having a forever home, being able to settle down and make permanent roots. Then there are days where I accept that this is our life and yes we really do make the best of every move after we’ve had that initial settling in period and I tell myself to pull up my big girls pants and remind myself that I’m supposed to be the adult and should just accept that I don’t need playground interaction to survive the day. There is a positive to every situation and that is I can listen to Teddy’s nursery tales as soon as he’s collected and have that much needed debrief from Daisy about her day without telling them to wait until I have finished chatting!
I’m still hoping that someone, maybe even a new parent, will interact with me in Daisy’s playground at some point soon. Maybe they will feel obliged to return my smile. Or I’m really hopeful once Teddy starts Reception with all the other little newbie school starters, that there may be some friendly faces to chat to occasionally, and hopefully in a year’s time I will be writing a post all about new friendships from the children’s school. If not I will just keep pulling my big girls pants up and enjoy my own children’s rundown of their day. I also know that I’m not the only lonely parent/carer in the playground and that somehow it has this habit of transporting us back to our own childhood experiences of playgrounds, and that there are plenty of school playgrounds where the parents/ carers aren’t always having a positive kind of interaction. So to those of you struggling in a new or old playground, I hear you and lets try look for positives as we’ve got this! To those who are totally at ease and have a good network at school then just throw the lonely looking/ keen smiler/ new person a smile, nod or even better a hello.
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