So Mothers Group, what’s that about?! Let’s chuck a bunch of random chicks and babies into the one room for some facilitated workshops with the only common ground being that we all squeezed a baby out of a hole somewhere at a similar time.
Is Mothers Group painful and awkward? Hells yes! Especially for me because to be honest, I’m a bit of a swear bear and it only gets worse when I’m nervous.
I went along expecting a room filled with Lorna Jane-wearing workout mums (quickly brushes crumbs from hastily scoffed cheesymite scroll from mouth) with their own homemade snacks of hummus and organic arseberries.
Was it like that? Well not really but I felt like the ONLY crazy one in the room. So I tried to keep myself nice, not to lose my cool and scream ‘I made this baby but I don’t know what he wants, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HELP ME!’
Not being very good at not being myself, it all unravelled in a few weeks, firstly when I forgot a teat to feed my kid with (which I laugh about now but at the time it felt like epic mummy fail #115) and was the recipient of sympathetic looks from people in the group, seemingly tinged with relief that it wasn’t them, which naturally made it worse!
The next week I was found by another Mum outside the Mothers Group weeping silently behind my sunglasses. Rather than avoiding eye contact and calling a Crisis Assessment Team to come get me, she gave me a hug and said ‘…this week it’s you, next week it will be me and the week after it will be someone else! Don’t stress about it.’
Those words stuck with me and do you know what? She was right, no one is crazier than another new Mother and no one understands your crazy like another new Mother.
They don’t say crap like ‘every moment is precious, they won’t be young for long’ because we are all just trying to get through this moment, this day, this week. I’m sure we would all like to be mindful and appreciate every blessed bloody minute but sometimes babies can be a pain in the arse. They cry, they eat, they crap, they spew and these moments of banality are interspersed with beautiful smiles and moments that you will remember hopefully when they are smelly, argumentative toddlers and teenagers.
At first the Mums in my group were drawn together by our mutual bemusement regarding the odd advice from our Maternal Child and Health Nurse and how she wears the same freaking thing EVERY time we see her.
We laugh about how we are all creating ‘bottom shufflers’ because we are sitting our babies up on the floor and other places that are not our laps, thereby risking having a baby that allegedly becomes a bottom shuffling adult. I’ve never seen one of these bottom shuffling Neanderthal adults but it looks like I’ll have one in my house in about 17 years.
We laugh at the terrible ‘starting solids’ talk we went to that actually shed no light on starting solids whatsoever.
After the facilitated sessions ended, we kept trying to catch up once a week. Some people have disappeared from the group and that’s OK. The rest of us try to make it when we can.
Our Mothers Group has now turned into every cafe owner’s nightmare: a bunch of chicks with babies that shed rusks and dummies at an alarming rate.
We have whinged together about our kids not sleeping, not eating, spewing on the carpet. We’ve cried together over the same things, sometimes over coffee and cake, sometimes over a much deserved glass of wine.
The thing I love about my Mothers Group is that everyone is themselves:
- If they had a crappy week, they tell you.
- If they have a question to ask about poo or food or boobs or lady bits, they ask.
- If they found a new bib with a force field that repels food from splattering from the highchair onto every surface within a 5 metre radius, they share.
- If they are desperate for a bloody drink, they have one without fear of judgement.
I like them because they’re all real people.
The other week we spied another Mothers Group at the next table and we were blown away by how maternal they all looked. They were all holding their cherubs close and looking lovingly into their eyes and pretty much ignoring each other. It looked like they were all trying to ‘out mum’ each other. It was super creepy Stepford Wives stuff.
Meanwhile, back at my mothers group, there are kids sitting supported on the table and on laps, surrounded by toys and half-chewed rusks trying to grab nachos and knock over glasses of wine and cups of coffee.
My advice (though remember: advice is crap, especially mine) – if you’re a new Mum, try to connect with other friends that are mums or try to persevere with your Mothers Group.
Awkward, yes, but if you’ve got some good people who are a little bit honest about the ups and downs of raising a bottom shuffling Neanderthal baby, it’s worth persisting because no one knows your special brand of crazy like another mother.
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