Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the (mother) hood

I am a worrier. A worry worm, if you will. I refuse to call myself a worry wort because that sounds a little bit too much like it could be sexually transmitted for my liking. Sadly it is not hard-hitting existential dilemmas keeping me awake at night, rather the more mundane questions in life like what should I cook for tea tomorrow, how much more stuff is there to do on the 'Stuff To Do' list and did I turn the stove off? But being a mum brings in a whole new set of worries. Whilst I haven't gone down the same path as my Mum who would lick her thumb and stick it under my nose when I was a baby to see if I was breathing, I do find myself constantly checking the dreaded 'Milestone Chart'.
Now if you're battling with anxiety of any kind the first thing a therapist will tell you is to do away with "shoulds" and here we have an entire bloody chart of them! When should Tricky make eye contact? When should he grab at toys? When should he roll over? When should he babble? If you look at the charts long enough, you'll spend half the time thinking your child will be developmentally delayed and the other half thinking they're going to be a genius and wondering if it's too early to call Mensa.

One place I find solace from my case of milestone stress is my mothers' group. I was a bit uncertain about joining a mothers' group - I had no idea what they really entailed. I had visions of being surrounded by a group of Suzi Q perfect mothers that would not only bore me to tears, but make me feel like a leper for my non-1950's housewife ways (although I think I'd look cute in an apron and heels). Either that or, considering it was based it my dodgy suburb, a bunch of bogans who would have their Winnie Blues tucked securely in to the sleeve of their best flannel shirt and do their best to smoke with their left hand and hold baby in their right, you know, to keep them safe from second hand smoke. But instead I found a bunch of women just like me... and by that I mean completely clueless first time mothers who just wanna hear that they're not the only one not getting any sleep and share pointers on the best way to burp/settle/not shake your baby.

I've come to the conclusion that mothers' groups are not actually designed to help new mothers at all. Well they are, but they have a higher purpose - they are actually there to protect the friends of new mothers from having to hear about each and every milestone as it's reached... well that and to save the world from endless poo stories. Because it gives us a chance to talk incessantly about our babies to people who don't mind at all - in fact when you finish saying how annoying adorable your child is and how you're ready to tear your hair out really enjoying being a mum, there is someone there who will pick up where you left off and tell you all about their brat gorgeous little munchkin.  If these groups didn't exist, not only would we find that our childless friends rather quickly made themselves unavailable in the interests of their own mental health, but the birth rate would plummet when they heard all the gory, spewey, smelly truths of motherhood.

Did you join a mothers' group? Did you find it helpful?

This post is part of Lori at Random Ramblings of a SAHM's Flog Yo Blog Friday! Below you'll find a bunch of links to some great blogs, so grab a cuppa and have a good read. On with the flogging!


  1. I think you're on the money there with the purpose of mothers groups. I was in one (as are we all, as new mothers) but quickly found myself on the outer. I didn't make any friendships firm enough to warrant staying and having a child who was gross motor delayed seemed to turn it into a competition. They can be great, I've heard of them (like urban legends!) being wonderful, but my experience was not great and actually caused me more stress.

  2. very funny post! but true also...

    with my first son I had a fantastic mothers group, we would all meet down at scarborough beach, grab a coffee and talk all things "baby"...Predictable and a cliche yes, but it was what I needed at the time!

    Nowadays, we manage to talk about things other than the baby, like going back to work, even music, fashion!

    Gill xo

  3. I just found your blog through FYBF! I agree with you about Mothers group, I was so lucky to meet a great group of ladies who I now consider to be among my best friends!

  4. Honestly, I love my mother's group. Some of them have become my closest friends, and I still see them all the time.I have heard of bitchy, cliquey ones, but mine wasn't like that at all.....

  5. I don't think I ever went to a mothers group but I remember my best friend attending a pre-natal group through her private hospital that I went to once.

    I think it's all about finding your tribe. Which you do in time. Love your blog x

  6. Hehe, loved the bit about them being in existence to protect your friends! I went through a few mother's group till I found what Bern calls "my tribe." I'm still in touch with some of them all these years later. But as an anxiety sufferer I can relate to a lot of what you said too.

  7. I love your blog. Very cute post (and oh, so true)! I've found that since being a mum I've made some of my closest friends at... the pool. Nope, not mother's group. But there is something to be said about the vulnerability of being a mum. And somehow that's why we make the best friends. It must be all that crying on each other's shoulders. xx

  8. My mothers group was a bit of a fizzer; only one other mum besides myself turned up! It was subsequently cancelled. Maybe that's why I started a blog...

  9. So agree about the true purpose o mother's groups! My mothers' group has been a great support to me for the purposes you outlined. I don't think we'll be bosom buddies, but we have our children in common and can share our turmoils and triumphs without judgement which is something I'm thankful for.

  10. Thanks for all the comment lovin! I really lucked out with my mothers' group - they're a great bunch of ladies who thankfully all get my sense of humour :)


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