The Playground Mafia is a book I received as part of my membership of the BritMums Book Club.

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I love the club as it leads me to read books that I would not normally select. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut with our reading choices.

The Playground Mafia: The Essential Guide to Observing, Identifying and Managing Playground Mums (and the Occasional Dad) was just released by John Blake Publishing.

I have mixed feelings about this book.

At best it is a bit of fun that certainly can lead to a smile or two. Watch yourself identify with one of the Mum Types and then realise you also have aspects of some of the other ones. I do have a tendency to take things too seriously and on that level, this book was very different for me and a bit of a tonic on a cold morning. I think it is great that this is a book that you can dip in and out of as the mood takes you.

Stereotypes do serve a useful purpose in our everyday lives. We don’t have the time to get to know the life stories of everyone we meet in the playground or in the street. However, we can judge too quickly and miss out on great potential friends. Worse still, we can write ourselves off all too easily and put up such barriers that nobody feels able to approach us. I know I have been guilty of this so many times.

When I did not have children, I used to watch mums turning up to deliver and collect children at the school across the street. It looked lovely and friendly but I recognise now there was a bit of naivety on my part. Playgrounds can be a very political place. I have found them daunting especially when beset with depression. So on that level, I have an issue with the book as sometimes the playground is not a funny place to be at all.

Then I wonder if I am thinking all wrong. In fact, I can see a really useful place for this book and making parents comfy with each other. I envisage schools putting on workshops about the book where parents can get to know each other and break the ice using the book as a tool to laugh and to relax.

The Playground Mafia by Clare Christian and Elisabeth Kent is published by John Blake Publishing. RRP £5.99

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