I am pissed off. I know exactly how pissed off I am because this particular incident happened at the start of the week and today, a full five days after the fact, I am still spectacularly pissed off.
Alpha has started a new job, which is brilliant, but there is a slight downside in that he now has to be in the office bang on 9am every morning so no more Daddy school run for a while. It's now down to me to drag the nippers to school every day but I am not complaining. I really enjoy it; the route to school is a daily adventure filled with exciting dogs, cats, games of 'I Spy' and the discovery of 'secret' routes to escape the numerous monsters which lurk behind trees, lamposts and parked cars. The journey is punctuated by the feeding of mints into eager small mouths, dubbed 'leg fuel' to keep them going on the ten minute trek.
What I don't like is the playground politics. Huddles of immaculate mothers lurk in the playground, eyes like laser beams, lipsticked mouths set in annoying smirks, boasting for Britain about their offspring's latest triumph/ their Spanish villa/ how insanely busy they are (usually coming from women with Hedge-fund husbands, no job and nannies coming out of their ears).
Sample conversational snippets:
"Mabel is doing so well with her extra Mandarin classes this term - the teacher says she's a natural linguist and she's only five! Isn't it marvellous!"
"I'm going crazy - in between PTA meetings, the garden square committee and dealing with my decorator, I can't even find the time to squeeze in a blow dry. And now the nanny is off on holiday next week. I have no idea how I'm going to cope!"
"I stopped working the moment I had Charles. It's so important for children to have their mother at home. Of course, being a working mother is a personal choice and each to their own, but when you become a parent you have to realise that it's not just about you any more, don't you think?"
Anyway, I digress.
On Monday I go into school as usual, make sure Firstborn is lined up with her class and then take the Small(er) One into nursery. All fine until I remember that her class is having a special talk about something or other that parents are invited to but I have a meeting and can't stay. I'm nearly at the door and about to make my escape when the Class Rep grabs me.
"Oh," says Class Rep, flashing a toothy grin. "Are you not staying for the talk?"
I smile politely, "No, I have a meeting."
"What a shame," she says, smile fading. "Because you don't often make it to school events, do you?"
"I come when I can," I say. "But since we were only told about this yesterday, it's just not possible to rearrange my schedule."
She leans in towards me with a girly giggle. "Oh, just call in sick! Your office will never know!"
I assume she's joking. "Oh, sure," I say. "I'll just cancel my client meeting half an hour before it starts. They probably won't even notice. What a wonderful idea!"
Class Rep is silent for a moment, then throws me a pitying look. "I know it's so hard for you working mothers, but sometimes you have to think really hard about priorities, don't you? Especially when it means so much to the children. And especially when all the other children have their mummies there."
I look over at the Small(er) One. She is engaged in a noisy prodding game with her best friend and looks most undisturbed about my imminent departure.
"I think that my daughter will be absolutely fine."
Class Rep gives me her very special look. "If you say so," she sniffs. "But you don't need to worry. I'll make sure she's OK. After all, I'll be here holding the fort! As always!" And then she flounces off.
I wish I could say that I shot back some cutting remark. The sort of remark that would keep Mumzilla's everywhere awake at night, that would slice through smugness like a knife through butter, that would sour the organic soyamilk used by the entire Mumzilla tribe for their made-from-scratch wholemeal blueberry no-sugar muffins.
But sadly, I simply seethed silently and scuttled off to my meeting, smoking three furious cigarettes in the five minute walk from the school gates to the tube.
I am pathetic.