Almost as soon as your baby comes along, or even before, you’ll probably have well-meaning friends and family asking if you’ve met a network of other new local mums yet.
Here at MFM we totally get that being part of a mother and toddler group can be a really positive experience for lots of women who are simply trying to get the hang of this whole mum thing.
After all, it’s a lovely excuse to get out of the house if nothing else (if you’re up to it): drink coffee and put the world to rights with our newfound friends as our babies sleep peacefully, right?
It’s just that sometimes, you know, just occasionally, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, for one of several reasons…
1. Arranging what time to meet is kind of like herding cats
You decide on a time but get a frantic text because one of the mums has just got her baby to sleep in her cot and could you possibly meet an hour later?
Ummm. What’s the big deal? If it was yours you’d just scoop them into the pram and make your way there. But hey ho, everyone’s different and you’ll just be happy to see them when you see them. Whenever that is…
2. Everyone else looks like they’ve had a great night’s sleep but you feel like Grotbags
You’ve woken up with serious mum hair (it’s been a while since you washed it and you’re out of dry shampoo, gulp) and you were up and down like a yo-yo so much last night, you ended up turning on the telly at 3am and watching Storage Hunters repeats on a loop. For hours.
So, how come all the other look mums so put together? Oh yeah, and you’re half-way down the road before you notice there’s baby sick on your shoulder too. Joy.
3. While the other babies sleep in glorious peace yours has a full-on meltdown
When more than 3 mums and their babies meet up, chances are at least 1 baby will be wide awake and ready for attention. Just so happens that it’s usually yours – or at least it feels that way.
While the other mums are managing to enjoy a piece of lemon drizzle and get to drink their coffee while it’s still hot, you’re pacing the coffee shop madly rocking your little one and making clown faces while you work out what’s wrong.
You’re sure the girl behind the counter is giving you judgy looks because you seem to be the only clueless mum in the vicinity (she’s not, and you’re not – it’s just that when you’re surviving on three hours sleep a night, it sometimes feels that way).
You want to drop through a whole in the floor but instead you hush your baby furiously until they eventually (thank the LORD) nod off. Now for cake. Woo hoo!
4. There’s a MEGA poonami – and you’re down to the last wet wipe
It’s a major parenting law that when you’re least organised, the messiest poos arrive in all their stinky glory. You notice the poop face and the squirm and you know this is going to be MASSIVE.
And of course there’s only 1 bone-dry, brown-at-the-edges wet wipe at the bottom of the packet and you definitely forgot to bring a spare baby grow. *Sigh*.
You improvise with dampened bog roll and sponge off what you can from your little one’s clothes with the help of a random cotton wool ball you find at the bottom of your bag.
You scoop up baby, who’s much happier, scrape your hair behind your ears and rejoin the others to gulp down your (now stone cold) coffee. “Same time next week?” pipes up one of the girls.
Most definitely, you nod, but at this precise moment in time you’re not entirely convinced…