Once your beautiful new little person has been brought into the world and you have started to get used to your new life as a mum, you start to get cabin fever and realise that there’s a whole new world to be discovered…
New mummy life can be lonely. You have a constantly hungry baby and Jeremy Kyle for company.
It’s really boring sometimes. Most of the time, I mean. This is normal. It’s a little bit shit.
So, you decide to venture out – maybe to your local supermarket, and it may take you three hours to get out of the house; but you get there. You are happy that you are out, buying toilet cleaner and useless store cupboard ingredients. You are living the dream.
I can remember my biggest challenge was pushing the pram up a huge hill to my local supermarket. Sounds lame but four weeks post C-section I was not in a good way and I craved a nose around a supermarket. I even visited a local bathroom showroom in my post-partum non-driving boredom, I even got quotes (We don’t own our house, nor do we require nor desire a new bathroom).
I made it up the big hill, my insides didn’t fall out and I only pissed myself once (I bought Tena lady on that jaunt FYI).
And then eight weeks post-op I was given the green light; I could drive.
Cue ‘Hallelujahs’ and fireworks. I was so happy, the world was my oyster.
I could go and do sensory classes, baby groups, and all the other shit that Other Mums do.
Finally, I could go and meet Other Mums, and maybe even meet mummy friends.
Oh, the excitement. In my head I could imagine how we would meet up every Wednesday for a Caramel Latte and a panini, and discuss how many (or few) hours sleep we’d had. Maybe slag our partners off and discuss how bad childbirth had been.
We could go to groups, and play under giant parachutes, bash drums and sing songs.
I started looking online and asking local Facebook groups about relevant classes, and I came across all sorts – baby ballet, song time, signing, church groups, and so on. I went to a few, I met some other mums, but I didn’t go for long.
Expectation versus reality – it’s a little bit shit for a number of reasons.
Firstly; motherhood isn’t easy. Babies don’t sleep a lot initially and neither do you. I was tired and could barely speak let alone venture out. Plus the prospect of meeting someone who’s baby slept through from three days old – I’d have probably smacked the fucker. I wanted to know how Other Mums always looked so amazing and I was a spotty, wobbly, greasy post-partum mess. The amount of times the colicky baby projectile vomited all over both of us just as we were about to pull off the drive was ridiculous.
Secondly; maternity pay is shocking. I could barely afford to stretch to a bottle of water let alone a Caramel Latte and any groups I wanted to do. Save money – stay in, eat mouldy bread, buy wine instead.
Thirdly; Other Mums. I shall elaborate.
I don’t like to stereotype, in fact I fucking hate stereotyping. But meeting Other Mums is scary as fuck.
As a first time mum you don’t know what the hell you are doing. It’s like building sixteen flat-pack wardrobes with no instructions while wearing mittens.
You think giving birth is scary? Worse than that, your first post-baby poo, remember how scary that was?
Walking into a group of Other Mums is terrifying. Had I wrapped my baby right? Was I feeding him okay? Did I look okay? Shit – they are all so skinny, they look like they haven’t had a baby. I look like I’ve eaten twenty babies.
And they were already in little clusters of friend-groups. And they looked about as friendly as a herd of hungry sharks. Nope, parent-baby groups weren’t for me.
I decided to use Facebook to find other mums who lived nearby in the hope I would meet someone who I might click with. Someone that would understand and laugh with me. They might even drink wine with me. Someone who wouldn’t judge me when I said I’d not changed my milk-stained bra for five days straight. Or wouldn’t condemn me when I openly dissed my child for shitting on my sofa and not sleeping.
I did indeed make some awesome mummy friends, but I did meet some rather strange people.
There was Cling-on Carrie, a mum of two who wanted to go everywhere with me and turned up on my doorstep daily. Our (extremely brief) friendship ended when she got upset that I had met up with one of my pre-baby friends without her. Strange girl. Thank God for restraining orders.
There was Two-sheds Tania, a mum of one whose son was a week younger than mine. She took great joy in telling me how her child had recited the alphabet at three months old and other ridiculousness. She would also tell me how poor I was and how bad I was for buying things second-hand. Last I heard, her little brainbox had passed 17 GCSEs aged two. Or some other bollocks.
There was Anxious Annie, bless her. Anxious Annie would spontaneously combust if she saw you do anything that wasn’t by the book or recommended. We fell out when I told her I’d give my colic-ridden baby gripe water the day before he could officially have it.
Jokes aside, it’s okay if you don’t want to do baby classes and groups – if you want to hide away and stay indoors and get excited about a trip to the supermarket, it’s fine.
Moral of the story? Go out if you want to. Stay in if you want to. Don’t feel ashamed if you fail to make it to baby sensory because you got pissed on half a glass of Sauvignon Blanc last night.
Have fun, enjoy being a new mum!
Image credit: Lisa, Pass the Prosecco…Please