Hi mummies and mums-to-be. So far, I’ve talked about crazy Google history, babies that do their own thing, being a massive post-baby scruff and baby brain that makes you feel like you’ve lost your mind. But, here’s a really nice THING NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT MOTHERHOOD. #5 – You will make lots of new friends – whether you expected to or not.
Before I had Little J, I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to get involved in all that new mummy shizzle. Many of my best buds work part time, and my sister is also on maternity leave (just a little way ahead of me) so I already had my baby social life covered. The vast majority of my friends have two or three children, so any required advice was pretty much on tap.
Then, when J was 12 weeks old, I decided on the spur of the moment to sign up for a local Baby Massage class. Little J had gone through the whole colicky phase, and although there are several schools of thought about what causes the lengthy evening screaming sessions, I was willing to try anything – and – according to the literature – massaging their little tums can help.
The class itself was fantastic. It was run by the local SureStart centre and it was completely free. But being honest, although the actual baby massage element was lovely, I think all the mums in attendance secretly preferred the brew and chat afterwards.
It was a chance to connect with first-time mums who were at the exact same stage of motherhood as me. And although advice from seasoned mamas can be fantastic, there’s nothing quite like discussing and sharing with people who are going through what you are going through RIGHT NOW. It’s the difference between being given orders by a sergeant major who’s got 20 years of battle experience under his belt, and relying on your buddies in the trenches with you to get you through. It’s camaraderie – and it’s worth its weight in gold.
One of my fears about getting involved with the mummy massive was sanctimommies. Sanctimommies are those frustrating and annoying specimens who, after having one child, decide that they know everything there is to know about pregnancy and motherhood and like to impart their glorious wisdom on anyone, especially those mums they consider to be “doing it all wrong”. Here’s the difference between a normal mum and a sanctimommy:
Normal mum: “Ooh we did that baby-led weaning with Keanu, it was ace! A bit less scary than I thought. If you fancy giving it a try, I’ve got a book you can have somewhere.”
Sanctimommy: “Oh well you MUST do baby-led weaning. Giving them purées is so archaic and will probably make your baby obese. It’s up to you of course, but there’s only really one way to do it. You want what’s best for your baby don’t you?”
See? Makes you want to stick organic carrot sticks up their nose.
But luckily, I didn’t meet any sanctimommies at all. Not one. I have been lucky enough to make friends with some very decent humans – ones which are muddling through new motherhood in the same way as I am – with lots of love and a big dollop of humour.
After Baby Massage, we all did the Little Learners class, and it’s been absolutely gorgeous to see our babies all growing up together as little friends.
So, if I had to offer any (non sancti) advice to any new or expecting mamas, I’d say get stuck in to the local baby groups. What have you got to lose? You’ll also get to eat a lot of cake, which is always a bonus in my book.
As a side note, I’ve been very sad to read that many of the SureStart centres in the UK are set to close, and the classes which we cherished are to be cancelled. This is genuinely sad news, and Little J and I feel very lucky to have been able to take advantage of these fantastic groups. So thank you to all involved.
And for more sanctimommy fun, check out the group of the same name on a Facebook. Hilarious. I’m still laughing at one of the suggested retorts to a sanctimommy who tells you disapprovingly that your baby should be wearing a hat.
“I ran out of tinfoil”. Genius.