A Kick in the Arse from Reality

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’.

Fat chance.

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???


  1. Lou - April 19, 2010

    Oh yeah got that T shirt

  2. Young Mummy - April 20, 2010

    I always envisaged myself as an on-the-go city mum, and then I discovered I was expecting twins and that vision exploded into a million pieces!

    I can’t get the double buggy onto the bus, I can’t get it into many of my local shops, and I can’t get it into lovely little coffee shops. So I definitely think certain criteria must be met for me to enjoy being out-and-about.

    It’s so much easier now the weather is nicer though and we can sit outside. Here’s to a long, sunny summer!


  3. vegemitevix - April 20, 2010

    LOL I always thought that too, but I learnt that it’s a stage made easier when the people you know are at the same stage too! Oh yes, and there were the bad parenting moments ..when I forgot the baby, and stood on the baby at a coffee club, amongst others.

  4. Mummy's Little Monkey - April 21, 2010

    Lou: Just the t-shirt? I’ve got the entire bloody three-piece-suit!!!

    Young Mummy: And here I am, moaning about just one!! I’ll tell you what else drives me nuts – stores who have their children’s departments upstairs, and don’t have a lift!!! Sitting outside in the sun sounds lovely, except Lucia doesn’t do sitting anymore – just running (usually in the opposite direction to me…) x

    Vegemitevix: I prefer the people I socialise with to have children just a little bit older than Lucia, so they’ve already gone through the EXACT same shenanigans, but not so long ago that they’ve forgotten how to empathise!!! Now, you’ve piqued my interest, and I’d like to see a post about forgetting/standing on the baby, pronto!! x

  5. Annabelle Alexandra Gibson - April 22, 2010

    I laughed out loud to this (with work colleagues looking at me), not for your spoilt lunch date, but because I am in exactly the same boat with a 17 month old. It’s a whole new world we never knew existed eh!

  6. deer baby - April 24, 2010

    Oh yes this rings bells. It’s a shock to the system. The thing that made my husband decide he was ready for kids was when he saw a dad in a pub with a baby on his lap, sipping beer through a straw whilst holding said baby. He thought if he could still do that, things would be okay. How wrong we both were. I have had quite a few occasions like the one you describe – weddings and posh restaurants, but as soon as you’re with a bunch of people who are all in the same boat, it’s fine. I also said I would never go to Pizza Express and all those other ‘family’ places but carry on going to wherever we went. Now I just want highchairs, a menu they’ll eat and jars of crayons. I used to live over the river from Hammersmith and know that journey well.

  7. Mummy's Little Monkey - April 26, 2010

    Annabelle: My friend, whose kid is a bit older than Lucia, used to complain about how she couldn’t do anything anymore. I used to naively think that she just wasn’t properly controlling her child, and that I’d be different. Now I’m getting my comeuppance…

    Deer Baby: It’s perfectly behaved freak kids like that who fool us into believing we can have babies AND keep our pre-kid social life. It’s false advertising!

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