How to make yourself into the playground pariah…

playground politics

So a few weeks ago, I apparently committed a massive parenting faux pas. I offended someone, and it seems like this has made me somewhat of a pariah, in the nursery playground.

Unfortunately, the school playground is not just for the children to learn how to get along, relate, communicate and build relationships, or for them to learn that not everyone is always going to like them. It seems like the adults also have to learn how to handle each other. I have managed during my time as a playground mum to avoid most of the  major outbreaks of petty parent squabbles, but apparently I have been the cause of one, and am now not being spoken to by one mother and a clutch of her friends.

What could I have done, to get myself sent to parent playground Coventry?

About three weeks ago, Little Man was invited to a birthday party at someone’s house. LSH took him, and about 5 minutes after he arrived at the party, messaged me to say that the birthday boy, apparently was sick, with a stomach bug, and according to what he had been told by the mother, had been unwell in the night, and vomiting all morning. They greeted people at the door with this, and then carried on with the party. The birthday boy was still present, and at the party, although clearly unwell, and miserable. I personally think, that if it had been my child, I would have cancelled, and because we were just over a week of stomach bug, which hit me particularly hard, I really felt that I didn’t want to be exposed to more puke bug germs. He decided that it would be best if they didn’t stay at the party, as did one or two other parents. The mother of said child is now very offended, and now refuses to speak to me, in the playground, and when she walks past us to school in the morning, and has been telling the other mother’s in her little group that I was rude, to take my child away from a party, where there was a clearly sick, probably contagious child. I did mail her, and explain, that one we were just over a nasty stomach bug, and didn’t want to get it again, and that I also had various appointments in the coming week, that would have to be re arranged at great inconvenience, as well as work, so I was keen to try and avoid another bout of sickness. She kept telling me her son was better, and seemed to think it was odd that we felt uncomfortable with a sick child at a party. I am not sure why they didn’t cancel, not really any of my business, but I do think an SMS on the morning of the party, in plenty of time, to let parents know, before they arrived, would have been a better way to handle it, and let parents  make an informed decision, without being under pressure to be polite on the doorstep of a party. Apparently I am in the wrong, LSH and Little Man should have stayed, picked up the stomach bug (three of  the children at the party were sick, that next week, not surprisingly) and just smiled politely about it all.

Anyway, I am the playground pariah, it seems. I am sure it will pass. Fortunately, he won’t be at the same school as us come this September, so it will all blow over. It doesn’t bother me that much now, although I was a bit annoyed at first, and not all the parents are being petty, and some even agree with me, and of course, you have the parents of children who weren’t invited to the party, which is a whole different ballgame of playground politics….

Was I wrong? What would other parents have done?

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Posted in Family Life and Parenting and tagged playground politics.


  1. I’d have likely done the same. I’d definitely have cancelled if it had been N who’d been ill. I’d be mortified if all the kids ended up ill. And given that most nurseries etc say 48 hours of no vomiting before coming back, then it makes sense to do at least 24 hours at home. A party can be postponed.

  2. Of course you are right. Don’t let people get you down for being outspoken and standing up for your views. You will win some and lose some “friends” along the way. Yes, if was really sick should have cancelled. If seemed better in the morning an sms to warn would have been good. And LSH knows how you feel about tummy bugs so he had to run away from party ASAP.

  3. I don’t think that you did anything wrong, and it seems a bit silly for the mother to be shirty with you, unless I guess she may feel judged for doing the party when her child was ill (guilty conscience!). We had something similar happen to us a couple of years ago with my daughter when we nearly cancelled her party as she was sick – in fact she was even sick in the middle of the party. Things were so hectic that morning that I didn’t even think to warn people off, and thankfully no one was ill afterwards but I would not have taken it personally if they had decided not to come. It’s just one of those things, I’d just shrug it off. #pocolo

  4. How ridiculous! The woman is clearly very insecure! I can’t think why else she might take clearly practical decision so personally. I’m not sure what I would have done as a guest – in your circumstances, I would have probably left, but there have been times when I’ve risked it too. It all depends on whats going on the following week, how close you are to the birthday child and how your family are at the time. As a host, I would have felt obligated to text everyone beforehand, at the least, to give them fair warning, but I probably would have cancelled to be honest. What if there was a pregnant mum or newborn affected? Or someone with low immunity issues I didn’t know about (cancer patients, for example, can’t have treatement if they are sick) Or a holiday having to be cancelled. I couldn’t live with myself! Interesting post. #pocolo

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