“Single parents alone together all for one and one for all!” For those of you that have watched About A Boy you will understand the scene I’m setting, for those of you that haven’t you really should its bloody hilarious! This is what I had pictured in my head for my first experience at “Mum group” a bunch of multi-coloured felt wearing, breastfeeding, eco nappy promoting Mum’s.
It’s a weird thing you become a Mum and suddenly are expected to go to these groups with other Mums to talk about babies and breast feeding. So I went nervously on my way to my first Mum class, quaintly named “Mum’s village club” I didn’t know anyone I just saw the poster on the board of our local village hall and like most new Mum’s felt obliged to go. I walked in pram in hand constantly singing in my head “single parents alone together” and was greeted by a sea of Cath Kidston wearing late thirty early forty-year olds. I expected them to be friendly but only one lady came over to introduce herself, so I stuck to her like a clampit.
There was tea on the side and a plate of biscuits and all the Mum’s seemed to be just standing in their own little groups chatting to each other. A few Mum’s started talking to me, well I say talking I mean interrogating me. I looked young, was I a single parent? Well no, I think the wedding ring on my left hand says otherwise however the fact my husband was away in the army was a subject of huge debate for them. I carried on chatting and trying to fit into their conversations realising I had totally nothing in common with these ladies. I looked around and realised I also wasn’t suitably dressed for the occasion wearing a summer dress and converse, tattoos and nose ring to boot! Each one of these Mums was wearing exactly the same bloody thing a uniform of Joules striped top, a floral scarf topped off with the compulsory Cath Kidston Satchel. I didn’t realise when you became a Mum there was a suitable dress code, I seemed to miss that memo I also didn’t age twenty years and forget all my fashion sense, but now I’m just ranting.
It was like some weird army and I was trying to pass the initiation test, to get into the inner circle. I was asked what job I did, how old I was, did I own my own home really intimate questions, but all asked in a creepily friendly way that made you openly answer these questions like I was on “An audience with”
The Mum’s talked about breastfeeding for what felt like an eternity seriously how much can you talk about mastitis? They discussed eco nappys, nearly all of them were vegan, clearly me sitting eating my way through a plate of chocolate hobnobs while bottle feeding my twins didn’t go down too well. When talking about their babies routines I was met with grasped horror like some canned audience on an episode of Friends when I revealed my twin girls are sleeping in their own bedroom in separate cots at the age of thirteen weeks. I sat totally bamboozled wondering how I was going to make my escape and get back into the real world.
Finally the “Mums” club started to come to an end by now I had learnt what attachment parenting is, why its important to breastfeed, what supplements I should be taking to produce more breast milk and had been handed the recipe for a vegan cheesecake. I made a hasty retreat back home sat down in my rented home and had a non vegan cup of tea.
But it made me think the way society sees Mum’s as if we should all fit in this perfect little Stepford wives box, we should all dress the same and have the same values just because your now responsible for a tiny human. Well I for one am not that stereotypical Mum, yes I have tattoos, no I can’t stand Cath Kidston (no offence Cath your just not my type) and my entire wardrobe isn’t based around Joules. Yes I don’t own my own home, I don’t have a dresser full of Emma Bridgewater, I don’t have the latest “Yummy Mummy” cupcake nappy bag and I don’t have a Ford Cmax parked on the drive but that doesnt make me any less of a Mum, It dosnt mean my girls are being dragged up. It makes me a real Mum, a Mum that is true to who she is, who dosnt follow convention and is happily not a bloody vegan!