Who Are The Mummy Mafia?


Cate Blanchett, arguably Australia’s most successful actress, (although IMHO she doesn’t hold a candle to Toni Collette in Muriel’s Wedding) recently did an intriguing expose for Porter magazine.  I was unaware of Porter Magazine until now. It shouldn’t suprize you that high fashion is not my bag and if I must look at glossies I prefer Men’s Health.


Anyhow the article is choc  full of stunning highly stylized photos – that’s not the intriguing bit. In the revealing personal interview which justifies the expensive photo shoot, Cate claimed to be intimidated by the “Mummy Mafia” at the school gate. “You know [the other mums] are observing how you parent” she tells the magazine then elaborates with “there is a certain circle of people – and we all get insecure – who then ask, ‘Why can’t she brush her hair?’ You just have to shrug that off.”

I’m not judging the fact that Cate feels like she’s being judged. Being a mega star she’d inevitably attract intense scrutiny whatever she does. I can only say full kudos to her for doing the school run when she could offload that menial task on to a stunning 21 year old nanny.

What has aroused my curiosity is that so called Mummy Mafia and the school gate Judgey McJudgersons have raised their heads yet again. Who are these people? I’ve heard el mucho chatter about them in on social media and in real life. Apparently the school drop off at certain  private schools is a style competition akin to Fashions on the Field at Spring Racing. Legend has it that yummy mummies parade about in their Channel and Jimmy Choos. I repeat – who are these people? I have never encountered them. In my suburb cut off denims and birkenstocks are on point.

Cate on the school run looking like she actually has brushed her hair.

Cate on the school run looking like she actually has brushed her hair.

My school run is usually a rushed affair. I’m often famished from not having organised f breakfast and  delirious with dehydration because I haven’t managed to get a glass of water down my throat. A pair of Target shorts is thrown on over the tank top I’ve slept in. Much like Cate, I dont brush my hair so much as scrape it into a pony tail. Its a very poor showing and I certainly deserve a place at the bottom of the social ladder. Yet here’s the thing –  when I interact with the other parents I never feel judged. Most of them are in exactly the same boat. The lack of high gloss and glamour is overwhelming.

The "drop off" at Cranbrook - or so I'm told.

The “drop off” at Cranbrook – or so I’m told.

The usual pleasantries are exchanged. Mothers moan about what a crap morning they’ve had  and arrange play dates. There’s a smattering of Dads on drop off duty. My conversations with them have ranged from the direction of international currency markets to Ozzy Osbourne’s drug taking which is equally erratic.

If there’s any judgement its self judgement. Some of my peers have managed to get their careers back on track and are working on exciting creative projects or even better – travelling. By comparison I judge myself to be the world’s most boring, ineffectual person.

Talk about school gate cliques, bitchiness and competitiveness refuses to die down despite the fact I have never experienced it. It must be going on somewhere. Is it happening in your galaxy? Who are the mummy mafia? Have you experienced their savagery at the school gate?

Mob wives - is this the Mummy mafia?

Mob wives – is this the Mummy mafia?

Or are the overwhelming majority of  parents at your school lovely and down-to-earth?



27 thoughts on “Who Are The Mummy Mafia?

  1. No obvious judging at our Brisbane state school. But really – If you are boring and ineffectual, God help the rest of us!

    I am off to a school dance concert this afternoon. Will wear shorts and a t-shirt – but in light of your post I might opt for shoes instead of sandals just in case.

  2. A mixture of both really, but there’s WAY more sports mums at my drop off and pick up than anything else. All donned in the LJ’s and looking ready to dodge cars with their buns of steel!

  3. It’s probably more like, the mum mafia are nervous about maybe meeting Cate if they’re looking a bit too relaxed style wise cos she’s a big fancy star and then she’ll judge them and then their kids can’t be friends. Meanwhile Cate is nervous also and trying to fit in.
    Or maybe it’s private school 1st world problems.
    Everyone misses out.

  4. A very much down to earth bunch at my kindy drop off. Will be interesting at school next year. I can probably put money on my dress code at that time of the morning not changing…or hairstyle.

  5. Birkenstocks rule in our burb alongside some nicely dressed moms as well. I do know there are schools and communities everywhere that dress to the nines. I was just at Westfield yesterday in the post school pick up time (my kids were at dance rehearsals so I was alone) and there was a fashionista mother in DJs with her daughter. We are talking Louis vuitton bag, skinny jeans, LONG SLEEVE blouse, super high heels etc. full makeup. Not sure which school they just came from but to me it was intense since it was baking hot here and everyone at our school had been dripping in sweat and moaning at pick up lol.

  6. I’m going to be the coolest mum there anyway so they can all suck on that.

  7. I don’t have kids in school yet but I have heard about this mummy mafia crap too. I don’t know where I saw it but it was a blogger sharing a post on ‘school pick up’ outfits. What the? Who the heck are we trying to impress here? I reckon some mums in their business outfits probably think I look like a bum dropping off my son to daycare and that I’m dropping him off to veg out at home all day. I work from home people!

  8. I don’t even get out of the car- I’m one of those mums. I wouldn’t even stop if I thought my kids could perfect the tuck and roll at 40km an hour! (Kidding!)

  9. Oh indeed I have experienced these delightful creatures – although as the boys have grown and can make their own way home, I no longer have regular encounters with the Mummy Mafia… they are just the grown up version of Mean Girls at school…some things never change. Mx

  10. One school my kids went to had a Mummy Mafia. They didn’t pick on me but I heard them bitching about other mothers and saying dreadful things. I heard the ‘outer’ mothers referred to them as the White Linen Brigade. I moved schools because I hate that sort of thing. It’s the only school I ever struck like that though.

  11. I definitely experienced it when my older two were little and at primary school, there actually was a lot of judgement because I worked. I’ve seen a bit of it in a group we take part in for my eldest, but I’ve just decided to let it roll off me. It says more about them than it does me.

  12. School pick up and drop off scares me and I am still two years away from it! Reading through all these comments is not helping my paranoia.

  13. I’m actually quietly terrified of what the school gate antics are going to be like when my daughter starts school next year. This is not helping. :/ But thank you for the heads up.

  14. I don’t feel judged on wardrobe alone – in fact if I’m honest it’s more likely to be me judging the women who DO work the red carpet look at drop off. I just want to ask them where they buy their extra 3 hours of morning from! I have witnessed a few snarky spats though but that’s more about people who would never get along in any context, not necessarily a Mummy issue.

  15. I’ve definitely seen the Mummy Mafia, but have never had any run-ins. I’m loving the drop and go.

  16. I’ve seen elements of it – there are certainly some cliques at our school who are not interested in getting to know anyone else. But I haven’t suffered very badly from them. When I had PND after my son was born, I was convinced they all hated me but hey, that could have been all in my brain!

    Oh, and for me, Cate in Little Fish might just pip Toni in Muriel’s Wedding. Both great though!

  17. No not much mummy mafia, everyone is nice but we do have a few fitness mums whose abs I find intimidating!

  18. There are loads of lycra ladies at our school… which can almost have the same shaming effect on me as the glamazons you speak of. I have been tempted to whack on some Lorna Jane just so I fit in a little better but then Im all ” me and Lycra”…. yeah no! xx

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