Do I have to be sociable?

So, the tiny himage1uman is now nearly 11 weeks old and unsurprisingly, life has changed in many ways for me. I am a Mum.

Sometimes, this role is incredible – watching your little person grow and learn, seeing their face light up when you look at them and my favourite, endless baby cuddles.

But sometimes it’s shit. And I’ve learned that it is ok to say that it is shit.

Being a stay at home Mum is a huge responsibility and the days where the baby screams constantly for no apparent reason are the hardest. My liver cries for gin and my lungs for nicotine, but I cant. For I am ‘Mum’. And I will have to get on with it. And I do. And then, within no time at all, this small and loud being is laughing and giggling again. Talk about mood swings…

Since Leo has arrived, I have been determined to continue life as before. We have been abroad, shopping, out to dinner, taken him to Thorpe Park and I have even taught a dance class with him strapped to my chest – he slept through all of these! For the first 9 weeks I regularly found myself in town, at a friends, driving somewhere and generally not being at home for any significant amount of time. Apart from being exhausting for both myself and Leo, I felt like I wasn’t getting the most out of the time I have with him.

So, I made a change. I make sure that we have at least two days a week at home, where I can spend the whole time learning about my kid. Learning what makes him laugh, cry, giggle, jump and whinge, what his favourite part of the obnoxious playmat is, how long he can actually stay in a swingy chair (as opposed to how long he wants to) and so much more. I have just laughed my ass off at how disgusting my child is – it was a mega ‘poonami’ which took out a baby grow, leggings, towel and the majority of my nasal senses – all whilst vomiting (him, not me). But when he looks at me with his giant blue eyes, for one singular moment, we connect and I know that he understands that wiping shit off his balls is rancid and we get even closer.

Apart from seeing my lovely friends and venturing to the COOP for more ginger biscuits (my husband cant just eat a few; he demolishes the whole pack), the only thing we HAVE to venture out from ‘babyland base’ for is, Baby Massage.

I know what you are thinking – I thought the same. Why in the name of all that is good and pure does a baby need a massage? Feeding, sleeping and cute-ing isn’t stressful? I can honestly say that the class run by Isabelle at The Secret Garden in Hitchin is fantastic. And Leo loves it. Check out their Facebook page for classes, lunches and generally wonderful stuff for Mums, babies and toddlers: Secret Garden Pop-up

Along with other new Mums, we all gather and lay out little lads (an all boy class by coincidence!) on mats, in a lovely cosy room with relaxing music and the sweet aroma of zero judgement. The course is 6 weeks long and each week, we cover the different massage techniques for different parts of the body. Leo has been unfortunately blessed with my thighs, but adores the exercise where they are wiggled – basically, we jiggle his fat. Poor boy.

Isabelle guides us through the sessions brilliantly and as we avoid being peed or pooed on (babies are all naked), the babies get a lovely massage with baby safe oil. When the massaging part of the session is over, most of the babies are hungry (they have worked SO hard…) so we sit around, boobs and bottles out, sipping squash and politely only taking one biscuit. Talking with the other Mums, it becomes clear that everyone goes through the same stuff when a new baby arrives. Everyone has the same doubts, worries and fears, as well as the almighty highs that mum-hood brings. Leaving that baby massage class each week, I feel rejuvinated and confident that I can do this. Breast feeding a baby whilst on the loo is not embarrassing or shameful – it’s a damn skill and I’m proud of it!*

So, do i have to be sociable? No. Do i want to? Yes.

Because getting out and slagging off your kid with other new mums, as well as your partner, the cashier in the COOP for making a comment about the volume of ginger nut biscuits being consumed and anyone else that has inferred with a single look that you’re not perfect, is good for me. It reminds me that I am a human. Not a robot, super wife or anything equally as skilled.

I am a Mum. And sometimes, I am shit at ‘Mumming’. But sometimes, I am awesome.


*I’m not proud of it. But I had no choice**.

**There was some choice. But I only realised this afterwards.

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