I realize this rant is totally out of context, but I belong to a few women-with-baby forums and when I read through some of the threads I start to get a dull ache in my bum area. For some reason this morning I recalled how much I loathed mommy and baby groups.
There is so much pressure to join one with your new little mushroom. As soon as you get out of hospital and are able to take more than five steps, you start figuring out which group you are going to join. You call the group leader and it all sounds so wonderful . They are generally really really happy bubbly people. Usually at this point I start to get uneasy – I am deeply suspicious of happy shiny people – I like my people a little bruised, a little dirty, a lot pessimistic.
You get your little bundle ready – dressed in their best clothes – you have already starting to buy into this under current of competition that exists at these things. You don’t even realize you are doing it, but there you go. You are so proud of your little Joshua/Sarah and can’t wait to get to the group, because your little one is going to be the best kid there – you know this.
In the car with your safety seat, getting the pram, the nappy bag and your bag in, buckled up, sort of figuring out where to go – because usually it is in a suburb off a side street that you really don’t know. In your area, but you are not so sure, so odds are you take a few wrong turns, drive at 20km/hour to try to figure out street signs and basically get yourself lost.
You finally get there and it is usually a house in suburbia that has been revamped by a mommy with one or more likely two kids, who is using her love of kids to work from home, so there is a garage converted and lots of TreeHouse themed cushions and curtains.
You get all your kit unloaded. By now you are a little flustered as you are late, and you have had to park about 500 metres away as all the more eager moms got there before you. So you drag all your stuff all the way there.
By the time you get there and go through the alternate entrance, which usually is a narrow gate that your huge gi-normous pram does not quite fit in through the door, so there you are fighting the good fight, and starting to sweat a little, because odds you have over dressed, because you have not been out of the house by yourself for 6 weeks. The weather has changed since you were last outdoors, and the only clothes that fit you are from the wrong season.
You sort of fall inside the sliding door. To be greeted by a sea of usually attractive moms wearing their Sunday best and all their Joshuas and Sarahs are on little mats or cushions and everyone is so damn happy. You, of course, have worked up a bit of a sweat, your Joshua or Sarah is a little cranky as you have transferred baby from safety seat, to pram, and now have to get baby out of pram as pram does not fit into room, so you are trying to juggle baby, your bag, the nappy bag, snug and safe and what is left of your composure.
The far-too-friendly leader of this little ensemble, comes over to greet you and refers to you usually as Mommy <well, it is tricky referring to everyone by name, so Mommy sort of makes it easy, and because you are a new Mommy, it kind of makes you smile that you have a new important title>. You find a space and try to settle down.
At some point you are trying to assess the mood of the room, and then you start realizing that these moms are generally over achievers – like really over achievers. When you are trying to find 10 minutes to read or sleep, while you are forcing junior to take a nap, more for your benefit than for theirs, these moms are busy reading Baby’s First Words or doing some sort of Baby Gym with their babies. Damn, you are clearly behind with your baby’s development as you look down and your little imp is quietly gurgling and dribbling on his chin.
The leader takes her seat in the front centre, with her “baby doll” and everyone smiles and the excitement is tangible. Everyone beings introducing them selves. You start practicing a bit in your mind how you are going to introduce yourself and show off your offspring as you really only have about 4 seconds for introductions and really want to get bang for your buck here.
At the same time you are trying to remember names and baby names and ages …. and the reality is that you can barely remember your own. So your turn comes around and all you can muster up is “Hi I’m Celeste, and this is er…. Connor….. and he is ……hmmm….. his 4 months old.” And the spot light moves away from you.
Then the real show begins …….