In the old days, if a parent wanted to get in touch with another parent of a child in the same class they had to write a note with a phone number on and then hope that their child would be responsible enough to pass the note on rather than try and use it for the latest junk modelling creation. Thankfully, due to social media those days are past and school parents are able to contact each other easily through digital communications.
WhatsApp is particularly popular amongst school parents. You can have large group chats so all of the class parents can be involved and, unlike Facebook, the chats are automatically private so there’s no chance of your child’s teacher finding out just exactly what Amelia’s Mum thinks of the homework. Whilst the groups are useful for finding out information, they are often inhabited by a host of different characters.
1. The Not So Subtle Bragger
She has three children, works part time and runs a company on the side. She runs 10K three times a week and her kids are top of every class. You have never actually spoken to her since your children are not friends but you know all of this because she constantly reminds people of how hard she works and how much she has achieved.
She has a core band of followers in the group who respond to every one of her messages with something along the lines of “Wow, you put us all to shame! When do you ever sit down?” Her messages are interspersed with photos of her children’s various craft and baking creations. You are pretty sure she created them herself but then you are basing that on your own child’s inability to bake a cake without smearing half of it around the kitchen walls.
2. The One That Is Always Searching For Something
Last week it was her son’s school sweatshirt. Before that, it was his trainers from his PE kit. This week, it’s his water bottle and school trousers. It’s a total mystery to everyone how the child managed to make it out of the classroom and back to his house without his trousers but they eventually turn up in another child’s book bag. Some loss of property is inevitable in primary school, but this child takes it to a whole new level, with weekly requests in the group chat for everyone to keep an eye out for the missing item.
3. The One That Is Incapable Of Reading The Newsletter
Or any school texts. Or anything that is listed on Class Dojo / Eduspot / your school’s website, etc. “What time does the school disco start?” “ What do we need to bring in for the school Christmas fair?” “How do I pay online for the trip to the zoo?” “Does anyone know what day they do forest school?” “Do they need their PE kits today?” They even ask questions about things that have been discussed earlier on in the chat. It takes all your will power to not reply with “just scroll up!”
4. The One That Really Doesn’t Like The School
There is: “Does anyone else think it’s bang out of order that they’ve been given maths homework twice this week?”
And, then you get: “OMG!!! There are so many spelling mistakes in the letter that came home from Miss E today. Can’t believe she’s being paid to teach our kids!!!!”
And, let’s not forget the classic rant about the lack of notice given for a dress up day. Plus complaints about trips not being cancelled when there’s a small amount of rain, complaints about their child not getting the starring role in the school play, and complaints about the teacher not responding to an email or online messaging system when it was sent at 5pm on Friday and it’s only Sunday. You’re not sure if she genuinely thinks the teacher isn’t up to the job or if she’s holding onto some unresolved anger issues from her own school days.
5. The Overly Anxious Mum
Picture the scene. It’s 2am and your phone buzzes. You obviously ignore it. But then it buzzes three more times and you decide to check just in case it’s important. There are three blurry pictures of what appears to be a small pink blemish on a child’s arm, complete with the message “Does anyone else think this looks like a meningitis rash?”
Your school takes health and hygiene seriously, so it helpfully texts all the parents whenever there is some contagion such as Slapped Cheek, Nits, or Threadworm in school. These are almost always followed by “OMG, do you think we should keep them off school just in case?” She then helpfully shares screenshots of NHS pages on various aliments, not all of them related to the one currently going around school. When she’s not worrying about illnesses she asks the group for ideas on how to improve playground safety and school hygiene, as well as regularly questioning the use of booster seats in mini-buses. You decide it’s probably best that you don’t mention how you saw her daughter lick a lollipop she found on the playground floor at drop off last week.
6. The Multi-Level Marketing Sales Rep
They regularly spam the group with messages such as “I’m ready to sparkle and shine today after taking my VegVegVeg Pills. PM me if you want to feel the same.” If someone messages about how they are struggling to afford all of the uniform requirement this year she helpfully chimes in with a “DM me, hun, for info on how you can earn a little extra cash and feel fabulous at the same time”.
She has added everyone in the WhatsApp group as a friend on Facebook and as a result your newsfeed is now dominated with bogus claims about weight loss pills, selfies that have clearly been filtered to oblivion, and photos about her amazing new car that she has achieved through hard work and determination. You know for a fact is a courtesy car the local garage gives out when a customer is having a service.
7. The Social Queen Bee
She’s best mates with the Not So Subtle Bragger, admin of the WhatsApp group, and she has appointed herself as chief event and playdate organiser. Very little happens without her input and woe betide anyone who tries to set up their own get together without her as they will soon find themselves left out of all the coffee mornings and Mum nights out. Try calling her out on it and she will claim it was all just a mistake, naturally.
8. The One Who Uses Too Many Emoticons
She uses so many emojis that a scholar of Egyptian hieroglyphics would probably have better luck deciphering what exactly it is she’s trying to say. Something about a monkey, a giant hand, and a UFO? Occasionally she mixes it up with the odd GIF, which prompts about half the group to go “OMG, how do you do that?” that then results in the group’s resident tech expert (i.e. one of the Dads who has self-appointed himself to this role) to lead an impromptu lesson WhatsApp features taking up most of the evening.
9. The One That Is On The PTA
She instantly responds to all questions posed by the one that never reads the newsletter, which means that you never have to. She also reminds the group about discos, dress-up days, and what colour item your child needs to bring in for the Christmas hamper. Everyone is in awe of her superior knowledge but strangely she gets very few responses when asking for volunteers.
10. The One Who Is The Mum Of “That Child.”
She stays quiet for a good reason…