Kids in the playground

Kids in the playground

By Clare Sultmann

I’m a mother of two sons and a daughter. My daughter is very little but both my sons are at school, albeit very junior grades. Each day I drop the older one off and I hide behind the bag racks and watch him and his mates for a minute or two. The boys, and I mean, a group of them religiously play tag with each other. They are having a great time, totally consumed by the game and their mates, their only concern being who is ‘it’.  I call out to my son and frantically wave goodbye but I never really get a second look. He’s having too much fun. And then I watch some of the girls try and join in. Not all, but some. They are keen to play the game too, desperate to get the boys attention. Today one of them grabbed a boy’s hat and ran away with it, in the hope that he would chase after her, give her some attention.  She even hit him for good measure.  I looked at some of the other parents, my friends, to see if they had been witness to this as I was about to step in but then the bell rang.


The whole episode though, like it does most mornings stayed with me.  I walked away thinking back to my time at primary school, when many girls did exactly the same thing.  Running away with a boy’s hat is not a new thing.  I still remember in grade 2, when the whole class played ‘Farmer in the Dell’ and the most ‘popular’ boy in the class had to pick a wife. ‘Pick me, pick me,’ I silently screamed. Of course he never did. That gong went to my very pretty friend but for some reason, I still remember it.


As I wandered to my car this morning, I thought of all the times in my life when girls have vied for boys attention. It may start in the schoolyard as young as five or six, yet it continues. That grade 8 school dance, that party, that formal, that disco, the boys head of the river rowing regatta which seemed to draw as many girls as boys to watch and so on. It’s something that as a woman I don’t like to admit to, yet it’s the truth, plain and simple.  A friend was at my house recently and her daughter, an incredibly bright and popular girl, is the same age as my son. As she was getting ready to come to our place she turned to her mother and said: ‘Do you think William ( my son) would like this dress?’ Her mother was beyond horrified and reprimanded her quickly. ‘Who cares, what he thinks’ was her response. And she was right. When I told my son who was coming over his response was: ‘So, will she play footy with me?’  


Strong female friendships, involvement in sport, especially team sport and a deep belief in self are all things that many young girls are in possession of, if not most.  And I am not saying that possessing these things and wanting some attention from the opposite sex are mutually exclusive. What I am saying is that boys and girls have, I believe, from an early age, completely different mindsets. Just spend a minute or two watching your kids in the playground….

Clare Sultmann

Clare Sultmann is a wife, mother of 3 and the founder of Dear Molly.
As a survivor of a catastrophic accident, former barrister at law, published author, and nationally accredited mediator Clare has returned to work in a different capacity. Relocating to Noosa shortly after the birth of her first child, Clare found it difficult to make meaningful and real connections with other like-minded women away from her own network of friends. With this in mind, Clare’s idea was born. Dear Molly aims to provide connections for like-minded women in a real, meaningful and positive manner. It a platform to share, communicate and inspire other women about their ‘real’ life. 


Please login or sign-up to add your comment.

Comments (1):

So true Clare and my son asked if a girl in his class could watch him
Play footy??? 😬😳😳...ummm
Hmmmmm. He is in Prep and I did have to say that I am not sure I can ask her Mum for that kind of play date?? Then up to us to 'manage' and teach certain a more
serious conversation had to happen as I don't want him ever thinking girls are just there to cheer from the side lines!!

jomckee05 - March 27, 2018