Here I am ten weeks in and still waddling along struggling to find my feet on this journey of motherhood. Arlo and I are smashing it. Mission keep my tiny little human safe and happy is a go and I am confident in my capabilities of being a parent. The real issue is who am I now that I’m a mum? Am I still the same potty mouthed, dye my hair weird colours, Amsterdam loving sarcastic girl? Or have I changed into this coffee drinking, discuss my baby’s bowel movements, asleep at 8pm mother? Can I be both?
Prior to having Arlo I was always warned of the different ‘groups’ of mothers. Quite like you had the different cliques at school here mothers are separated by often the most trivial of things. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far by simply stalking countless Instagram accounts, seeing mothers and pushchairs out and about and through others. At first it all sounds very judgemental but bear with me there is a point I promise!
What group do I fall into?
Am I a baby group mum? The short answer is no. I am petrified of baby groups, walking into a room where I know no one and facing two terrifying options. Option one, sitting and waiting for someone to approach me, which they may or may not do, thus the possibility of leaving in tears feeling worse than when I arrived after coming to the conclusion that clearly I’m not the type of person people want to associate with. Option two, having to do the aforementioned approaching and having people ignore me, answer in quick one word answers clearly not wanting to socialise or perhaps worst of all finding someone who chit chats for England and I leave feeling exhausted and drained. I know many women whose weeks are planned around church baby groups and are often ranked by cost price and choice of biscuit. The best group being that with the lowest cost and tastiest biscuit, I mean seriously who leaves the house for a rich tea? Currently I’m not a baby group mum. I have told myself that once Arlo is sitting up I’ll make more of an effort but until then I would go just to hold my baby which I can do very well thanks from the comfort of my own home.
Do I fall into the, hey I need to book as many classes as humanly possible, my child will speak French by the time he is two mum? All power to these women if you have the patience, time and money to attend a different class each day of the week then go for it. There are a few classes I would choose to go to but they don’t run locally to me and I’m not about to travel on a bus just for my baby to sleep through my £100 a term class. I have booked a music and movement class. It looks fun, is reasonably priced and is located near my partners office so I can swing by afterwards and he can have his Arlo fix during his working day. But I wouldn’t deem one class enough to slide me into this group so maybe I’m not one of these mums either.
The I haven’t showered or washed in two weeks and yes I’m still wearing my birthing top mum? Ok maybe this is me. People may laugh and scoff, how can someone not have time to shower? I hold my hands up and say there have been times in the past ten weeks when the only opportunity I’ve had to shower is when the man’s been at home. If you factor in that he leaves for work at 8am and returns after 5:15pm plus attends football training/matches during the week and you know I’ve got to eat and sleep. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day. My baby does not sleep well during the day unless on me. On the odd occasion he is sleeping elsewhere I’ll shower, but believe me 99% of the time if I put him down he will scream and cry actual tears not just whinge, so I’d much rather cuddle him and be dirty than shower and make him sad. What will my baby remember more? That I was dirty on occasion or that he was cuddled often. I personally think the latter.
The competitive mum. Your baby is sleeping through the night? So is mine. Your baby is holding his head. Mine did that from birth. This is definitely not me! I’ve seen a lot of this on Instagram and in all honesty it makes me very sad. All babies do things in their own time. When did it become the norm to compare babies as they hit their milestones? Surely we can all understand that’s not healthy. The biggest thing up for discussion I’ve seen is sleeping through the night. Some babies sleep through the night, others don’t, it has nothing to do with how you are mothering them or whether they are breast or bottle fed. They’ll sleep when they want to sleep it’s that simple. Share your journey be damn proud of their achievements but don’t compare your baby to others. No one needs to be made to feel inadequate when we are all doing our best.
The perfect mum brigade. Another group I don’t belong to but have come across. They are usually found bringing other mums down for no other reason than to make themselves feel better. Should you be drinking that whilst breastfeeding? Shouldn’t your child be potty trained by now? I make all my babies food from scratch, no pouches over here. You get the idea.
The where’s the babysitter I’ve got a life to live mum? All power to these women, I’ve seen countless people have babies and within a matter of weeks, they are out and about sans baby. That’s fine each to their own. But it’s not something I’ll be doing for a while, I know I would get major separation anxiety! For me personally I would much rather be with my child than out partying or catching the latest film, I was never much of a partier before so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. They grow so quickly and honestly I don’t want to miss a thing. If you are one of these mums who runs out the door as soon as someone’s offers to babysit then that’s fine but I can’t pretend that’s me.
A group I didn’t want to leave out but don’t belong to is the angel baby club. I cannot even fathom how these women (and their families) feel. But I feel it is important to mention them. Just because their little ones didn’t make it doesn’t make them any less of a mum. They are mums to little ones in heaven and they will be parents forever. From what I’ve seen these women are courageous, brave, loving and amazing mums who share their journey because even though their little ones didn’t stay for long they were here and they were and still are loved.
So what club do I belong to? I belong to the mum club, that’s it. No other title. I dip into a lot of the groups I’ve mentioned above but one size does not fit all.
I pointed out somethings that could be accused of being rude, judgemental or out there. But the truth is women are often guilty of doing all of the above. We cast judgement prior to knowing one another, we segregate each other based on trivial things and whether we think we’d fit in. I merely pointed out how easily it is done.
Honestly I’m too busy over here being a mother to care whether you’ve been out drinking twice in the 2 weeks since your baby has been born, or that your hair is so greasy you could fry chips in it.
Maybe we should spend less time bringing each other down and finding reasons not to mix and just be there for one another. Girl power and all that. By standing outside and deeming yourself unworthy or secretly deciding you’re superior you’re missing out on a lot and we’re just going to raise tiny humans who will do the same.
Being a mum is hard work. Suddenly you find yourself on unfamiliar ground, you have a new purpose and it’s hard to keep true to yourself or even at times remember who you are and what it is you like doing.
I am a mum but I am also Sarah, a 28-year-old female that still hasn’t figured out what she’s going to do with her life or who she truly is.
I’m on an adventure with my little man and I hope I come out on the other side happy with the person I’ve become, someone he can be proud of but also someone I can be proud of.