There are many things I’ve discovered in the first year of motherhood…..
- You and your NCT friends can stretch a Whats App conversation about poo across three days; this will include the colour, texture, amounts that got in your hair…..
- It’s entirely acceptable to nap on your drive in broad daylight when your baby has fallen asleep in the car the second you turn into your road… if you can’t beat them join them. Who gives a fuck what the neighbours think
- Topshop is no longer for me. Devo.
- Calpol and Wine…. everything will be fine
- Somedays it’s entirely acceptable to call your husband horrific things in the midst of a sleep deprived fight, over something you can’t even remember, only just to end up being in floods of tears because you realise what a bitch you’re being, then crying even more when he’s dumb enough to agree it’s your fault cause you’re a hormonal nightmare. Dick.
- the one time you leave the house with the baby, without a scrap of make up on – not even mascara – and your hair twisted up on top of your head looking like something a car regurgitated, telling yourself you won’t see anyone you know….. you will bump into EVERYONE YOU’VE EVER MET! Fucking excellent.
But one of the scariest and most daunting things I’ve discovered is making friends with complete strangers. This is usually done by striking up a conversation about poo, my nipples or any other inappropriate conversation starter that I wouldn’t have dreamt of (even in my worst nightmares) pre baby! This is all part of the “fun” of going to baby classes.
Previously I’ve managed to drag a fellow Mummy friend along to any of the classes we’ve gone to, so we’ve faced the fear together and had each other so we don’t look like friendless losers! But tomorrow I am having to face the prospect all on my little lonesome.
After a couple of days stuck at home thanks to a sickness bug and getting my period (fucking bitchface mother nature fuckwit) today I was joined by the delight(!) that is Mummy Guilt. Todays was over the fact that other than playing, cooking, reading and a couple of very short walks around Tesco, I am worried I’ve not given Josh much of an interesting few days. Even reading that makes me feel stupid cause we’ve actually done plenty but still, Mummy Guilt was bitching in my ear that I wasn’t doing crafts or mentally stimulating my child. Stupid cow – of course I wasn’t doing crafts; the baby isn’t even one yet – if he isn’t walking yet he’s hardly going to be capable, or interested in, gluing sequins to fairy liquid bottles (that’s what crafts equate to right…..)!
Anyway I decided to see if there was any classes near me this week that were drop in so I could take Josh tomorrow without committing to paying eighty quid for six weeks of trying to get him to appreciate sensory when he’d rather be tearing around in a manner that is somewhere between crawling and walking and stealing another kids sensory sheet of obscenely bright lace which he’d then proceed to eat. Fortunately I found a nice local baby gym that looks ideal for a baby who wants to cause as much chaos as humanly possible at the bargain cost of £4. But then it dawned on me; none of my mummy friends are around tomorrow. This would mean the dreaded “going it alone” and feeling the fear. Lets face it, some baby classes are a bit cliquey. People already know each other, they have their groups of friends; it’s not a bad thing, but when you’re a newbie it can make the prospect of going to a massive hall full of soft play toys and screaming babies and toddlers far more terrifying than it actually is.
However, as I started off by saying (I do go off on a tangent don’t I! Ranty Bitch. Blame the period) one of the things I’ve discovered since becoming a Mummy is this unspoken bravery. You’ve really got no choice; you can either strike up a conversation about pelvic floors, yellow poo or the fact that sometimes you secretly think your child is being a belligerent arsehole and refusing to nap just for the sake of it in order to see if Mummy is going to totally lose her shit, or you can spend the rest of your days housebound with said occasional arsehole child watching Loose Women whereby you will slowly lose the plot and end up relating to Janet Street Porter and having some weird crush on Mr Bloom. Nobody wants that, therefore it’s time to get chatting to those fellow Mummies.
The funniest thing is, it’s kind of like the whole “first day of school” feeling; you think about it the night before and get all nervous, then as soon as you’re there it’s fine, you’re well away and you get on with it. You’re all in the same boat. Many a Mum has sat, hidden behind her iPhone (or child) at a new Mum group wondering whether to stay for another rendition of Incy Wincy in the hope it will boost her bravery to start a conversation, or to just bolt for the door. But when you see a friendly face, that encouraging smile that says “don’t worry, I get it, I had Weetabix sick in my hair the other day too” and there you have it! A new Mummy friend! You’ve formed your very own mini team of “it’s not just you”.
And the most amazing thing about all of this is that these friends, the ones you were so nervous to befriend and get chatting to, end up being the ones who know the deepest, darkest and frankly most disgusting things about you. They know you’ve eaten an entire chocolate orange to yourself in one sitting three times in one week, they know you’ve had weeks where you’ve frequently cried in Tescos car park because you forgot vinegar AGAIN and you’re just so tired you simply can’t go back in. They know the torture of sleepless night, bleeding nipples, the return of your period (BITCH), and babies that scream for no fucking reason. And above all they remind you of what a good job you’re doing. They remind you that you’re all in it together. So brave it (yes I am telling myself this), don’t pussy out at the last minute telling yourself the baby is tired when he’s not, it’s just that you’re too scared going alone, because you just don’t know what lovely friends you might make, plus there’s the added bonus that the baby will get tired at the class and nap beautifully for you (positive thinking, positive thinking) afterwards.
And if it all goes to shit, I can always blog about it 😉