Maternity leave is a minefield. Rhyme Time, coffee mornings, NCT meet-ups – whatever your choice of baby group, it can all become as tribal as the playground. As this is my second time on maternity leave, I’ve had my fair share of exhausting conversations with women I only really have motherhood as common ground. So, in case it’s useful, or like me you just enjoy the occasional judgemental laugh, I thought I’d share seven types of mum you might want to avoid arranging too many play dates with…
She believes sacrificing sleep night after night for her ‘helpless little one’ – y’know, similar to the way Christ sacrificed his life – is the measure of a good mum. She regularly posts in baby forums under the username ‘Amelia’s mummy’ and loves to punctuate with a twee ‘LOL’ and smiley winky face. However, emoticons soon turn to angry, frowny faces should anyone dare mention – whisper it – controlled crying…
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: She’s the one with the Amish dress sense (buttons are for self-indulgent mothers), and serene, borderline psychotic, smile.
She’ll smugly tell you her children sailed through teething without so much as a whimper/ were potty-trained at one/ started walking in the womb…etc, etc. Don’t be fooled. Only half of it will be true – her insecurities are as big as her massive double buggy. Liar liar, pull-up pants on fire.
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: She’s the one demanding her toddler recite the Greek alphabet – backwards – for the surrounding, indifferent children.
Perhaps the most defined by her style of parenting, this mum hates routines for children but also won’t allow her child any TV or sugar. You see that lonely fat kid wearing the authentic Himalayan poncho in the corner of the playground? The one glumly licking homemade hummus off a Tupperware lid? He’s hers.
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: She’s usually wearing big ‘ethnicky’ earrings, sipping some unpronounceable foul-smelling tea, angrily slagging off Gina Ford.
This mum type will rant loudly, in crisp well-enunciated words, about the sort of parent who takes their child to McDonald’s or uses Peppa and a big bag of Mini Cheddars to babysit their kid. Expect to hear the words ‘lazy’, ‘irresponsible’ and in especially scornful tones, ‘chavvy’.
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: She’s the well-groomed woman with a pair of over-sized sunglasses perched on her head (in all weathers), sipping an enormous Starbucks coffee, jangling her car keys just to show this badly-dressed rabble, she’s not planning on stopping long.
Complain about the extra three or four stone of post-pregnancy weight you’re lumbering around to this mum, and she’ll pinch a titchy bit of skin, without which she’d be dead frankly, before bemoaning the whole three or four pounds she’s been trying to shift – and her baby is already FOUR WEEKS OLD! Try to resist the urge of punching her in the face because then everyone will really know you’re just a jealous fat cow.
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: Her toned physique amid the surrounding jelly, post-baby bellies should make her easy to spot, but failing that, the many sponsorship forms for the latest 10k she’s dishing out, should do the trick.
This mother is probably one of the youngest mums in the group and while nice enough, is a bit dull frankly. Very provincial, she’ll sweetly tell you a long and boring story about how she and her best friend gave birth within days of each other, which apparently is just ‘so funny’ because they’ve always done everything together. Refrain from making a lesbian joke here. It won’t be appreciated.
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: She’s the one with the home-baked treats, pretty hair grip in her hair and is nearly always accompanied by her nice-lady-next-door mum.
Likely to be the most mature member of the group, this mum-type is so visibly stressed she looks almost savage. Dare to speak to her as she attempts to bundle a toddler and baby into the car and you’re likely to get shot a look that makes you feel like you’ve just defecated on her doorstep.
How to spot her at mother and baby groups: She’s the one with the feral hair, last night’s red wine all over her elasticated jeans and pendulous breasts thanks to a very ill-fitting maternity bra she hasn’t had time to replace. Why? Because she’s very, VERY busy OK?!!
So which one am I? Neurotic Mum I’m ashamed to say, as my split ends, shelves full of baby books and patient partner Pete will testify.
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