Monday, February 22, 2016

A problem shared is a problem doubled

You may think the average man suffers more stress because he bottles up his feelings, while his lady friend processes and diminishes her angst in conversation.

I read an article recently that questioned this (shameface: I can't remember where!) It suggested that, while the above may be true sometimes, women can also aggravate and heighten anxiety by talking about their worries or even potential worries all the time. No distract-yourself, beer-drinking, football talk for us, thanks!

Which brought to mind one anxiety that, despite my best evasive strategies, keeps hurling itself at me.

If you're a mum, you simply cannot avoid getting drawn into finger-nail-extracting conversations about schools.

When the twins were one, and we'd just moved back to Britain, a complete stranger (female) approached me in Tesco. Within a few sentences of small talk she had told me I had to get them into one of two primary schools in Sheffield or they were done for. Seriously. In a city of 550,000. I nearly smacked her.

Since then, I have been asked about the schools in our new Sheffield suburb so many times I almost wrote out answers on notecards so I didn't have to say anything any more. Recently, I tried to ask a mum who takes her son to our closest primary a simple question about catchment boundaries. She assumed I was worried about results and launched into a great exposition on league tables. Get me out of here!!!!!!!

Quite honestly, this is one of many areas of chit chat that make me long to be a man and withdraw to my cave. As long as the closest school to my house will keep my children safe, burden them minimally with tests or results and think a bit about who they are as individuals, I'm happy.

But I'm forced to get unhappy. By my fellow mothers. All the time. So I worry more than I would naturally incline to about the whole thing and chew my cheeks off with irritation at the people who should be my partners in crime. And I haven't even started on my moral and political issues with our individualistic and competitive approach to education.


Anyone for a pint?

1 comment: said...

Ooooh me please. I remember a friend advising me about feeder schools for a particular sought-after high school in our area when E was still in nursery. At that point in my life we were unaffected by half terms and uniforms and would ring up the nursery every so often saying 'He won't be in today - we have something planned.' It's like everyone's looking forward and making arrangements for the next phase that they miss the one they are in. I like the now a bit too much for that. (Bit incompatible approach to have when you're an event planner, I know...)