There is less and less drying out. I should know, as I’ve only really just seen the back of the post-holiday washing from a fortnight ago.
The sunflowers in the garden can’t be arsed anymore.
My mother has enrolled on a Mindfulness course. More about that particular bombshell another time perhaps.
And I have been added to a WhatsApp group chat comprised entirely of mothers (notably no fathers) of the children from my son’s new Reception class.
September is here.
After the first day of school (well, 2.25 hours to be precise) there was talk of taking all the kids to the pub – one with a beer garden where they can run around and where the mums can knock back prosecco until their husbands finish work.
It was quite a nice idea, suggested by a lovely woman, but still I said no, thanks for asking. I know my child, and I know that today will have written him off. I know that what he needed and wanted was a gentle film (Lady and the Tramp) and popcorn (sweet AND salty), a snuggle on the couch with the blanket his nan knitted him (blue chenille), pizza for tea (pepperoni, obvs) and an early night with lots of head stroking and soft singing.
What he didn’t need was to run around with a gang of kids whose parents were more interested in ‘fizz’ and gossip than keeping a proper eye on them or reading their cues. If I wanted him to run around like a blue arsed fly and write himself off then I couldn’t taken him to see his cousins or other friends but I knew he just needed to chill out after his big first day.
It wasn’t just about him anyway, as you might have guessed, although I’ve always made sure I’m sensitive to his feelings or needs in that way. The other mums at the baby clinic used to give me funny looks when I’d leave a hot water bottle in his pram when we left it outside in winter but I didn’t care; I have always put his comfort first and who doesn’t like being toasty warm on a snowy day?
I was secretly glad though that the suggestion of an expensive posey gastropub wouldn’t fit in with him anyway because I want to start as I mean to continue: not pretending to be something I’m not.
I don’t want to eat and drink with people I don’t know. I don’t want to spend money I can’t spare on £15 burgers for me or £12 fish and chips for him which he will leave virtually untouched while he goes off to play with kids. Nor do I want to eat said expensive burger on my own, nestled awkwardly at a picnic table amongst Mrs Yoga Pants who only eats pea shoots or The Mumtrepeneur who thinks it’s really brave of me not to wear make up every day.
I am not desperate to join the Circle of Mums. I never have been and never will be. When I was a new mum I felt a bit unwanted. For the first time it occurred to me that there must be something about me that put people off. But then as time went on I realised that plenty of people reached out to me independently – really lovely, warm people – and there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with me. I just didn’t make it my life’s work to infiltrate a clique. And they were cliques. Grown women who turned their backs on me and formed literal circles at playgroups, neighbours and fellow nursery parents who put their bags on coffee shop seats when they saw me coming to subtly illustrate how I wasn’t welcome to sit with them. So serious, fuck them.
In the meantime, although I’ve no reason to presume the worst, I shall start as I mean to continue and that is to do what I’ve always done: focus on me and mine not them and theirs.
Until next time, enjoy the start of Autumn.