Tuesday, 5 April 2011

What type of mother are you? Mother's Day 2011

Inspired by Babyrambles, I decided it was time for a bit of self reflection again.

Spurned on by Mothers Day and the realisation that now A is hurtling towards the first year of High School where, ASD aside and no matter how cool I think I am, I will no longer be a school gate mother.

I had a lovely Mother's Day as usual. I'm very lucky that the guys show their appreciation every year despite Oh Daddy in theory being a grumpy tight git. He moans about the cost of everything and yet for Mother's Day I got an ipad from him!

 what I expected....

 what I got...

From the kids I always ask for the same thing, a mug. This sounds extremely daft but I really like my Mother's Day mugs! In the same way that pre-children, I used to covet handbags, now it's mugs (oh how the tables have turned!) that are my constant accessory! Given the amount of coffee I drink in a day, they get well used and only I am allowed to use them!

So, now to the pointless later night ponderings of Oh Mammy. What type of school gate mother am I? The competitive hell of the school gate mother club is well documented and we've all experienced or have been part of the cliques that congregate to pick up their little cherubs/demons. A survey conducted by Vauxhall concluded the following:

  • Pushy parents are unpopular
  • Over-dressed parents irritate others
  • 19% parents feel under pressure to organise more activities for children
  • 3% parents say they have flirted with parents or teachers
  • 7% parents have not had time to give children breakfast
  • 5% say they have driven children to school in pyjamas
  • A mother claimed to send her child to bed in his uniform to save time the next morning
The survey has identified four types of school gate mothers, ranging from the networkers, the no-hopers and the pushy parents determined to get everything they can for their children.
"Scatty Sandra" is caricatured as always "fighting a losing battle with time", arriving at the last minute having dressed in a hurry, with younger children still in their pyjamas.

In contrast, "Flirty Fiona" uses the school gate as a social opportunity, dressing to impress and chatting up the fathers. This type of parent can become unpopular, with the survey finding hostility towards parents who are over-dressed or wearing too much make-up.
There were also accusations against "mothers who care more about fashion than their kids".

"Pushy Pauline" is the parent who makes sure that their children are involved in every extra-curricular activity available. This high-powered parent brings a business-like attitude to their dealings with the school.
But this does not always impress other parents, who do not like the parents who always seem to be pushing their children to the front of every queue.

"Serious Sue" is a more sympathetic figure, worried about her own children's education, but still ready to help others at the school. She is also a fallible, ordinary parent, who is unlikely to have time to dress up to drop off the children.
This parent also strikes a balance between supporting her children and making time for herself.

The truth is I'm not really a stereotype nor would I like to be. Sometimes I feel a bit of pressure to be like others, to look like others, to act like others and it can get to me. Unlike the village I came from where the pinnacle of stereotypes was the Cheryl Cole lookalike, dyed dark hair, all fake tan, fake nails and high street fashions, here in the middle class suburbs of Edinburgh it is the Mulberry bag wielding, Barbour jackets, big shades, giant off road vehicles, subtle highlights, real manicured professional women who exude an air of calm, having it all and having other to do it for them. I love anthropology and people watching here is fascinating.

But then, if I really did care about this, I would do it. I would stop biting my nails, I would cover up the bleach in my hair. I would get up an hour earlier to straighten my hair and make sure I would leave the house free from all evidence of boddlerhood smeared all over my clothes.

Society has always liked people to fall in to boxes. The media has done it's best to support this, telling people that they should own a certain thing, they should look a certain way and should aspire to be like certain celebrities (why else would anyone in their right minds think people like Jordan and Kerry Catona are good mothers?).

I live by the philosophy where an effort must be made to get to know people. To discover what truly lies underneath. I'm quite perceptive about people and for me, I'm not so busy and self obsessed that this whole process doesn't take me long. A new friend from the 'burbs here remarked the other day that I know so many different types of people from all sections of society and countries and this probably because I don't fit into a stereotype so I have to make the effort to get to know people in order that they get to know me.

Not fitting into a box can be quite scary but my little man does it particularly well...


  1. Great post, I think you're in that the media love to put people in boxes. Especially mums, we seem to get categorised more than anyone else. Years ago I was happy to think I could stereotype people but I've realised with age that people are far more complex and individual than we realise. Even someone who appears to be a stereotype may not be. I need some more mummy mugs too, mine are chipped! Thanks for the mention! (although the link goes somewhere else... :) )

  2. Thanks Emily. I just love your blog. You seem to write about things before I do. Great minds and all that! Will amend the link. Xx


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