Odd Mum Out

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Sometimes I feel like a mum. I feel proud achievement when I transform Timmy from a crying bundle of discontentment, to peaceful and happy. But then on Friday afternoons I meet with other mums and babies from my antenatal class, where I feel so unlike the rest of them it convinces me I must be missing some crucial ingredient. I’m the odd mum out.

On any normal day at home, I’m bouncing from task to task. I have a syncable To-Do list of things to work at throughout the day (thank you, Wunderlist), and between baby maintenance time I fit in the cleaning (just the bare necessities of it), the laundry, the meal preparation, the grocery shopping, and miscellaneous tasks both at home and in town. The momentum carrying me from one task to the next is what keeps me alert, or at least awake.

Then I go to the Parent and Child playgroup centre with Timmy on Friday, where all there is for me to do is accept the hot drinks and baked goods the co-ordinators hand out, and talk. That’s not good for my momentum—after only half an hour, my eyes feel glazed and I sit mutely on a couch, hugging my now-empty cup, staring vacantly in the direction of the playmat. To the casual observer I’d be looking at the babies play and interact, but in reality I’d be off somewhere in the stratosphere. (This would become evident whenever someone tried to talk to me.)

Before I get to the stage of mental absence though, it strikes me just how differently the other mums are acting. I enjoy catching up with them, but this is done in the first half-hour of my visit, when I’m still alive. As far as I’m concerned, my visit is largely so that Timmy can be entertained by other things and by other people, while I can enjoy hot drinks I haven’t had to make myself. But the other mums animatedly chat to each other about just how much so-and-so has grown, or how much longer that little boy’s hair is, or how much progress that little girl has made with her rolling since last week, and they share their insights and discoveries on various facets of babycare.

It amazes me that they can even remember last week! And how do they know which baby belongs to whom? I think I’m doing well if I can pick my own out, from the wriggly bunch. And how can any one of the babies possibly look ‘just like’ either one of their parents? They all just look like babies, to me! Are real mums supposed to know this stuff?

I try to be active in conversation sometimes, but it’s just so exhausting trying to get my brain to pay attention to what they’re saying. It’s only during these afternoons that I have the opportunity to not be interested in my baby, so how can I possibly muster the spark to be interested in somebody else’s? I suspect I look rather snobby—never being inclined to begin a conversation. The rude impression I must inadvertently put across makes me think perhaps I shouldn’t go to the playgroup at all…but then I won’t get my timeout with a drink and muffin. Besides, Timmy likes the attention he gets from other women there—the women with much more energy and inclination than I have, who are only too happy to sing and play with him.

What makes me so different from the friendly and polite mums? I hope it’s not simply an introverted-personality thing, otherwise nothing will change with time—I’ll always looks like a couch snob. How awful that would be! Oh, to be like one of them…

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(3) Comments

  • Courtney
    04 Aug 2012

    Oh Eve I guess we all have our strengths. I can happily talk about myself and my baby. In fact I do so way too much. At the expense of my house duties. I read your post and wish I was more like you!

  • Glenys
    05 Aug 2012

    I know the feeling, See if you can find a space programme down there, (run through playcentres) that worked better for me than coffee group – didnt feel quite such an odd ball.

  • Jody
    07 Aug 2012

    I am one of the mums who chats animatedly but I am an extravert and socializing energizes me. When I get home, I am like you are at coffee group and also wish I was more like you! Apart from the baby maintenance, I barely get anything done around the house due to exhaustion and lack of motivation. It is quite depressing!

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