So this post is just a pat on the back to myself really. It can be for anyone actually, I don’t know why I said it was for me. It’s for anyone. And it doesn’t really serve any particular purpose (not like instructions on a how to be a drunk mum but still produce dinner) other than to make you tell yourself that you’re amazing and keep at it. Whatever it is.
If you follow me on instagram then you’ll have seen my post last week, the one where I left the safety of our apartment and ventured out. Ok that’s not strictly true, I’ve been out of our apartment plenty of times, but usually just to somewhere that’s well within my comfort zones i.e. coffee shops. I don’t know why going to a playgroup was such a big deal, I’ve dragged various babies and toddlers along to groups ever since I joined the motherhood (sounds like a cool club, huh?). I’ve sipped tepid tea and talked about baby digestive activity for hours, I’ve sat breastfeeding a baby whilst simultaneously surviving song time with a toddler, I’ve been publicly sicked and shat on by both children all in the name of socialising them and I’ve learned to give approximately zero fucks about it. The list of playgroup calamities is endless. But it happens to all of us. It’s like a rite of passage into the motherhood. But there’s something about having older children, aka walkers, talkers and general answer-backers, that lulls you into a false sense of security that you’re waaay past the kind of public humiliations that babies put you through. Yes it is true that my children don’t tend to pebble dash me in their illuminous crap anymore, thank goodness, but with that experience comes a level of sympathy and sisterhood that paves the way for great friendships. Until you’ve had a stranger wiping your offspring’s freshly sprayed shit off your face whilst said child remains latched onto your tits, fast alseep, oblivious to the chaos they have caused, you’ve not really become a gold level member of the motherhood (disclaimer: there is no gold level membership, I’m just trying to make myself feel like a winner at life).
So what’s the problem?
Well, with threenagers (this is a broad term not to be applied to 3 year old’s exclusively) everything looks a little less cute and lot more terrifying. You know those balls with rattles inside and mirrors on the outside that babies love? Hand it to a threenager and it becomes a WEAPON. Aimed straight at your head. Or someone else’s baby. Or someone else’s baby’s head. Oh god. Going to a playgroup with a threenager (or two if you were really slack with contraception) becomes an exercise in hovering around your child ready to pounce and remove items which can be eaten/drank/poked up a nose/poked down an ear etc without hovering over your child. You don’t want to be the mother of THAT child, but at the same time you don’t want to be THAT mother. It’s so tricky. Baby’s, bodily functions aside, don’t tend to do much meaning you can pop for a baby-free wee whilst your new bff keeps half an eye on the drooling floor-bound sausage. At worst you miss their first role. But after poo-face, bff will role them back and say nothing for fear of a breakdown upon your return. Threenagers though….you can’t wee unless they want to wee. And they won’t want to wee when you do. It’s just basic science. And threenagers TALK. You have no secrets with a threenager about. That yummy looking mummy with kids vaguely the same age as yours who looks like ideal play date potential? Threenager will make some sort of socially unaware utterance in her earshot, possibly about winky’s and front bottoms. Quite possibly dropping a perfectly appropriate (for an adult) fuck-sake when something’s not going their way. It happens. And either yummy mummy will look horrified, back away slowly and make her excuses, or yummy mummy will start to resemble someone much more familiar. Scummy mummy, the backbone of the motherhood crew, the mum who has an eye roll for every threenager wisecrack, the one with the handbag almost as full of half empty raisin packets as you, the mum who suggests child-free wine at the earliest opportunity. The mother that non-mothers swear they’re not going to be until they have children themselves.
I think I am a scummy mummy at this point. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s just natural progression through the motherhood. Although I also think I skipped the yummy mummy stage, which perhaps explains rather a lot. Knowing you’re a scummy mummy and walking into a room full of yummy mummy’s (they’re strangers, I had to be kind and assume the best/worst) is scary as hell. I found sitting next to the craft tables helped identify my kind of mums though, aka the women giving minimum fucks that their children are covering themselves in paint because said children have been stripped of clothes already in anticipation of the chaos that would take place. The mothers who pretend not to hear when one of the children lets their bodily functions take over for a second (let’s not name names seems to be a great approach to group parenting of threenagers). The mothers that are happy to let the kids police themselves from a distance whilst they bring their sanity levels back to a semi-normal level. There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know about that. An army of motherhood warriors with baby wipes on hand and a fondness for laughing heartily at themselves sounds good enough to me. And do you know, good enough is usually more than enough. Particularly when it comes to parenting.
We have playgroup again tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.