Guest post: Things I learnt at (my child’s) school … by Deborah Disney

24 Jan

My guest today is debut Australian author, Deborah Disney. Deborah grew up in the regional city of Toowoomba and now lives in Brisbane with her husband and two school-aged daughters. Deborah has a BA/LLB from the University of Queensland and practised as a solicitor for a number of years prior to having children. She chose to specialise in litigation law as that seemed like the best preparation for what is now her looming battle – mothering her daughters through the teenage years. Deborah’s first novel, Up and In, is a satirical look at the interactions of school and sporting mums. Welcome Deborah!

Disney-19 2.3MB‘What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally.’ And this is true even if Sally is a complete cow.

I posted this little oft-quoted phrase on my facebook page this week (not the cow part) because I think it is a perfect tie-in with my new book, Up and In, which is a humorous look at the often bewildering experience that comes with being a school mum.

What is it about becoming a school mum that seems to send otherwise accomplished and intelligent women back to the insecurities of our teenage years? What am I going to wear to drop-off today?  Why didn’t she invite my child to her child’s party? She didn’t wave at me this morning – did I say or do something wrong?

In between worrying about whether or not our children will find friends, this strange sensation of whether or not we will find friends among the other school mums somehow starts to creep in. Once again there is that feeling of wanting to ‘find your tribe’. And while it is only natural to want to surround yourself with like-minded people, plaguing yourself about trivial ‘school gate politics’ might mean that the most likely place to find your like-minded people is in the loony bin!

Postcard 8I have been a school mum for eight years now, and these are a few of the things I have discovered:

1. Some of my best friends are women I have met at my children’s school. I connected with them because we laughed at each other’s jokes. Not because we were wearing the ‘right’ clothes. There is no way they would be caught dead in some of my clothes.

2. There is no rule that says you need to become ‘besties’ with the mother of your child’s ‘bestie’. My mother never, ever hung out with the parents of my childhood friends. Being pleasant is a must. But ‘hanging’ is entirely optional.

3. Even if you feel uncomfortable or shy, it never hurts to smile and say hello. Unless you have had recent dental surgery. Or you are dealing with a burgeoning cold sore.

4. While you might come from different backgrounds, or have different current circumstances, you all have one thing in common, which is that your children attend the same school. And there’s every chance that at some point or other you will all have to deal with nits.

5. Any women past the age of thirteen who refer to themselves as belonging to some sort of club like ‘the A team’ or any other such BS collective are to be avoided like the plague.

6. The best thing you can do to help your child make the ‘right’ friends is to set an example of always being yourself. The ‘right’ friends are alwaysPostcard 1 the ones who are right for the real you. Making friends on behalf of an orchestrated version of yourself is just downright exhausting.

7. Everyone has their own sh*t going on. If they didn’t respond to your cheery smile today, try again tomorrow. They may have just had dental surgery.

8. Finally, don’t buy in to bitching or gossiping about other mothers. Sally might well be a cow, but talking about that isn’t making her any more or less cow-like. It just spreads around bad cow energy and if you are a school mum you know – you need every ounce of energy you have for signing notes and making lunches and washing socks and supervising homework and … :-)

Up and In by Deborah Disney is available in ebook formats now. Find out more at: http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781460704356/books/Up-Deborah-Disney/ 

One Response to “Guest post: Things I learnt at (my child’s) school … by Deborah Disney”

  1. Deborah Disney 25th January 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for having me on your blog today, Amanda X

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