As I was sat in Crouch End today, willing my son to remain asleep long enough for me to finish my coffee, I had an epiphany about the whole new mum social scene. Ok epiphany might be over-selling this a bit but still it was a break-through thought for me and made a lot of sense about how I was feeling about my lost ‘other’ life.
Being a new Mum is like being a fresher at university except without the reckless drinking. You get no sleep and are lumped in with a bunch of strangers under the tenuous link of something vague in common. At university it was being a teenager in a new city and, of course, passing your A-Levels; with new mums it is that you gave birth vaguely around the same time. Not really enough to form deep life-long bonds but yuo will try to find meaning in these new relationships.
When I was a fresher I was filled with great anticipation of meeting like minds, having the odd drunken political debate and generally making some friends for life as I did at home with the guys from my husband’s university. What I was met with was a group of people who had never seen a punk with blue spikey hair, let alone talked to one without giving in to the urge to shout ‘mosher’ or other such phrase at them. I was lost in a sea of first impressions held against me because I stood against the mainstream.
I came from a place where it did not matter what you wore, what music you liked or the colour of your hair. My best friend was not so keen on metal but would still come watch Sick Of It All and I would go to bars that she preferred. So when met with people that were not as adaptable, I felt like I came from another planet.
It took me years to become comfortable with my new situation and find a new set of friends who appreciated each other for who they were alone. Now I find myself feeling like I’m stuck on a loop on the first two weeks of university; being asked if I really like metal, why do I bother to spend my evenings reading, how can I not have a TV signal, and on it goes.
I am past the point now of justifying my life and choices, dumbing down because smart isn’t cool and not speaking in case my opinion is not the popular one. I’ll never be the ring leader, best dressed or funniest person out but I’m happy with that. It is just hard knowing that most of the new mums I meet are like the people I spent four years of university with. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I just feel like I am from a different planet again.
I want to talk about music, drink some beer, play pool badly and laugh. Instead I find myself listening to discussions about weaning, sleep training and poop. My mum said I should pay more interest but I worked out that I’m only being asked these questions so other new mums can compare how their children are developing I’m just not a competitve parent.
All I can hope for is that my ‘other’ life friends have kids real soon so I don’t feel completely lost.