I don’t know if it’s the January blues or the crap weather but I’ve been incredibly grumpy this month.
Today I tried to come up with every excuse imaginable in order to avoid facing this morning’s toddler group, but in the end I begrudgingly dragged our arses out of the house after guilt tripping myself into going.
I park the car and get Daisy out. Even though the hall is less than fifty metres away I haul the wheels out of the boot because carrying Daisy in her car seat is similar to carrying a small elephant with a breeze block strapped to it.
I then get Theo out and in the five seconds it’s taken me to get him, some weirdo has appeared beside Daisy. No really, he’s an actual weirdo; he’s about my age and wearing a lime green vest with skinny jeans and pink flip flops and has an Avengers rucksack. I check Daisy is still there and luckily she is. He starts to strike up a conversation about how lovely and warm the weather is, but I politely make my excuses and wish him a wonderful day. His parting words are “don’t get sunburnt!”… Right. I’m really starting to wish we had just stayed home.
I pick a corner of the room away from everyone else because I’m a grumpy cow and set up camp for the next hour and a half. It’s whilst I’m sitting there feeding Daisy that I’m struck by how making friends as a mum at these groups is similar to being in the dating game pre-husband and children.
We all need mum friends. Without them we lose our sh*t. Husbands are wonderful in many ways, but Zac isn’t always the best listener and I don’t think he feels too emotionally involved when I tell him that so-and-so’s husband is a knob because he got pissed at the weekend and vommed all over the kid’s lego… He tries to look interested but its other mums that get what it’s like to be in your shoes day in and day out.
When I used to go clubbing (I understand this is no longer a term used by young people, not sure what they call it now – it’s been a long time), we would scan the room nonchalantly looking for ‘talent’ (again, probably not a term used anymore). The same can be said for when you turn up at a new toddler group. Whether you realise you are doing it or not, you quickly look around for what you think look like your type of mums.
There are the posh mums, for example. These ones are often clothed in Ralph Lauren or something similar, with recently coloured hair and manicured nails. Their children are just as flawless and are usually dressed in clothes from Boden or JoJo Maman Bébé. They tend to frequent coffee shops in packs and they are very particular about who they let into their clique. Their noughties night club equivalent would be the good-looking, wealthy rugby or football-playing blokes who drove the flashy cars (bought by their dads usually). You only ever approached them if you were totally bladdered and would often be met with a raised eyebrow and a speedy departure on their part. Thankfully posh mums are slightly more polite and you may get a sympathetic smile and a sentence or two if you attempt a conversation. But that’s as far as it will ever go.
Then you get the chavvy mums. I think the less I say here the better. Fairly obvious who their male nightclub equivalent is (ahem… Henleys polo shirt *cough* *cough*).
Of course we can’t forget the obligatory bossy and competitive mums. These ones are highly intimidating and are normally seen running a cake or book stall at the group. Their kids are usually adorned in knitted cardigans (made by them, obviously) and are perfect sleepers and eaters. Their little angels are strongly encouraged to memorise the works of Shakespeare from memory by the tender age of six. Their clubbing parallel is the loud and arrogant show off who claims he can drink everyone else under the table, then fails abysmally by ending up in A&E with a broken arm after tumbling from the nightclub stage as a result of doing a handstand whilst downing a bottle of VK Apple.
Today at the toddler group I was unfortunate enough to come across one of the rarer mummy types; the over-sharer. These mums are hard to spot. A nice lady approaches me and within five minutes I know what birth control she’s on, I know that her husband is probably cheating on her, her bathroom ceiling has a leak and she finds mushrooms disgusting. I don’t even know her name. So I pretend Daisy has done a shit and hide in the bathroom for a few minutes until she has moved onto the next person (a bewildered looking grandad). Her equivalent in the noughties night club would be the emotional looking bloke in a cardigan that spends the whole night talking about his ex-girlfriend.
Once in a while you come across a mum who you instantly click with. You realise you laugh at the same things and have similar parenting attitudes (in my case it’s the ‘if I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen’ mind set). She will make all the failed play dates worthwhile and she will be the reason you don’t murder your husband and will reassure you when you feel like a bad mother for feeding your kids Happy Meals for lunch. She will pick you up when you feel like you are failing at mummying and will make the hard slog of wading your way through the minefield of the Mummy Dating Game totally worth it.
Much love to all my mum friends xXx