So it really was handbags at pick up time when Myleene Klass went to collect her 7 year old daughter Ava from school last week. In posting an old email on Instagram from some of the school mums – Myleene it can safely be said did not know what she was letting herself in for. She may have taken on the leader of the Labour party on national TV but playground politics is a whole other ball game!
Just to re-cap – Myleene was sick of getting emails from school mums suggesting contributions to communal presents for the party girl-du-jour instead of sending along an unwanted and probably unappreciated gift.
Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with mums making that kind of suggestion. If I’m being honest ours and many of the middle class homes we frequent are over run with un-played with toys and clutter, and a more strategic approach to gift giving does make sense. In fact a few of us mums recently had a similar conversation regarding presents and came to the conclusion that such a prescribed approach might cause offence to some. Also my children are still of an age where the unwrapping is so much more fun and rewarding than whatever is actually inside the package. I can just imagine the look on their faces on being presented with a single gift however large, compared to receiving thirty odd brightly wrapped boxes.
The primary problem in this scenario was Myleene put her thoughts out there on one of the most public of forums – Instagram! Within hours the issue was being contemplated and debated on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme and written about in national broadsheet newspapers. Who knew the world cared so much?!
But as much as the story was about “Present–Gate” it also highlighted the playground politics that take place up and down and across the country in every school. Wrath has no fury like a mother scorned. (Reportedly one of the mums at Myleene’s daughter’s school shouted across the playground “why did you do it Myleene – why?”)
Emails and social media are very useful and can be vital for ensuring that key information is passed on to parents, usually via the class rep; (often another thankless task). Before new media came along however – we actually talked to each other! Whilst social media has its uses it’s also just too easy to post something that can cause unintentional upset and annoyance. In any class and school there are lots of opinions and at the end of the day we all want the best for our children. When you share the same set of parents for the best part of 7 years – it’s best to get on!
Thankfully we are all grown-ups and luckily my “parent-mates” are a great bunch and certainly as far as I’m aware we all get on fairly well.
The irony is not lost on me that I am blogging about this scenario- whilst promoting conversation and as the headteacher of the North London school where the incident unfolded said in her weekly newsletter last week she has many other priorities ahead of dealing with unicorns and
“if you don’t have anything nice to say on twitter – don’t say it at all”