Having my fist baby young (20) automatically put me in that “young mum” category. Despite not being that young my baby face (soz about that) often meant I was faced with awkward questions like “are you the nanny?” Or “is he your little brother?” When he started school was when it became especially apparent as he goes to school in a fairly affluent part of SW London where your average mama is mid-late thirties. It never bothered me as such but one day my boy came home and said he wished I was older like the other mums. Why?! I wondered if it was because the other families seemed to have it more “together” at that point (whatever the hell that means) We were still in our mid twenties trying to figure life out, muddling through and raising our boy…these parents were knee deep in mortgages and life insurance plans. Luckily now my 10yo is grateful for his youthful (lol) mama who can win the parents race at sports day with her eyes closed.
So I spent my twenties hanging around the outskirts of most groups, dipping in and out when I felt relevant. My non-mum friends were doing what most twenty-somethings were, spending summers in Ibiza, jumping from job to job, boozing and the sleeping in every weekend. My mum friends, whilst we shared some interests that mostly revolved around the kids (football, homework, when little Freddie is doing his holy communion) that’s kind of where it ended. Me and the other half even dabbled in some socialising with some other parents and whilst a select few are actually some who i’d now consider real friends the majority of the time we just didn’t click. Not because they weren’t nice people or the fact they were 10+ years older but because we were just in different places in life with only one common denominator- the littles.
Fast forward 5 years or so and I’m on baby number 2. She may as well be baby number 1 as its been so bloody long I sometimes doubt myself and my ability. Saying that, you may think you’ve forgotten everything but then stuff happens and you go, oh yes I remember this. Like at 2am/4am/6am when the little darling is clawing at my boobs for a feed I remember that my first was bottle fed and slept through from 4 months. Or when I’m scrubbing 3 week old broccoli from the creases in the highchair I remember that broccoli is a bitch to get out.
Anyway, with it being so long I decided to do the whole nct/antenatal thing and met a really lovely group of mums. All around my age and of similar interests. I decided not to be that annoying mum in the antenatal class’s that knew all the answers, turns out there was no fear in that happening! These first time mums knew it all, they were bright eyed, keen and eager to learn, armed with Google facts, bounty packs and pre-natal vitamins coming out of their ears. I was more concerned whether they were serving chocolate biscuits or digestives in the break and if I’d be finished in time for the school run. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to refresh my memory and I lapped up the round of applause I got for birthing a 9lb2 baby with no cuts or tears (I know, get me!) but yet again I was stuck straddling either side of this tick box. Yes they were the same age, similar jobs, interests etc but I was again in such a different place in my life. I’ve actually kept in touch with only one of these mums, her babe is a similar age to mine and hey, it’s never too early to start a mini #girlgang We keep our friendship simple, sharing our common interests (our kids and wine) and that works! As I slide comfortably into my thirties I’m becoming more of a me-pleaser and less of a people pleaser.
I guess what I’m trying to say is we don’t have to tick just one box, and we don’t have to tick all of them. Sod it, draw your own box and start from there. That’s what I’m doing anyway.