1) Entering a mummy group for the first time is like a blind date - or a speed dating session considering the amount of mummies in the room. The butterflies in your tummy, the apprehension, the specially chosen outfit (going for the yummy mummy look rather the slummy mummy look complete with comfy trackies / pj's, lank, unwashed hair and baby spit up on your faded maternity t.shirt) for you AND baby (as baby is now your no.1 accessory - forget your killer heels) and the introductions. It's like a speed date as you meet new mums and roll out the same q & a's:-
- babies name
- babies age
- your name
- hospital you gave birth in
- did you know you were having a boy / girl
- are they sleeping well?
- are you feeding them? (As we all know, my favourite question!)
- does your husband help?
Just as an aside I'm not the biggest one for small talk and often people tell me that they didn't like me or know how to take me when they first meet me. I, personally, think I am super company, but this feedback does always weigh on my mind. Both at uni and at work I had people confess this to me, once we were bosom buddies - naturally. So putting myself out there was a bit scary.
However, I am quite an extrovert and so I am not scared to start chatting to a stranger and having a baby in common is a great conversation starter. But I have found some mums to be unresponsive. I ask all the appropriate questions and then they bleat back their responses and then turn back to their baby without even asking me the polite questions back. This is the mummy world equivalent of an ignored text - even though you put a question in there. Or worse still you double text and STILL get no response.
2) The second rule of dating is to find someone who shares your common interests. My first few mummy groups didn't go so well and I kept having these one sided conversations that were never going to blossom into a 'relationship.'
Case in point first baby sensory session I started chatting to the lady sat next to me. She seemed nice enough and we exchanged pleasantries about our baby boys. However when we started teaching the babies the sign for 'drink' she was adding wine on the end and following it up with a really raucous laugh which scared The Baby greatly. Needless to say I didn't get her number.
However, the second week I struck it lucky and was next to a fellow bottle feeder and this was enough common interest to get us chatting. It turns out she is a farmer's wife which made me smile to myself as I thought about the popular nursery rhyme and I still refer to her to The Belgian as the Farmer's Wife.
The following week she had saved a seat for me and I felt that same buzz you get when the guy you fancy texts you. Yes! I had a friend! Yes! She saved me a seat!
3) So in the world of dating you flirt and then one of you has to make the move. This is the stage I have been stuck at for a while. I mentioned another baby group that I attend and the Farmer's Wife has started coming to this - a small victory and a step towards true friendship. She mentioned last week a garden centre which has lots of twinkling lights that babies enjoy and I quickly said, "yes I've been there with my friend just this week." And so that ended that conversation or perhaps potential invite.
I forgot that is what happens in the dating world. In fact I believe it was how my husband and I finally went on our first date as he kept casually mentioning a certain film he wanted to see. The film that, when we did go to see it, we were told off for talking too much. I guess the cinema isn't the best place for a first date. Now we are the couple that tut and get annoyed when people are talking or flirting in the cinema - how times change!
4) Lastly, when the group runs its course (whether it be baby yoga, baby massage, baby sensory...the list goes on) there is the awkward moment of whether or not you will see each other again. I was just chatting to an actual mummy friend of mine (when I say actual we met at work rather than through the mummy scene) I was discussing my dating parallel and she totally agreed and told me she waited till the last day of a six-week course to arrange a play date with her new mummy friend. Inevitably one of you has to make the first move and suggest swapping numbers, adding on social media or meeting up for coffee or a play date at the local soft play area. Not that babies can really play, but there you go.
Then when these play dates become a regular occurrence it is the dating equivalent of 'going steady' and I guess the next step is to meet the parents (your other half of course.)
So where do I stand? Well the Farmer's Wife has yet to ask for my digits or to suggest a play date. However last week at baby sensory a lady I have chatted to invited me to come with her and her two friends (from the group) to a soft play area after the group for a play date. I had to decline this week as I didn't have enough supplies for The Baby (one of the drawbacks of bottle feeding) but to ensure that she didn't feel this was the dating equivalent of 'washing my hair' I expressed my interest in joining them the following week.
So a date is in the pipeline. Perhaps not my first choice but a close second. Plus that Farmer's Wife doesn't know what she's missing. Wish me luck...