For those of you busy preparing for children to start school this September with visiting their classrooms, buying uniforms and labelling PE Kits, it’s easy to forget that you will also be in the playground. You too are going to school – with 29 other parents. So here’s a survival guide, because the school yard has often been likened to a BATTLEZONE:


The most essential part of your attire is great shoes. No matter what crappy, smelly clothes you’ve slung on, they can always be offset by fabulous footwear. If you really have to go to school in your pyjamas or joggers, make sure you tuck your pants into a good pair of boots. In the summer, wear sassy sandals to ensure beady eyes focus on your feet rather than the baby sick on your sweater.

Hats are good if they are stylish. Berets and flat caps will make you look crazy. Also, invest in a great winter coat preferably in a fab colour. Shades must be worn at most times, but not when it is raining as you will look like an A-list wannabe.

You will be known as a Stylish Mummy and that is nearly as important as being a Good Mummy.


Do not be tempted to make friends with the first mother that speaks to you. Chances are there is a reason why they are being friendly - they are either fundraising or have no other friends. If you immediately befriend them, once you realise that you’ve actually made a mistake, the fun mums will have already formed their clique to which you might never be admitted.

Stay friendly with all but keep a slight distance. True friendship will always shine through. Be warned though: The mummies you make friends with in Reception will probably be your enemies by Year 4.


Never ever get dragged into the Sport Of Competitive Parenting. You will not win. Do not discuss your child’s achievements with anyone, because I guarantee their child will have done better. Save any bragging for that phone call to grandparents. The first rule of Competitive Parenting Club is DON’T.

4. PTA

PTA is not a bad thing but do not think that it makes you important. It’s great to help out at a few things but don’t walk around with a clipboard and a whistle. PTA often organises fun events for parents too and if your social life is a bit crappy, a school quiz night can be a real saviour. And the kiddies love a summer fayre, even though you’ll find that you’ve spent two months child benefit on the coconut shy.


Always find a fanciable Dad. Playground flirting makes the school run a bit nicer. Never overstep the mark by talking about snogging in front of his children. It’s got to be innocent and fun.

You may think you left playground politics behind when you stopped jumping rope, but trust me, once you become a school mum you will find yourself dodging missiles that hurt just as keenly as the pellets from the peashooters of your youth. It’s worth being prepared.