Playgroups – I’ve never been a fan of them. I went to one recently and it made me think more about why it is I dislike them so much. How can hanging around with a group of Mums you don’t know and making small talk whilst your children play happily (hopefully) be so bad to me?
I guess my dislike of Playgroups is more angled to the fact I dislike Mum’s in ‘pack-mode’. You know when the competition element of motherhood rears its ugly head?
Everyone talks in their ‘nice voices’ to their children and parenting is polished and straight from the pages of ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food’. I too turn into one of them. My usual Mum-persona ‘kids-are-bellends-but-I-love-them-really’ doesn’t work in this setting and I’m out of my comfort zone.
Everyone is a contestant in the ‘Mum Games’ and are so squeaky clean and perfect it makes me feel instantly self-conscious and like a fraud. But everyone is a fraud!
Let’s be honest. Your child, (DEFINITELY) my child, everyone’s child (at some point) is going to snatch from a smaller kid, wallop another kid, blow a raspberry at you when you ask them ever-so-nicely to tidy up or lie down on the floor in a great big ‘FUCK YOU MUM’ tantrum when you need to leave. It’s not a reflection on your parenting! Don’t pretend they’re the perfect child and you’re the perfect Mum because that’s not real. And don’t tell me you use your ‘nice voice’ at home when little Cornelius is flinging Lego at his brother so why at Playgroup?!
I’ve always struggled to make ‘new’ Mum friends for this very reason. It’s sad that the reason that playgroups exist is not only for the children but as a change of scenery for bored and lonely Mums. Except I feel totally judged in those situations. My baby doesn’t sleep, is ‘into everything’ (little f*cker) & my toddler is an utter Diva who I just cant control unless I bribe with either of the pigs in our lives – Percy or Peppa. I’d prefer to swap stories of sleepless nights, mega-tantrums in Sainsbury’s and poo-namis than I would listen to how Arabella has slept through since Day 1 & Charles behaves impeccably in all situations because of the way he’s been brought up ETC.
I’m not saying all kids are horrendous and of course we should celebrate them and their achievements and I am incredibly proud of my clever, funny, amazing children. But they aren’t perfect. And neither are yours. Even if your baby did sleep through from day 1 I bet he does giant poo’s in the bath or won’t give up his dummy. Or at some point I bet she cried for 12 hours straight and refuses to let you wash her hair. I’m not saying we all have to hate motherhood but Playgroups are an opportunity for us to join forces, listen and laugh while our children play, not to compete in the next level of the ‘Mum Games’, which in my humble opinion is really fucking boring.