“Oh, I see that you’ve pushed a baby out of your vagina too. Let’s be friends!”
Some of the more tedious aspects of motherhood are those situations where you are forced to socialise with a random assortment of other women based solely on the fact that you have both produced your own offspring.
Playdates, playgroups, preschool.
Mother’s groups. Antenatal groups.
Breastfeeding meetings. Story time at the library.
They tend to be populated by people I’d never elect to hang out with in real life, so it can be a bit of a personality crap-shoot: some are boring, some are sanctimonious, some think Michael Buble is the shit and some are downright weird, but you don’t realise it until you’ve been trapped in a conversation about nipple thrush for 25 minutes.
Here are the types you need to be wary of:
The Breathless Oversharer
Having finally escaped the solitary confinement of her infant-imposed house arrest, the floodgates of adult conversation are open – and nothing is off limits. You will be hit with a tsunami of uncomfortable detail about her health problems, her kid’s health problems, her finances, her fractious relationship, her menstrual cycle, her sexual activity and her 36 hour labour with forceps delivery. She doesn’t get out much.
Talks about: Literally everything. You want it to stop but it never will.
The Neurotic Routine Mum
She is interested in your kid’s sleeping habits in a way that is borderline creepy, lecturing you with the burning fervour of a fundamentalist. They are quick to mention that Little Johnny slept through at 3 weeks and credit their success to controlled crying and sleep gurus like Tizzie Hall and Gina Ford. Their entire life is scheduled to-the-minute around their kid’s eating and sleeping habits, and they are full of condescending pity if your baby still wakes overnight. Like a normal infant.
Talks about: The joys of self-settling, routines and controlled crying. Gasps in horror if you admit to “going with the flow”, bed-sharing or feeding to sleep.
The Uptight First-Time Mum
Helicoptering madly, the uptight mum is easy to spot. She anxiously compares milestones and can reel off quarterly growth stats from her child’s first year. She has the health nurse on speed dial and rocks up to emergency for minor bumps and scrapes. She can talk for hours about baby-led weaning, controlled crying and attachment parenting but is terrified that she is going to fuck her kid up, because she hasn’t done this gig long enough to know that we’re going to fuck them up no matter what we do, so it’s not worth worrying about.
Talks about: Tomorrow’s emergency doctor’s appointment because Little Saffron has dropped down to the 97th percentile for weight.
The Absent Free Range Mum
You are doing well if you can even find this woman. She is never in eyesight or earshot of her children, who are usually the ones climbing six foot fences and/or falling face first off the playground equipment because a) her supervision is characterised by an excessively casual unconcern or b) they aren’t actually being supervised because she is nowhere to be seen. Stay away from her kid unless you are in a good position to catch them.
Talks about: Nothing, because she is never around. She might offer a cursory thanks if you stop her children from scalping themselves on the merry-go-round.
The Milestone Braggart
Super-competitive, this Mum brags about the gifted child who smashes developmental milestones and is clearly superior in every way. “Little Hugo was sitting SO much earlier than all of his peers”. ‘Little Hugo could skip before he could walk”. “Little Hugo was the first baby in my mother’s group to use coordinating conjunctions to connect two independent clauses”. And so on. They are not beyond making patently false claims to make their children look good. This kid even SHITS better than other kids.
Talks about: The perceived superiority of their child. Constantly.
The Overzealous Organic Mum
This “hippy” mother is all about breastfeeding, babywearing, baby-led weaning, gentle discipline and attachment parenting. She will roll her eyes at your Baby Bjorn carrier and attempt to convince you that amber teething necklaces and essential oils really work. Earnest to the point of sanctimony, she will react with horror when you rouse on Little Jasper for smashing his Tonka truck in Little Jimmy’s face. Again. Because the “spirited” little turd lacks boundaries.
Talks about: She will talk about baby carriers and cloth nappies until your eyes self-cauterise with catatonic boredom.
7. The Snarky Mummy Blogger
This woman had an identity crisis during a particularly inane craft activity and started blogging to fill the empty abyss where her life used to be. She blogs to indulge her wanton use of the word “fuck” and to whine about her kids without giving them a complex that will one day require expensive professional intervention. She’s always looking for new material, so your safest bet is to hide and, if cornered, sneer “Oh, so you’re a MUMMY BLOGGER” with the same sort of wearily disgusted expression you’d wear if you just stepped into a steaming pile of dog shit.
Talks about: Nothing. She’s always listening for juicy snippets to use in her blog. Avoid her, unless you want your embarrassing exchange with Little Violet to go viral.
8. The Bitchy Gossiper
Perched at the centre of her own personal mummy clan, the bitchy gossiper is the reigning matriarch of her ice-cold clique. Like a high school mean-girl she controls social interactions by stealth, and freezes out new mums until they have served a lengthy apprenticeship. Rude and dismissive, she ignores your polite attempts to make small talk – mortified by your ignorant breach of social etiquette. Stupid n00b.
Talks about: She’s probably talking about you right now. You’re such a loser. And your kid is ugly.