A friend recently asked me - "What superpower would you most like to have? And why?". With less than twenty seconds thinking time I answered that I would like to be able to choose when I could be invisible. When she asked me about the "why" part, my response was swift.
"I want to choose when I can be invisible so that I can avoid all those difficult conversations with tricky people in the playground at the primary school".
She laughed and told me it was a clever answer. Maybe she thought I was joking. But I have never been more serious. Is it just me who feels like the schoolyard is a potential minefield of exploding parental conversation grenades....or do you feel like this too?
Last week another parent shared with me her concerns that the school may not be going "to cut it" for her child in an academic sense. She shared that her child is coming home and saying things like "I'm bored" and "I learnt this last year". She also told me that she thought she would "be pulling him out for a school with higher standards". I stayed largely mute throughout the conversation. We love the school we have chosen and we are actively playing a role in helping to build the community and support the endeavours of the staff. But I felt a bit bewildered. How did she think I would respond? What did she want from the conversation? I guess she wanted me to validate her thinking....agree with her point of view....Whatever the intention of the conversation, it left me uncomfortable and yes, I wanted to be invisible.
A month ago a different parent and I were having a conversation about the Batsman and his skills particularly related to his autism diagnosis. At one point she said "but it's like that for NORMAL children too". I would have given my left arm to be invisible at that point but instead I put my big girl pants on and had a conversation about how we would never refer or imply that the Batsman is "abnormal". I talked about how we NEVER refer to autism as "the big bad thing" or "the abnormal thing" or "the thing that's wrong with him". It's just not who he is, who we are or how we want him to view himself as he grows. The conversation was successful but a little awkward and left me drained and tired. Where was that invisible superpower when I needed it?
How do you feel about the conversations in the school playground? What superpower do you wish you had?