Posts Tagged ‘mum’

Welcome to the playground

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

An introduction to UBER-mothers: the frightening new addition to the playground circuit.

They’re like Pandora bracelets. We’ve all got one, we all recognise a genuine one and some are more ostentatious than others. UBER-mothers are a fierce new breed. Right at this very moment they are spilling into the Home Counties like spiders out of an egg sac. They come quietly from birthing their twins in central London with no pain relief in 26 minutes and they slide effortlessly into school life. One minute they don’t exist and then – boom! Before you can blink they’re striding around being an UBER-mum.

So what exactly is the problem? Principally, they make the rest of us feel a little bit too lazy (UBER-mum never sits down and normally sleeps standing up), a little bit too boring (uber-mum reads the Times, Telegraph and Guardian ‘just to get a little perspective’ before breakfast so she can furnish us all with her learned opinions about ISIS and Boris Johnson) and a little bit too decadent. Mention that you once had a glass of wine at lunchtime on your birthday and watch her face drain of colour.

Plus, we’ve been caught off guard. We don’t know how to deal with them yet. We’ve done the earth-mother thing, and UBER-mum is not following the script. She’s not consuming lentils by the metric tonne, making her own cheese or embracing Wicca beliefs. The thing is that these UBER-mothers look normal on the outside. All right, so they’re probably wearing Birkenstocks and a smock of some description, but that’s forgivable because it’s from White Stuff or Boden. It’s not hand-knitted as she delivered the placenta or tie-dyed by an old woman on a hill in Wales.

These UBER-mums are a little like Stepford wives. They will have come from a senior role in middle management in a City based financial company. And this, they know, enables them to make the best decisions in the whole school about absolutely anything. There will be nothing they cannot do. Which leaves us lesser-mothers feeling a bit bemused. But…but….we’ve been running the committee for years….? Ah yes, but wrongly, says UBER-mum with a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. It’s no good offering an opinion, or demonstrating your experience, because UBER-mum has a special voice that simply goes louder and louder.

And she will have a careful number of children. Not so many that people think she’s a careless, pain-addicted ninny with an aversion to contraception, but enough to give her an advantage over every single other mum. Twins? Boy AND a girl she says triumphantly. Older sibling? A boy, she says proudly, I just know he’ll look after them. No younger children then? Oh yes, a little girl. Newborns are passé, we’ve all argued the hell out of the right to breastfeed entirely naked in public and be mentioned in the Queen’s Honours list for it. So UBER-mum has thrown down her sicky muslin cloth and embraced her nursery-aged child. She’s only three, UBER-mum says fondly, so she’s still expressing herself through night-time wakings, but I don’t need sleep. I always get up at 4am so I can finish off the housework before the kiddiwinks get up. And because you are so frozen in horror at her use of the word ‘kiddiwinks’ you will forget to challenge the insanity of 4am cleaning.

Gradually this UBER-mum will infiltrate the school. She will be EVERYWHERE. Because she has a winning combination of children she will be found roaming free-range in the nursery, in the lower years AND the upper years. And that’s another thing. She will always be in the school, no matter what time of day. You won’t always know what she’s doing, but she’ll be there. And because of this she will swiftly become more familiar than anyone else has ever been, with the school. It won’t matter that your children are fifth generation pupils, UBER-mum has whizzed in and knows everyone and everything that can possibly be known. The playground has now replaced the boardroom and the staff room is her HR department.

And just when you think she’s reached a limit, you discover that she has gone one stage further. She has now befriended half the teaching staff. She’ll be on first name terms with most of them and sharing a giggle before assembly. So much so that she’s able to choose exactly who she wants in Peregrine’s class. Why did you choose that name? Oh I knew he was a Peregrine the moment I laid eyes on him. And we wanted to name him after a dear relative who died tragically in the sixth century.

If you’re not careful, UBER-mum will stalk around school being a curious combination of confident and passive-aggressive. But there is one disadvantage to being an UBER-mum – they operate alone. It makes logical sense in her head; no-one could be on a level with her. So what can you do? The very opposite of divide and conquer. Form a tight-knit, impenetrable group of mothers, each of whom has a skill that they possess Masters-level qualifications in, whether this is contract law or baking cake pops. Make sure you have representatives in all areas of the school at all times, ready to challenge. If you can harpoon an ex-headteacher or two to line the corridors akin to milk of magnesia, then do it. Do it, do it, do it.

Ultimately, UBER-mums won’t harm you. They’re just really, really, rage inducingly, annoying. So if you come into contact with one, try and channel your inner Witches defence, a la Roald Dahl. Keep your eyes down, don’t engage – and walk past hastily. UBER-mum may not harm you – but she can infect you. If you’re not careful, soon your entire wardrobe will contain nothing but polka-dotted items and flimsy, transparent scraps of Cath Kidston. You will be creating your own pasta before dawn and making it proudly clear to friends that your children are so competitive that even poo-ing is a spectator sport.

Beware the UBER-mother. You have been warned.