This is a post I wrote for Babycentre back in 2017 – it was so popular over there I wanted to share it here! Enjoy (and look how tiny Violet was!)
As a new parent, stepping into the realm of ‘mummy groups’ can be a daunting prospect. Going to my first baby group felt like I was going back to school as I felt all eyes on me as I walked into the busy room of mums sitting round in a circle, their bouncing smiling babies on their laps.
I arrived in a complete fluster, with a screaming baby and panicked expression, so it was clear to see I was a new mum. I could feel the other mums scoping me out, silently assessing what type of mum I may be or whether I was fresh-meat, able to be preyed upon, captured and taken away into their den – never to have my own opinion again.
Ok – maybe it wasn’t as bad as that – I’ve made it sound like I was on safari on the African Plains, but baby groups felt as foreign as that to me.
So, I’ve written this post on the types of mum you might find in their natural habitat – Baby Boogie. Don’t be disheartened by this though; I’ve actually met some of my good friends at baby groups. But for now, I hope this makes you chuckle. Can you see yourself as any of these mums? I give you two guesses which one I am!
The competitive mum
Your baby sleeps through the night? Oh yes, my princess has been sleeping through since she was five weeks old. Your baby has started to roll? Oh yes, we were doing that a while back now. Your baby did a poo? Oh yes, mine did two. You get it – this is the competitive mum. Be warned, she’s feisty!
The Pinterest mum
Plastic, garish looking toys that make all sorts of loud and annoying sounds? Not for Pinterest Mum! She doesn’t have to peek past the Jumperoo to see the TV in the evenings, she’s lovingly crafted a baby gym from natural materials like pine cones and sea shells and tied them perfectly with ribbons that fit her home’s colour scheme. She arrives at the group with a batch of cupcakes, made this morning, and no, she doesn’t want to go to baby sensory with you as she has already made all of the equipment herself.
The slummy mummy
“Fish fingers for tea again Mum?” you hear her eldest whine for the fifth time. This mum has too much to do and too little time. She’s too busy to keep the house clean, she lives in leggings, baggy tops and her hair in a ‘Mum-bun’, constantly chasing her five children around the room and never being able to talk for more than 2 sentences, unless there is gin. Then you’ll have her attention.
The most-tired one
This mum has a coffee cup permanently attached to one hand. She likes to make it known how many times she was up in the night and for how long – “Poor Ethan has reflux, colic, is teething AND is in the four-month sleep regression, poor love” she says through gritted teeth. She never catches a break. Give her a nudge now and again, because she’s so tired she can sleep through a room full of babies bashing tambourines to ‘Wind the Bobbin up’. This mum is often secretly a competitive mum, being tired is just her sport.
If you ask a question with this mum in the room, make sure you have 20 minutes to hear her answer. She knows everything about motherhood and is like a walking encyclopaedia for mums. Not because she has experience, but because she’s read every book going. Her little one is actually only one month old.
This Mum lives with her phone in one hand and baby in the other – every little noise or sniffle and she’s asking Dr Google what is happening to her child. “Shall I give him Calpol?” is her favourite question. She’s not always at the baby group as at the first sign of anything unusual she needs to stay at home for fear of her precious baby catching something.
The hippy one
Babywearing, cloth nappies and organic snacks – this hippy mum is eco-friendly all the way and is completely led by her baby. She looks horrified when you speak of your routine, because she ebbs and flows with the rhythm of life, whether that fits into her plans or not. Whatever her baby wants or needs, he gets. When she’s finished at the baby group she’s off to Forest School – cooking marshmallows over a campfire is an essential skill, after all.
The blogger one
With a camera permanently round her neck like a piece of jewellery, you know this mum is a Mummy Blogger. She doesn’t look at her child with her eyes, only through the lens of her camera – trying to capture the perfect moment for Instagram. You don’t need to ask her how she’s doing or how things with the baby are, you’ve already read it on her blog. After seeing her you patiently wait for the ‘review’ of your day together to go live on the blog, with your children selectively cropped out of all of the heavily edited photos that make it look like you were in somewhere way more chic than the softplay.
“After birth I had to have 50 stitches, I’ll never be the same again” she boasts loudly, stopping all the conversation in the room. “Did you poo when you had Freddie? I did – the midwife said she’d never seen anything like it”. You don’t know what to say to this mum. You’ve only known her for two seconds and now you’re imagining her doing a giant poo. You must remember not to sit next to her next week; someone else can deal with this one next time.
The chilled one
This mum hasn’t changed a bit since she had a baby; in fact, little Beatrice has slotted right in to the family. She is a pretty good sleeper and hasn’t had any issues with feeding. This mum doesn’t spend her life googling things or worrying – life is for living. Babies have been around since time began, so why should we worry so much now?