I had a bittersweet light bulb moment over the weekend, when reality stepped up and slapped me across the face.
Before I had children I vowed to be one of those on-the-go city mums who took their on-trend dressed kids with them everywhere they went. The child would sit patiently at the table, reading a picture book, or maybe working on a jigsaw puzzle, while I drank Pinot Grigio, and gossiped with my friends. I know, I know – how naive, huh?
It was vaguely achievable when Lucia was younger, as she would actually be quite content to sit in her pushchair, watching the world go by. But once she started walking my illusions were utterly shattered.
On the weekend my friend threw a birthday party at lovely riverside pub in London. The weather was amazing, and I was really looking forward to catching up with her, and enjoying a nice, relaxing lunch in the sun. Ha! My partner was away, so my first battle was actually getting to Hammersmith by myself. After waiting ages for the right bus, I wasn’t allowed on, because a mobility scooter was already on board. So I ended up walking most of the way, arriving a little flustered, but relieved to be there.
My friend is younger than me, so the table was filled with glamorous, 20-something couples. They all that that relaxed, carefree look that comes from being childless, and having absolutely nothing to worry about, except having a good time.
At 4-months pregnant my regular wardrobe was already a no-go zone, but I’d managed to scrub myself up to a fairly presentable state, and was looking forward to having a bit of a chat with some people whose vocab wasn’t limited to ‘Bye bye Mummy’ and ‘Hello Woof Woof’.
From the microsecond we arrived Lucia loudly demanded to be released from her stroller. She wouldn’t sit in the highchair, and spent the next hour running up and down the concrete towpath outside the restaurant, and trying to sneak into the kitchen. When I tried to pick her up she started screaming, and made her body go like a limp spaghetti noodle, so I couldn’t get a good grip on her.
I didn’t get to speak to anyone, and I didn’t get to eat. After an hour of chasing her around, I gave up, and went home. It made me realise that trendy, urban lifestyle just isn’t possible anymore. Now, if I want to squeeze any kind of enjoyment out of the day, certain criteria has to be met:
The location has to be family-friendly, have an enclosed garden, and/or a kid’s play area.
The people I’m meeting must either have children of their own, or be VERY tolerant towards them. (The people at the lunch were absolutely lovely, and so sweet to Lucia, but I couldn’t relax for worrying that she would kick off, and ruin their afternoon.)
Ditto goes for the staff.
The site must be easy to get to, either by foot, or public transport.
Otherwise, sadly, it’s just not worth the stress!!!! Have other mums drawn the same conclusion???