*Sounds ranty foghorn* You’ve been warned…
From birth, I’ve taken Beano to rather a lot of groups and clubs, from baby massage to messy play groups. S’all good, they gives us a chance to get out of the house and do something I haven’t got the mental energy to organise and set up at home, plus Bean can work on his womanising skills and chat up all the little girls and eat all the digestive biscuits his little belly can take.
But I’m beginning to notice something somewhat odd at these here groups and get-togethers. And I find it a little sad to be perfectly frank.
These groups don’t come for free, they range from a quid to £6 per session, plus some of the more fancypants franchised groups ask you to pay an annual membership fee as well as the sessions, the sneaky bastards, and it seems a lot of mums are taking their spawn to these groups, well, to ignore them. To sit in a gaggle of their mummy mates and allow their little ones to fend for themselves.
I know being a parent is isolating, I’m more than aware that it can be suffocating, I appreciate we all need some adult conversation just occasionally, and after yet another sleepless night with your nocturnal child, a row with your partner and the washing machine’s packed in, all you want is to unload onto someone who understands. I appreciate that, I really do. I know it can be the difference between falling in a heap on the kitchen floor in a mess of tears and shouting at your toddler for no other reason than you’re completely exhausted and they’ve asked you the same question 19 times, to just feeling a bit more positive, and like yourself again. I do. I really do.
Are these groups the place to do that? Honestly?
I’ve seen little girls wetting themselves in a packed church heaving with manic children and mums, and the organisers desperately trying to find her mother, and after ten frantic minutes, they locate the mum having a fag in the car park outside on the phone and being actually quite fucked off to be interrupted. I’ve seen babies, no older than a year old, toddling and wobbling around, screaming their little hearts out, because they can’t find their mummy, only to find her in a scrum of other women, blissfully ignorant, having a natter about what a disaster the catering was at their bonfire party on Saturday. I’ve been referee to squabbling young boys I don’t know from Adam, because for want of a better word, they’re beating the epic shit out of each other and no one else has seemed to notice or mind. I’ve had to inform mums that their little one has just been sick in the sand pit, or that they’ve poked themselves in the eye with a paintbrush.
I drag Bean to these little shindigs for us to enjoy some quality time together, so we can make something, or I can hold onto him while he climbs up a ladder, and grip his chubby hand as he leaps from a huge squishy, brightly coloured oblong, I can help him with the actions of “Wind the Bobbin Up”, and we can enjoy one another’s company for an hour or two . And if he’s too cool for me to follow him about, I’m happy to watch him play with the other children. I reckon we can all be a bit guilty of not spending enough proper, down and dirty quality time with our kids, due to hundreds of reasons and obstacles, from the trivial to the downright difficult.
However, isn’t that the beauty of taking them to a group, the park or even just a little walk around the block? We can close the door, and forget about all the washing that hasn’t been dealt with and well, every other form of housework in my case, and just enjoy our monsters for an hour or so a few times a week?
Twenty four hour quality time, is just, well fucking insane, we’d NEVER get any sleep for starters and drive ourselves mad even faster than we already are. But an hour? That you’ve had to PAY for? Really? Is your phone that important? Does it really matter what she said and he said and she said and he said and she said and he said…?
C’mon, attention please.
Anyone had any experience of this? Any thoughts?
I’m linking this post up with Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday linky, please have a look at all the other rantastic posts