My friend and I tried out a new playgroup yesterday. One which we’d talked about going to for a while but takes place at a funny time to attend when accounting for naps and food. We both found ourselves in the area right before said group was due to start so figured we’d check it out.
Now, I am all for playgroups set up by Mums. It is often a brave thing to do; to try meet strangers often over the internet and with the sole connection being that you have offspring. I made a half-arsed attempt at it myself when I realised I might be at home with my son a little longer than anticipated. I wanted to meet some folks who were on the same wavelength as me and didn’t think I was some weirdo hippy.
It wasn’t the greatest success of a group – my aim was to have coffee, eat vegan cake and share a support network with other vegan/vegetarian parents. Maybe some who even liked the same music as me. Fancy. It was also to share information so that pregnant women could get advice from those who have gone through it and are told we must eat meat or fish or that our iron levels are too low or how could we possibly eat solely from plants when growing another life? Pft…
I did, however, meet a lovely couple who are vegan parents and we keep in touch on facebook and meet up when our busy Mum-diaries match up.
So before I talk about the group yesterday, I would like to point out that I understand how nerve-racking it can be to set something up and how much commitment it takes to keep it going.
However, the group yesterday, bless – and it really does need a bless – was how I imagine people believe me to be when I tell them I am vegan, eat organic, want a garden so I can compost, use real nappies, am gutted my homebirth led me to hospital but feel very proud to have done it all without drugs (I do not count that paracetamol I took for the canula). See, reading that back I already want to give myself a good boot to the shin.
It’s not really the best representation of who I am but it is all true. Possibly made worse by my Mum announcing that I’ve become very middle-class because I shop at John Lewis and go to Waitrose. A major criticism coming from a working-class Yorkshire woman. Although, I did point out that I was officially middle-class the day that I graduated from University.
It wasn’t so much that they were judgmental, no that would be a bit harsh, it is just that my friend and I were not as green as they were. Not as in tune with nature and not really into deep breathing underneath trees. Toys were discouraged from the group as they were considered to stop the children really connecting with the nature but instead caused arguments. We turned up with balls that created all manner of tantrums. Oh and prams, we used prams. One of the women made a point of saying she had never bought a pram and still carries her pre-schooler around in a sling. I enquired about the cost of the sling, wanting an alternative to my back carrier that I am still a little too nervous to take on long journeys. She told me, I gasped, then she asked how much I paid for my Bugaboo. (Touchy subject at the moment as I gave the thing another kick for being broken in 3 places.)
In these sorts of situations, it is hard to judge if the person you went with is actually getting into it. Although, when tidying my change bag back under the pram an hour in, my friend announced that I was packing up and she too would come because her son was also tired. That was a clear sign we were on the same page.
Out of ear shot and many eye-rolls later she wondered if we should try make a group ourselves.
“We do,” I replied, “Our Friday Pub-Club.”
“Yes but that is just us.”
“Only because we’ve yet to meet other Mums who want a pint on a Friday afternoon. I am sure we will. Although maybe other Mums frown on pub drinking in the day?”
After debating this and how much better the pub at the end of our street would be if they just installed a ball pool, we went and invited some more Mums to today’s drink, thus creating our own group. And not a meditation in sight.