The Formidable Pram Gang Chronicles.

I was always really reluctant about joining a mum’s group before I had a baby, I was massive snob about it. I thought there was nothing sadder than a bunch of ladies sitting around all day just talking about their babies. I was all “I don’t wanna talk about my baby all day, I’m interesting and have other things to talk about, blah blah blah.” Turns out I’m not and I don’t. I joined a mum’s group and thank god I did. They are awesome.

Our group consists of women of all different professions including a hairdresser, a lawyer, a doctor – basically we got our shit covered. Separately we are hot messes that drink our coffees in the shower and accidentally pick our babies up upside down in a sleep-deprived haze in the middle of the night as we make the trek to the nursery for the 2am feed, but collectively we are the most well informed group of women who can literally talk your face off about all things baby.

First of all, nothing is off limits. Poo, wee, vomit, periods, sex, boobs, vaginas, we talk about everything. It’s like something happens to your internal filter once you’ve given birth and topics that you’d usually steer clear of (well not me, but other people usually steer clear of), you are suddenly quite willing to discuss over a pot of tea and biscuits. Or cake or wine or chocolate or cheese. Or all of those things at once. We do that a lot.

Bitches will hook you up. Sales on nappies, check. Poo explosion assistance, check. Swimming lessons, markets, venturing out for picnics in the park, check, check, check. If there is anything baby-related happening in town, you know one of us is there to scope it out and report back to the others. When someone finds something that works in regards to sleeping, feeding, settling, it’s instantly shared. We’re a team, a network of mummy’s just trying to get by and realise the benefit of safety in numbers.

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When sleep strategies don’t work.

We talk strategy. This is usually centred around naps. We know EVERYTHING about swaddles, white noise, lullabies, LAVENDER (creates a zen baby), the Masada pat pat technique (fucking magic) and anything and everything that does or does not work in regards to sleeping. Because I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone WE’RE FUCKING TIRED, so when something works, we instantly share.

Exhibit A

Me: I just let Tom fall asleep in the rocker while watching Human Nature on the TV. He was captivated by their harmonies and synchronised dance moves and then bam! Out like a light.

Fellow Mumma: The only thing wrong with this is Human Nature.

Me: Right? Poor taste… Just to be clear, I was not watching Human Nature.

Fellow Mumma: Tell it to the jury, Quilty.

Ahem.

IMG_3101Strategy discussions can also include but are not limited to: teething, how to avoid your nipple getting bitten off, how to deal with milk overspray in public and the best way to get your kid to eat food and stop turning his nose up at everything that is offered to him like some righteous food snob *cough* Tom *cough*

They encourage you to build your “Crunchy Mama” status. Buying woven wraps and carriers has become a guilty pleasure that only other fellow crunchies understand. We consistently try to help each other come up with reasons as to why it’s necessary to buy multiple baby-wearing devices. We also almost aggressively breastfeed in public in the hopes of normalising it, so that all the breastfeeding mum’s everywhere can feel comfortable doing one of the most natural things in the world, without being stared, pointed or scoffed at; or be asked to feed their child in the bathroom. Because I know I like to eat lunch on the toilet. Because hygienic. 

They will talk you out of stupid shit, like following Tizzie Hall’s Save Our Sleep routine and to always go with your first instinct – and that is to never trust the advice of anyone named Tizzie. (The woman has no qualifications. None. She is a BABYSITTER and until she has some hard evidence or a postgraduate qualification in infant neurological development or just… you know, anything to legitimise her opinions, then you will not convince me otherwise.)

We applaud ourselves for going to bootcamp to lose the baby weight and celebrate by meeting afterwards for cake and milkshakes… For salad. We eat salad. We bond over that moment everyone stops skipping with a jump-rope at the same time because we all realised our pelvic floors aren’t what they once were. And then high five each other at the end of the session when no one wets themselves. It’s nice.

When a whole group of us walk The Strand with all our babies in prams, we’re pretty much a formidable force of superhero mumma’s. People move out of our way and stare at us in awe. We have an air of “Do not fuck with us.” Because seriously, don’t fuck with us.

We all parent differently and that’s ok. Breastfeeding or formula, purees or baby-led weaning, routines or flying by the seat of our pants, everybody can do their own thing and still support the others. There’s no competition.

You can vent to them about your day without the fear of being judged. Chances are your fellow mummy’s know exactly what you’re going through and are ready and willing to listen, coffee and donuts in hand. They nod when you call your kid “devil spawn” and don’t judge you when you wail like a banshee because you’re so sleep deprived. They give sound advice and build you up and praise you, telling you what an amazing job you’re doing and always know exactly what to say to make you feel better. And you can accept it from them because they see and talk to you almost every day, they see you at your best and your worst and understand the pressures of being a first time mum perfectly, because they’re right there doing it themselves.

I reckon though that the absolute best bit is when you get past talking about your babies and realise that these girls are people you actually have things in common with. They become your friends, your real friends not just mummy friends. We bond over watching The Bachelor (OMG anyone watch it last night?! DRAMA!), talk each other out of impulse car purchases (you know who you are) and discuss our lives prior to having kids. We share stories about travel, work and the occasional husband-bash and realise we are delightfully witty and intelligent women who have more than just their babies in common.

All the loneliness I had in the beginning has dissipated because of these lovely ladies and I’ll be very sad to leave them at the end of the year, as the ADF is about due to mess up my personal life again. I suppose I’ll have to join another mum’s group. But don’t worry girls, you’ll always be my first. Nothing will change that. #emotions #somanyfeels