Other mums scare the sh*t out of me. Seriously.
Before I became a mum I had this idea, that once I got my own baby I would automatically gain lots of friends with children of their own, because children attract children and most children come with cool parents, right?! Actually, it was one of the reasons why I thought it would be a breeze to move to the other side of the world with a newborn, back then. Surely, I would get a huge network of lots of awesome mums and dads in no time.
“You can’t expect people to come to you. You have to make an effort yourself,” they say.
So, for the last 2.5 years, every time I’ve arrived at a playground I’ve quickly scanned the area to see if there were any potential new best mummy friends around. Exactly as if I were going into a night club back in my pick up heydays, and since – without exaggerating – I were quite good at it back then, I more or less use the same tactic. If I spot anyone, I will do my very best to gain eye contact, smile and maybe even throw a little giggle at them when their child does something silly. Status so far: I’ve gotten some smiles and a couple of giggles back, but it always seems to stop at “how old is your little one?”. Maybe I should just buy them all 10 shots of tequila and we might get the playground party started.
However, it’s not just at the playground, this scenario takes place. It’s also at swimming class, gymnastics, pre-school, Gymbaroo, Musikidabra, Little Kickers…Whenever I step into a room filled with babies/toddlers and their respective mums, I become the 17 year old that doesn’t know how to communicate with grown-ups – while everyone else in the room turned into mummy clones.
Seriously guys, they look the same, they talk about the same stuff, even their babies look alike. I’m pretty sure, they all shop in the same members-only mummy shop with nice, slightly boring clothes and none of them would ever wear a pair of Vans. They have dinner ready at 6 o’clock for daddy when he gets home from work, and on Tuesdays they clean the bathroom.
It’s like they all joined this secret mummy’s club, and my invite was lost in the mail. Maybe I forgot to pay the joining fee on time. Wouldn’t be a first.
Honestly, I have no idea how to talk to this species. Okay, I have never been a champion of small-talk, but baby small-talk, ohh mayn: It’s just like russian to me.
Baby chitty-chatty is simply not my thing, especially not with strangers. Surely, I love talking about babies and children – I even have a blog, where that’s pretty much all I do,eh. I love talking about development and I love to hear if they did something cool or funny at the park. Sometimes.
But – this is real – I have more than once overheard some of them talking about nappy prices. Nappy prices! I just can’t do it. Yes, our children use nappies. Many of them, so we buy them. Every week. Just like we buy toilet paper and milk. I rarely talk to my friends about those things. Like, never.
I feel utterly uncomfortable in those settings. I totally feel like I have lost my skill of communicating and that I have absolutely nothing in common with any of these people – Except the fact that we have all reproduced.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I really am the odd one out. At least, that’s what I thought until I spoke to a close friend of mine, who just had her first baby 5 months ago.
This girl is probably the opposite of shy. Let’s call it what it is – she’s pretty loud and outgoing. Surely she would have no problem whatsoever to navigate this mummy world, she has just entered with a boom. But you know what – she is also the first one to leave the Gymbaroo. She also thinks it’s awkward to stay around and mingle with the other mums. She also thinks they all blend into each other. She also thinks it’s weird to talk to strangers about baby stuff. And she also thinks she has completely lost the ability to connect with people and keep a conversation going for more than 30 seconds.
That gave me a bit of hope. Not that I’m happy she also struggles with all these things, but it made me realize that I might not be so different. Maybe this mummy club isn’t so exclusive after all. Maybe the members are actually all just trying desperately to fit in and maybe they really have no idea what to say to each other – but we will always have nappy prices.
FYI. We prefer to use Naty nappies (trying to be eco conscious…when we can afford it), but they are quite expensive, so if they are not on sale, we go for Coles’ homebrand-ish ones. Cheaper and they work just fine.