School Gate Mums

My bloggy friend Mumof4 (go check her out, she’s brilliant) wrote a little bit a while ago about the different types of Mums you get at her kids’ school, which got me to thinking about the equivalent here in the UK.   

There are four very definite groups at Will’s school, and as this is his last year at primary school, I’ve had almost seven years – can’t BELIEVE it – to observe their different characteristics and habits.  So here’s my take on the School Gate Mums:

The Uber Mums


For this bunch, parenting is not a just a life choice, not even their version of a career: it’s an Olympic sport, and hence has to be played harder and faster than everybody else.  In order to enter this elite group, you have to have a minimum of four children (ideally more – the more the better in fact), you must know every single child in the entire school by name, and also be on first name terms with all the teaching staff (air kissing optional but preferred).  You attend every single rugby/football/cricket match (even the ones two counties away), and Sports Day is the highlight of your social calendar.  You do, of course, have obscene amounts of money (you’d need to with a school fees bill for that many children), and ‘help’ at home.


The PTA Types


I always give this bunch a wide berth, as they only seem to want to engage me in conversation when they’re clutching a clipboard and looking for ‘volunteers’ – to man the cake stand at the School Christmas Fair, or to sell programmes at the (frankly dreadful, not to mention so long that I lost the will to live last time) School Play.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of voluntary work, but this bunch have elevated it to an art-form.  If they’re not trying to pressgang people into attending a wine and cheese evening (seriously, I was quite stunned that such things still exist), they’re recruiting helpers to run the sponsored bike ride, or trying to sell you (yet another) raffle ticket. 


The Horsey Set



Dressed in jodhpurs, riding boots and depending upon the time of year, some deeply unattractive waxed cotton outerwear (*shudders*), these mums never seem to have got beyond reading Pullein Thompsonnovels during their childhoods.  Their conversation is limited, at best, to the result of the latest point to point or the suitability of the weather for this week’s hunt, and at worst to the intricacies of their mare’s menstrual cycle and her latest ‘covering’ by the stallion.  Unsurprisingly, we all fight not to sit next to our class’s ‘horsey mum’ when we go out for dinner.


The Prada Babes


In order to be a member of this set, you have to be ‘Gucci’d up to the max’ to quote a friend of mine, and ALWAYS have your make-up, nails and hair looking immaculate – yes, even at the side of a very muddy rugby pitch in gale force winds and driving rain – see, I knew there was a reason Jimmy Choo made wellies!  Your one nod to being a parent is the frigging enormous 4×4 you drive, and you always park as close as possible to the school gate (usually in the disabled area), taking up at least two spaces (a Smart car would be far better suited to your driving ability, to be honest).  You’re generally rather bored by school events, but do enjoy the annual Speech Day, as it gives you an excuse to buy a(nother) new outfit which, once you’ve factored in the shoes and handbag, will cost the equivalent of a small African nation’s national debt.


And then of course, there’s the rest of us – normal people who gossip endlessly about all the others!



14 thoughts on “School Gate Mums

  1. I loved that post Caroline, there is defintaley an hierachy at any school gate, I am afarid I was a PTA Mum LOL LOL … wine and cheese party though, jumble sales, sponsored swims and summer fetes when my 3 boys were my 3 boys went to school .
    x Dawn

  2. That is so funny. We don’t have a horse set. We maybe have the ‘workout mums’ as an equivalent.
    Wine and cheese? Wow. So – 1970s? Do they all put their house keys in the fruit bowl?
    Now what is the deal with buying Xmas pressies for the teachers then? A whole other blog post!
    Does Jimmy Choo really do wellies? May have to google it . . . .

  3. I cannot possibly recall school gate moms without remembering one in particular. I believe she would have fallen into the Prada Babe category…at least after 10:00 a.m. But every morning she dropped the children off at 8:00 a.m. wearing a big fluffy robe and slippers…even got out of the car and walked them to the gate. It humanized and endeared her to me, and I can’t think of her without smiling. I don’t even remember her name.

  4. I love to spot types! None of the above in our part of Brighton – all so far deeply on the wearing natural fabrics, Steiner / Montessori school talking, raw food eating – and there are a lot of wooden toys, carrot sticks and rice cakes where we live. I do know some Hove mummies who are generally similar but with more expensive outfits and Bugaboo prams and Orla Keily bags…

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