The World According to Kate: Mummy Mafia
The start of a school year presents many obstacles for parents to overcome, and it is around this time of year when I spare a thought for the first-timers. Parents this is, not children.
There are endless tips on preparing your child for their first day, the quest to find the acceptable uniform shoes, stationery items and ideal school bag that will fit the lunchbox, and all the other requirements. By the time the children have been successfully delivered on their first day, I am confident most new school parents want to hit the pub and celebrate their conquest of the new-to-school obstacles. But it is not over. Not by a long shot.
“You don’t need to conform to the standards of those who fancy themselves to be influencers. A person is only an influencer if you allow yourself to be influenced by them.”
Age-old obstacles faced by generations of parents are on their way. Lack of time and the challenge of fundamental moral values are just the beginning. Yet there is one obstacle many parents face, which is as old as time itself – the mummy mafia.
I say mummy mafia because, in my experience, men are generally not too concerned with what others think. Not enough to make it the centre of their universe and the foundation of their identity as a parent. On the other hand, we women can become a sickening ball of anxiety just thinking about whether we need to converse with someone.
The mummy mafia exists at every school, though it is rarely discussed openly, so let me lay out my view of this group of parents who are simply adults who have perfected the art of bullying.
I honestly believe this group is behind the ‘modern-day’ school rules. If their child is allergic to certain foods, the whole school cohort should not be allowed to have that food either. If their child identifies themselves as a different sex, then everyone else needs to do that too. If their child doesn’t come first, second or third, they should get a medal anyway because they tried. Seriously people, do you think that type of thinking will cut it when they get a job?
Then there is the simple lunchbox. It used to be a sandwich with jam, vegemite or something similar, an apple and a drink. Most of the time, they were just thrown in the school bag. Somewhere along the line, lunchbox envy became a thing. Members of the Mummy mafia will try to make you feel bad by not cutting your child’s Apples into star shapes or putting a wrap in a sandwich bag instead of wrapping it in baking paper and tying it up with twine.
In short, the Mummy mafia are people who have nothing to do with their time. Hence, they spend their days doing stupid things, like cutting cheese into dino shapes and then seek validation by showing everyone else.
In my experience, it is hard not to notice the clique master. Other parents hang on their every word, like the people in the background who nod and say ‘yeah’ in rap videos or news reports. The clique master wields a strong power over other parents, forming a small loyal group – the Mummy mafia. Then, collectively, they use time-honoured mean-girl tactics to make you feel excluded. You try to shake it off but being in their company makes you feel like a teenager again.
Over the centuries, the Mummy mafia has adapted its style to be more incognito. The subtleness of it can send you crazy, thinking that you are imagining things, misunderstood or too sensitive. The judgemental glare of the Mummy mafia leaves parents feeling excluded and bullied.
You don’t need to conform to the standards of those who fancy themselves to be influencers. A person is only an influencer if you allow yourself to be influenced by them. Who cares if you haven’t run 5k and completed a one-hour yoga class before the kids wake up. Whether you choose to cut your child’s cheese into dino shapes or not, what is essential is being kind to yourself about your decision.
The Mummy mafia can’t be pleased because they need to be the best, so they keep changing the rules. The energy you spend trying to keep up could be spent on your child. At the end of the day, a well-adjusted adult is the genuine badge of successful parenthood.
So as you enter the new school year, may you be determined to not allow the few alpha parents known as the Mummy mafia to hinder your pursuit of school-gate friendships.