She was apprehensive as she walked toward the school entrance. The nervousness seemed to multiply with every cautious step. Around her were other people, huddled in small groups, whispering, looking at her. Nothing like being the new girl on the first day of school, she sighed. She could feel their eyes working their way up and down as she took each step. Suddenly, she wondered if she wore the right thing. Do I look too casual? Was it a mistake to wear just yoga pants and Uggs? It was seven A.M. after all, and she had woken up early that day to make sure everything was in order.
The stares and whispers increased. She began to notice everyone else was all done-up; hair coiffed, jewelry in place. They were dressed to the nines- gorgeous leather Stuart Weitzman heeled boots, Burberry trenches and soft wrapped scarves. Ok, she thought. I guess I need to start dressing up for school.
Then a soft voice interrupted her thoughts, “Mommy? I think my classroom is over there.”
I don’t know if this is how the story transpired when my friend Kathy took her son to his first day of Kindergarten at the private elementary school he attended, but this is how I imagined it went down. Kathy and I are very old friends. We’ve seen and been through many things together and have great memories. She’s now married with children, her oldest, in Kindergarten.
When she told me that she felt like a freshman in high school all over again once her oldest started attending elementary school… I couldn’t believe it. What? Who ever said you had to go through the whole awkward-where-do-I-fit-in-what-are-these-cliques thing that we went through in middle school and high school? No one told me about this before. No one told her. She was caught off guard.
As we talked further, I realized that this is very real. Especially in the private school world, where your kids are no longer going to school with the kids they grew up with in the neighborhood or preschool. A place where comparisons run rampant and keeping up with the Joneses is more like keeping up with the catty Kardashians. These little ones are starting over from square one- and they seem to be having an easier time fitting in than the Moms.
When Kathy told me that there were already Mom cliques that had formed… i.e. Moms that knew each other from whatever- barre class, older siblings already in this school (and that they got to school every morning in their hottest looks), well this left Kathy feeling a little lost, an outsider and not hot.
You have to understand, Kathy is not only warm, smart, confident, and funny… she is crazy naturally GORGEOUS. Like model-gorgeous. Like she was a former model and collegiate athlete. I think she actually looks like a thirty-five year old version of AJ McCarron’s girlfriend- yeah, the one everyone and their mother was obsessing about during the BCS Championship game. So the fact this five-eleven bombshell was feeling a bit self-conscious was unfathomable to me. Especially now. In our thirties.
Kathy wants to be involved; with the activities, with the classrooms, but she’s not networked in. She’s not a part of any of the cliques, so she’s not getting the opportunities that she wants in her son’s school. I mean, the bullying and politics… who knew??!!!
Ok, Moms, what is the freaking deal? If you’ve been through this as Kathy has… how did you break through? Were you confrontational? Did you ease your way in? Did you just show up to everything?
And you Mom-bullies out there… why y’all gotta be grade-A bitches? I wrote a previous blog about traveling alone and how wonderful it is when a friendly someone approaches you, welcomes you in as the outsider… why can’t you do this for Kathy and others like her? Obviously all of your kids got into the same school, so you’re on an even-playing field on that front. Why wouldn’t you want an educated, warm, wonderful person helping out with your bake sale?
Two words: Jealousy and Insecurity.
I find the biggest ‘disease’ among women is not only within themselves and is easily treatable if recognized… but it prohibits personal growth, experiences and is downright annoying as hell. Jealousy and insecurity. If you are a bully, a Mom-Bully a Work-Bully, whatever… you are a jealous, insecure person. Bottom line. You dressing up as if you were getting cocktails with the girls at Casa del Mar at 7am and automatically looking down on anyone not doing the same… yeah, pretty sure that picture of ‘perfection’ has a lot more layers in there we’re not seeing. What’s even sadder to me is that these people are actually raising children. The next wave of US Citizens. I’m sure the general population outside of your school bubble cannot wait to work with/for, interact and have relationships with your children, who, by the way, will also turn into insecure bully-adults.
So listen… pay attention to your behavior. Be welcoming to others. Stop gossiping and blocking people out because you don’t know them from some stupid private club. We are all people with skin, hair, clothes, families, hearts. Just be a freaking human and be nice. You’re thirty-plus years old. Grow the f up.
I’m sure at some point, she’ll make friends and be a part of it all, it will just take time. And she is just so darn lovable- if they get to know her. But I still can’t believe that catty behavior from seventh grade still exists in adults. No wonder we have so many bully children… they’re just looking up to their Mommas.