For just over a year we have been blissfully shielded from any kind of school gate scenario.
As a working mum, sure, I do drop-offs and pick-ups to our lovely childminder. But as fellow parents schedules largely differ, it’s mainly a quiet affair with little gossip other than what Little Button had got up to that day.
But now school nursery is in sight and playgroup beckons as a must-do prep experience… I have to admit to having the playgroup gate jitters. Who would have thought something as simple as turning up on time could strike the fear into a grown woman! I feel so silly about the whole thing, but no matter how much I tell myself that I am being a bit of a silly billy, it doesn’t stop the dreaded ‘jelly legs’.
Here’s what happened on my first few go’s…
Picking up before pick up?!
On our first proper day after the settling in stage, Little Button headed in, settled and then waved me goodbye. I braved a few ‘Hi’s’ and smiles, and off I went. All seemed well.
However when it was time to collect Little Button, I noticed that there were no parents around. ‘OMG! Where is everyone!?!’ I asked myself (actually out loud). Panicked, I rushed to the door and buzzed in. Phew, it’s ok… I reasoned. I was just one of the first to arrive.
Except… on our way out I noticed all the little ones lining up and getting ready to be dismissed (like at school) to the now bustling group of parents waiting patiently outside. Oops!
Joining the pack
I am not the chattiest person on first meeting new people. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I have social anxiety, but I do know that I need time to sit back and take things all in before being at ease. At next pick up all the parents had arrived on time and I edged up the drive to join them. Gulp…
A familiar uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach took hold as I braced myself for meeting my new pack.
Oh… but wait, a face I recognised. Said comforting face took the edge off major ‘jelly legs’ and I was fast-tracked into the svelte cool mum gang… with nothing to say and not much svelte or coolness going on either!
The que… should I take a ticket?
Finally feeling a bit more confident, with a bit of cool, though no signs of being svelte this century, I strode up the playgroup drive to join my pack. Except… they weren’t there. In place of the busybody crowd was a…urrmm que?!
I waved to familiar face, who, at this point was already a few places in.
Right… to join her (but would that be pushing in)… or join the que? Playing it safe I joined the que. After all, the silent parent line-up was perfectly straight and fairly still. So this must have been deliberate right?!
It looks like I still have a way to go before I figure out this whole playgroup gate malarkey. Jitters and jelly legs are not an attractive quality when you are trying to be a cool mum! Apart from that, here are a few other reasons why it’s a good idea to persevere.
3 reasons why you must overcome the playgroup gate jitters (or so I tell myself)
– You are your little ones most important role model. They will look to you for how they should behave. Do you want them to copy confident and socially engaging behaviour, or that of a retiring hermit crab?
– This is practice for the big school gates, where apparently what you say and do does actually matter… a lot.
– Try chatting to everyone and eventually you may be rewarded by finding your kindred spirit and partner in crime. Think lovely play dates, an emergency buddy for those OMG moments and someone to help the playgroup gate jitters to disappear.