I was in my local supermarket’s starbucks on Sunday afternoon waiting to meet a friend for coffee.
There was a large gaggles of new parents (both men and women) who all had very new babies with them. I’m guessing they were all the members of an ante-natal group or something…. They had taken up most (but not all) of the comfy chairs but I managed to move some around so that I could get a little corner with two comfy chairs for me and my best friend (and her 18 month old).
So I sat in my little corner reading my book. I decided to wait a while for my friend as I didn’t want to have to get through two coffees (money being a tiny bit tight at the moment) before my friend had even arrived. So I sat there, ailment on my own, order with no coffee just reading my book. One of the little babies was in its pushchair asleep opposite me. Arms up above its cute little head. Now I am quite a maternal person and I can’t really help myself – when I see a tiny baby I come over all clucky!
Maybe it was because of the way I was dressed (big hoody jumper and tracky bottoms – these mums were a little better turned out), online and the fact that I hadn’t brushed my hair – just pulled it back in a ponytail and the fact that, as I later found out when I eventually came across a mirror, that I had panda eyes from Friday’s mascara (how on earth does Mascara managed to continue marking the bit of skin under your eyes even after two days – yes, I know I should probably just get busy with some make-up remover but I’m more a fan of taking the leftover makeup off before I reapply the next lot and as I only wear makeup to go to work at the moment, there is a gap of 2 days when I forget that I have old make-up rubbing its way down my face). Anyway, suffice to say I looked a bit of a mess and sitting there on my own eyeing up their babies, its not surprising I got some funny looks.
My friend seemed to be taking a good while to arrive (can’t blame her as I know what its like trying to get yourself and a toddler ready and I was quite enjoying my book) and so after a while I thought I’d better let these ladies know that I wasn’t there to steal their babies and when one of them came back from the loo or somewhere I engaged her in conversation. I asked if all their babies were the same age, how old that was and explained that they were making me clucky, and that I felt a bit sad that I’d never experience that stage again (explained mine were 2 and 4 and that we’d just been at kiddy rugby in the sports centre). This woman seemed very friendly and nice. Then I went back to reading my book.
Then after waiting for a bit longer for my friend I decided to get a coffee, so I asked one of the mums if she could watch my bag for a few minutes while I went to the counter. She gave me a funny look but said yes. So I put my bag a little closer to her (not on my seat sadly…). I noticed when I had got my coffee that another woman had taken my seat and the woman who I’d asked to watch my bag either hadn’t noticed or hadn’t cared that I’d lost my seat. So I went back to get my bag, giving the intruder a good glare in the process, and hovered nearby. There were other tables and chairs but I had gone to reasonable effort to get a comfy one. Anyway, some of the mums had gone and there were a few unused chairs around them so I asked if they were going soon and they said they were in a bit. So then I asked if I could move some of the chairs around so me and my (invisible) friend could sit. They said yes, so I moved the chairs around so me and my friend could have a nice little comfy chat. Friend had arrived just as I was grumpily huffing about loss of first comfy chairs and was queuing while I tried to figure out what to do so was quite glad when she eventually turned up and we sat down so that protective mother (of twins) didn’t think I was a complete stalker person who was going to run off with her babies!
I suppose the point of this post is a few things:
1. I never had an ante-natal group – well, we did go to one when I was pregnant with No1 (boy) but there were about 50 people in the class all squashed into one little room so it wasn’t really conducive to friendly chit chat – and even if it had been a smaller group the sessions were from 8-9pm and for me as a pregnant lady that was a struggle to be sat in hard plastic chairs basically listening to a midwife lecture you, so I probably wouldn’t have been that into meeting up afterwards. I actually set up my own local group of Mums to Be (which later became Mums & Mums to Be) on Facebook so I did get some of this socialisation but I was slightly envious of all of them knowing each other. My group was fairly spread out. Some would converse only on FB and never meet, others would meet up regularly. Often if I arranged a meeting it would never be the same person each week.
2. Mums (new mums particularly perhaps) can be very closed and suspicious. I don’t think I was ever like that. I loved showing my baby off. I never thought that someone was going to steal him/her just because they showed an interest. Obviously if someone had been particularly suspicious I would have been careful though (maybe I just didn’t realise how suspicious I looked!).
3. Maybe this particular mum was just very tired – she did have twins afterall – and didn’t have the energy to be nice to some stranger getting love eyes for her babies….. maybe I should just mind my own bloody business.
Just thought I would document this experience as it really did make me feel quite uncomfortable (because I realised that these women were suspicious of me – if I’d had my own kids with me it probably would have been different) and it made me think.