The Mummy Club.
At school I was the kind of girl that always, without fail, was picked last for any type of team sports. Hang on; I feel I need to labour this point. I was the kind of girl that got picked last for any kind of team sports even at my own birthday party. If there was ever any clubs invented and assembled by the popular girls in the school or even the popular girls in my class, I was never ever part of them. Not through lack of trying either, let me tell you. I endured the initiation tests and humiliation routines endlessly but unfortunately for me I was just never cool enough. I was the girl the ‘cool’ guy in school would call and take the Mickey out of. (I put cool in inverted comma’s here because this ‘cool’ guy is called Tony and last time I saw him he was still living off mummy and daddy and is a complete loser. So from here on in I will refer to him as the tool guy. Because really, what a total tool! Not that Im still bitter…..)
So basically I was the girl all the other girls would look at and think ….well that’s just it! They looked at me and didn’t think. They didn’t think at all.
I wasn’t big, (not that, that should matter) I wasn’t dressed badly, (not that, that should matter) I wasn’t short (you get the picture.) I wasn’t unfit or unhealthy with smelly feet or stupidly tall. My boobs weren’t enormous; I wasn’t so flat I could make a wall jealous. I didn’t say stupid things in class, I wasn’t the joker, and I wasn’t super intelligent. I was just blah. Non-descript. My nickname wasn’t ‘sexy Lexy’ as I would have liked. Oh no. My nickname was ‘Lampy.’ Because with my thick brown hair cut in a bob (thanks mum) and my bony physique I looked like a lampshade. I shit you not. Kids can be so cruel.
Thankfully things moved on after I left school, I got rid of the bob and I made a life for myself. I met a few boys, some idiots and one finally I decided to keep. Had a few jobs – some boring others that included dressing like a huge mouse and dancing in parades. I lived in a few cities – some crap, others that included showing your boobs for beads at certain times of the year. I had a few drinks, some soft; some that made me go a bit crazy. I have been fat, I have been big, I have been thin, I have said stupid things, I have been the joker, and I have had smelly feet. Courtesy of wonder-bra, my boobs have been big, small, hard, soft, and at times free (I blame New Orleans for that one), but still I have never ever been part of a club. The slightest inkling of a club or ‘clique’ forming around in me in my adult life and I would run for the hills.
Even now the word club fills me with a sense of dread. Clubs are for cool people. And although I have been many things. Im not sure I have ever been truly cool.
However, and this is a BIG however, I realised this morning as I was crossing the road, (after almost dying pushing the pram up a slight incline) and as two other mothers were coming the other way, I have undeniably, like it or not, without realising, become part of a huge great big sodding club!
And you know what? It’s actually not that horrendous.
There is, in my opinion, still a hierarchy. I realise this by what some refer to as the ‘mummy once over’. For those still pregnant, you will come across this once you are pushing a pram. It can be quite odd, quite annoying, but also quite funny. It goes a little like this. Feel free to correct me or add nuances if need be.
Mother stranger crosses paths with another Mother stranger.
Look up, try and keep it casual.
Slight eye contact but only for a second.
Slight, but not too forward acknowledgement of situation.
Quick glance at;
- State of mother. (Outfit, hair, shoes, general ‘coolness’ of other mother. Is she getting as much or as little sleep as you? Is she relaxed, happy, flustered?)
- Pram. (Is it cooler? comfier? Cosier? More expensive? How many wheels does it have?)
- Weight loss. (Belly particularly – this tells you if you are doing well or not, then boobs, face and finally ankles – if you can see them! (NB I find the other woman ALWAYS wins on this…)
- And finally.. Baby. (How old is baby? (This helps with earlier weight loss summation.) Is it a he or she? Is he or she cute? Cuter than your baby? (You always win this one so don’t worry!) By this point a lot of women have to turn to look. And when this happens, and you see it out of the corner of your eye. You deserve a smile to yourself. You aren’t going mad.. it did actually happen and the fact you didn’t turn means you’ve won…
And carry on walking casually…
And now for the results!….
At the top end of the hierarchy you have Yummy. The head held high, beautifully clad, immaculate mothers with smiling babies. At mid way down you have the average head held height, averagely dressed, made an effort with a splash of make-up with sleeping babies, mothers. And then you have, well…. me. The mother who is still a bit podgy round the middle, dressed in the first thing I grabbed before leaving the house (sometimes I get out to find random garment is on inside out), no makeup (because after the night ive had it would only slide off my face) and a baby covered in this morning’s breakfast. (He will only sleep in the maxicosi and wiping his face wakes him up. Ok? OK!)
There is a catch though. And it’s a fabulous catch! The difference with this hierarchy is its interchangeable! You can move up and down on a daily basis. This basically means at any given time, you could be right on top! Smiling for all the world to see! Look at me! Look at me! I made it out and I look half decent! But it also means no mother can act too smug. Because the mothers at the top also realise, that tomorrow is a new day. And depending on how tonight goes….tomorrow you could be back in the slummy category. Which is why, when you do find yourself at the top of your perch. Enjoy it! Tomorrow is likely someone else’s turn!
I find it to be a club where you can exchange knowing glances, be overly expressant – and that’s ok! Chat to people you have never met about nipple torture and stitches and teething solutions. The state of your bladder, your stretch marks and your wieght loss. About how annoying/helpful or downright horny the man in your life is. (Already! I know! What am I a fair ground ride?? Give it a month for god sake!)
The one rule of the club, I have gathered, is honesty. There is no point lying to another mother, as chances are, she has been there and will see through you immediately! If you feel like crap, admit it! That’s ok apparently. The Mums seem to be supportive of one another. If I admit to wanting to run away and hide when he cries, that seems to be ok too. When I admit I was a little freaked to find I was having a boy, that seemed to be ok. When I admitted, in tears, to not bonding the second I saw him – that was ok too. I was thanked for my honesty! It’s like having a huge network of random strangers, all going, or having been through the same or similar things. All sharing, laughing, spouting crap and understanding one another.
So when an old (single) school friend of mine recently visited and insisted ‘you must be so bored now you just sit around all day, on your own, with nothing to do but a baby’ I just smiled, because I have thousands of friends now. Maybe even millions. And they understand, like me, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. I am not on my own and I am not bored! I am part of a club. A club she may one day join. But a club, finally I am cool enough to be part of. The mummy club! And Im dead happy. Cos you’re all lovely!