#62: The Mother of all Mummy Groups

#62: The Mother of all Mummy Groups
5 minutes to read

The end of my current bout of maternity leave is nigh. Sad face. Except…I don’t feel THAT sad about it, yet. I’ve done my time in the sin bin of sick and shit, thanks very much. 

I’ve also tried my hand at a great many baby groups. They’re all about the bloody babies aren’t they? Baby this, baby that. Mums are reduced to second-rate punters who turn up, part with a fiver, bounce around for an hour with clicky knees and a vommy cub, then fuck off home until next week. Some are great. Some genuinely impart wisdom and are halfway enjoyable. Others are just bollocks – bollocks in the guise of half-inflated pink balloons.

What I think is lacking from the market is a mummy group. You take your baby along, sure, and you pay, sure, but you’ll be damned if it’s all about them. They can just ride it out for a while, or act as a compliant prop. This is YOUR time to shut out reality and have your senses caressed with mood lighting and a mid-session coffee while you interact or ignore, thrive or skive as you see fit.

I’d dearly love to see these mummy groups launched onto the circuit:

Jazzy Snappers

We all know a mum or two who takes shite photos of their kids and plasters them all over the tinterweb. I’m probably one myself, to be fair. But I mean the relentless feed of what is basically the same photo, taken 0.5 seconds apart, for a whole minute. Where the careful mum may take ten images, delete eight, keep one because little Jake looks silly, and Facebook the last one, the enthusiastic mum will just whack all ten up there. Possibly in an album entitled “Gorgeous family fun with Jakey”.

So, why not have a photography class dressed up as a mummy group? The subject: a squawking child. If yours is being a shit, just snap another baby who looks cute. The apparatus: iPhone, DLSR, polaroid, whatever the fuck you like. The stage: someone can bring along a chenille blanket and a pile of leaves, someone else can bring a portable heater, and that’ll do it. The result? You hone your skills and stop pissing off your friends with shit first smile / first food / first selfie selfies.

Schedule Starlets

Getting two or mums together for a play date is the most heinous of all admin tasks. You’ll all have differing nap times (well, your babies. Real mums don’t nap) and it takes literally an hour to exit the house anyway. Some of you might have to factor in dropping off / picking up older kids, walking the dog, working part time, visiting your fella in prison, and so on and so on. A group chat on Facebook or WhatsApp can often peter out as the intense diary scrutinising and back and forthing gets too much to bear.

What you need is to lock yourselves in a room with your calendar, and not leave until you’ve booked in a play date, a back up play date, an emergency venue back up, a sequel, a back up sequel, and so on. Plot in six meet ups and one of them is bound to stick. This group doesn’t count as a meet up, though. No, this group’s just for learning. Give a mum a church community hall and she’ll socialise for an hour. Teach her how to plan her socialising and she’ll butterfly her way through the next six months. Or something.

Bookish Belles

When did you last read a book? A proper, actual book with a plot, a protagonist and a hero? What you’d benefit from is a modern day mum book club, where a poor sod with an NVQ in childcare is drafted in to man a small creche facility (aka a zoo). Mums then laze about in an adjoining room with noise cancelling headphones, reading that book they got for Christmas 2014. If brain cells have been suitably depleted, then a quick thumb through Marie Claire will do. Snoozing optional. Coffee and cake served at the mid-point, with unfettered access to a luxury toilet that boasts Molton Brown handwash and moisteriser. Fuck it, and a chipper young goodtime gal from Benefit to do your make up. Double fuck it, and some new shoes to go home in. At the very least, it’ll be held in the afternoon so you can drink wine straight after the coffee. That’s the best bit of any book club anyway, right?*

(*Actually, that really pisses me off. I’ve been in two book clubs that have disbanded because no-one actually read the sodding book and everyone just drank wine and gossiped. Yes, I am a book club geek. Sue me.)

Moonbeam Muncherz

All babies eat lunch at 11.45 because they can’t bloody hang on for it, greedy little shits. So, get all of that out the way, and draft in the lovely creche manager from Bookish Belles to clean up all the mess. While that’s going down, mums a plenty will sit, AT AN ACTUAL TABLE, and eat a hot lunch, undisturbed. They can use a knife and fork simultaneously, because they have two hands free, and they don’t have to siphon off some stray pasta to pacify a baby who’s suddenly got a second wind and had a shit to make some room for more food.

After lunch, coffee will be served and conversation will be had. Then, would you look at that – after a quick wipe down and wee break, it’s time for a snack.

Laying Lotus Loves

You know that quiet time bit at the end of some baby groups? Where curtains are drawn, lights are dimmed, and some battery-operated fake candles are lobbed about on a huge rug? That. Basically that, for an hour. Someone will rig up their phone to an iDock and flood the room with whale song or white noise, and those who don’t feel sleepy may use the time to catch up on social media, without fear of prejudice or judgement. If you absolutely have to, you can bring your baby in from that helpful creche manager (yep, them again) and give them a cuddle. If they “start up” though, out you go. Other mums are paying for this, don’t ruin it for them.

How about you, what groups do you dream of while you’re trudging on the maternity leave treadmill?

– SJW November 2016

20 Comments

  1. November 15, 2016 / 8:32 am

    I would want to come to all of these! Reading has made me realise that perhaps I’m just antisocial- all my group ideas involve member screening. Like a match.com but for mummies!

  2. November 15, 2016 / 9:01 am

    This is great! I could do with a Jazzy Snappers group. I want to improve my photography. Babies are bloody difficult to take a photo of, and I don’t want to be that mum who posts umpteen blurry shots seconds between each other.

  3. November 15, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Definitely the whale music. The only bit of yoga I approve of is the bit as the end where you collapse star fish and breeeeeathe

  4. November 15, 2016 / 10:34 am

    I do love tone organised so the Schedule Starlet would be my dream group!! I’d make it work for play dates but also girls nights out! Honestly sometimes it’s like herding cats isn’t it?!
    #chucklemums

    • November 15, 2016 / 12:52 pm

      I also want to request a swearing club where the kids go into the creche (obvs) and you can just go into a room and swear loudly and randomly until you feel better. #chucklemums

  5. November 15, 2016 / 10:48 am

    Love! My favourite of course if the jazzy snappers. Couldn’t agree more with how annoying it is to see the same photo 1 million times!!!!! Also love the last one. Nothing better than a dark room to relax x

  6. November 15, 2016 / 11:44 am

    I am think you should be in charge of all mum groups forever!! ! #chucklemums

  7. November 15, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    I’d like to sign up for Bookish Belles please – in fact I’ll pay in advance for a whole term! And I’ll put my name down for Jazzy Snappers because I love the name, on the proviso that the mum on my Facebook who once posted a picture of her toddler’s poo on their carpeted stairs won’t be there. Or at least if the teacher (slash crèche manager/masseuse/waitress) gives everyone a stern no-poo warning at the outset.

  8. November 15, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    these are great titles! I wonder what my mom group would be called???

  9. November 15, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    Bookish belles sounds fab…sign me up. Oh the joy of getting comfy with a book (and not having to speak to anyone, sounds blissful). I once watched an episode of US Superanny where this couple owned a cafe that had added child care. So you could bung your kids in this supervised room and sit down and eat cake….. awesome idea! #chucklemums

  10. November 15, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Really love this post – such a good idea. And the baby grouomideas are great too. I would definitely sign up for Bookish Belles and Moonbeam Muncherz. But I recently went to the most amazing baby group where you leave your child in the church hall with volunteers who look after them, and then the mums all go to a lounge and have coffee and biscuits and do their own thing for an hour. I couldn’t believe it was real at first, but I am DEFINITELY going back. #Chucklemums

  11. November 15, 2016 / 8:46 pm

    How about a group where you all take it in turns to go and have a shower and/or a shit, child-free?
    #chucklemums

  12. November 15, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    Hahaha… The Schedule Starlets are the worst. Once I arranged a meetup with five others Moms, yes five. I was the only one that turned up and slowly but surely the texts came in… ‘nap time is running late’ or ‘he’s still asleep’…. come on, just scoop him up and leave the house woman! I literally sat there for 90mins waiting and not one of them showed. The café felt so sorry for me he didn’t charge me for my cake, every cloud… #chucklemums

  13. Natalie
    November 16, 2016 / 10:21 am

    Don’t go back to your old job….run these…you have 5 so your week is sorted and if all goes to plan you get mega chill out alone time but can be paid for it ???????? xx

  14. November 16, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    My fave has to be Bookish Belles, just sitting there with noise cancelling headphones and NVQ level childcare would be enough. This post has to go viral! #tohilariousandbeyond x

  15. Ellen
    November 16, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Ha!! I love it. I have signed up to them all. I think a mum’s group, in the pub, while a crèche is run nearby so we can all get pleasantly sozzled without distraction would be ideal. Gyms have crèches, why not pubs?! Once everyone is a bit drunk you could get pizza, slap some spice girls on and pretend we are still students. Bliss!!

  16. November 21, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    Make these happen and put my name down for Bookish Belles please!

    #chucklemums

  17. November 22, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Oh my word the photography one! I’ve seen some hideous hideous oversharing recently – I do not want to see the same picture 57 times in a lightly different angle! And breathe! And the book one please. To leave you with a thought I’d like a ‘see my kids more’ group – where I can actually have all three home at the same time! Oh the difference between babies and teens!

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