When my children were babies, the women from my ante natal group were my lifeline.
Endless afternoons (never mornings as it was impossible to get dressed before midday) spent drinking tea, discussing breastfeeding and how much sleep we hadn’t had. I revelled in meeting these witty soul mates, who had worthy and interesting jobs and forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. They didn’t care what the latest colour was (unless it involved poo) or the key shape of the season.
As soon as our babes in arms started to walk and talk, things began to change. Territories began to emerge, girls versus boys, liberal or strict, attitudes to food, sleep training, and worst of all, competitive parenting began to creep in.
‘Isn’t Ben walking yet, Lily can recognise an L, Josh is sleeping for twelve hours at night and two in the afternoon!’
Well bully for you, my child doesn’t eat a single bit of solid food, never sleeps, and hits every child he comes into contact with.
My weekly meetings in the park often left me feeling like the inadequate mother of Damian from the Omen.
Starting school was no better. We entered a whole new world of mum tribes:
Glamour mum, Super mum, Workaholic mum, Stay at home and focus on your children in a weird, unnatural, obsessive way, mum……………………the list goes on.
As the kids have got older, I find Mums of teens are possibly the worst.
They generally fall into two camps:
Lazy in denial mum: She think her teen is an absolute angel, and would really rather not know about anything illegal or dangerous, as it means getting involved and possible confrontation.
Over anxious mum: Lives in a perpetual state of nervous nosiness (inch high private eye) and is suspicious of everything, sometimes causing the teen to think, 'Well I might as well, as she thinks I'm doing it anyway.'
Lazy in denial mum is Over anxious mum’s idea of Hell. She never really wants to know where her teen is and lets them do more or less anything.
An all night party in Essex with no parents involved, why not. Smoking dope on the way to school, doesn’t everyone. Drinking vodka on a school trip, well it’s only a bit of fun.
Try calling up lazy mum and suggest it might not be a good idea for twenty five 15 year olds to go camping to Cornwall on their own, and she will make you feel like Mrs Uptight from Hung up Street, Conservative on Sea.
Luckily over the years I have managed to gather together a small selective group of loyal, like minded women, who like me sum up the majority of mums.
Completely contradictory mum: strict and uptight one minute, liberal and understanding the next (usually after a couple of glasses of red)
We bungle our way through, helping each other out in times of cirsis, not quite knowing whether what we are doing is right, but hoping for the best.
Which mum are you?