How many of you mums out there have felt judged, condescended to, sneered at, cold-shouldered, or made to feel inferior by another mom? How many of you have made the school-run in disheveled hair and track pants with not a speck of make up only to find a clique of moms dressed in their pastel brunch-best silks, faced layered with (ironically) au naturel makeup and hair in perfect onion curls? And it doesn’t end with you! The school your little one attends is the primary topic of discussion at every birthday you attend. If I had a dollar for each time I have been asked which school my teeny tot is headed to I would be loaded… and preferably on a plane to South America cackling into the sunset.
Before I dive headfirst into some political incorrectness, perhaps a disclaimer is in order. I have nothing against women in brands. Heck my closest friends and both my sisters are suckers for some arm candy, a sexy pair of shoes – I love them to bits. They are really genuine people, not at all pseudo, highly intelligent and not remotely bimbo. I’d be a proud mom if my hypothetical daughter ended up like any of them. So if your apparel or accessories are screaming labels, I don’t care. I have recently been witness to so many cases of arrogant parents on the one hand and those who have been implicitly ostracized; I HAD to pen this list:
The brands you adorn don’t define you or others around you
Again, if you think that Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo or Prada are an extension of your personality, please take my word for it: they are not. I can solemnly swear no one thinks you are a better person for sporting one. They look good and can serve to elevate your social status in the eyes of people for whom money substitutes class and grace. People who like and appreciate you for your personality DO NOT care. Ain’t nobody got no time for that buddy. The only reason you should pay through your nose for something branded/pricey is because it looks good ON YOU and its durability. That is all. Good brands equal good quality; they don’t fail you and can be passed on as a family heirloom. But know this before you go for it. Same goes for your pricey hairstylist and your fitness instructor. Namedropping ain’t cool and it screams ‘social climber’.
Folks, it doesn’t matter whether an 18 month old attends playschool, least of all which one
Again, schools in Karachi are another kind of brand. Schools should only be judged according to the quality of education they impart and whether they treat you and you’re your child with respect. But honestly is there really an objective parameter for that? Is a good school defined by which universities majority of the alumni ends up in? Or the kind of jobs they get? I’m not so sure.
Try to spark intelligent conversation lest you be branded a bimbo
Maybe talk about movies (if not the last book you read) or world affairs or vaccinations. Or the weather. Anything but dissecting people, or flaunting expensive vacations, or which salon is offering the best deal on Kerastase. Anything but that. Please sistah, my brain cells are defecating inside my skull.
Cliques are so last century
It may have something to do with all the Sweet Valleys read during the impressionable adolescent years, but there is a mean little Lila Fowler alive within all of us. In a social set up why do we immediately gather in huddles of close friends/acquaintances? What is this need to congregate and talk in hushed tones, form a formidable circle others find intimidating to venture near? Is there an underlying insecurity that translates into this behavior? Think about it.
Talk to the wallflowers
Notice that girl standing separately maybe peering into her phone? She is messaging her best friend about how insufferable this gathering is and how bored she is. Talk to her. Approach her, strike up a conversation, ask her how she knows the host. Karma rocks, it will come back to you. When you find yourself in a similar situation imagine how consoling a friendly stranger will appear.
Take pride in the characteristics that make you unique
It takes all sorts to make a world and that world, beautiful. This is a crazy cliché but everyone is unique in their own special way. Material possessions, physical beauty, ‘connections’, these come and go, they are ephemeral. Wit, intelligence, generosity, spirit, originality, compassion – these are the attributes to strive for, these make you, beautifully, uniquely, YOU.