In-stalk-gram, Girl Gangs and Gin

Last year I went to a 'Mother's Meeting'.  It's like a networking for mums. You can take your kids (in my case Cass) and meet other like-minded mums, but on adult terms - ie you don't have to try and have an adult conversation about returning to work inbetween verses of Wind the Bobbin Up (or as I like to call it 'What the hell is this song?', 'Oh shit there are actions' and 'Jesus, not again').

I enjoyed the meeting and met a few mums who I stayed in contact with afterwards including a lovely woman by the name of Molly. Anyway to cut a long story short, Molly decided to carry on putting on these events for mums in Manchester, and lo, Mamas Collective was born.

The last time I took Cass to a meeting he tried to systematically bypass my make-shift child barrier (my leg) at any given opportunity and hot foot it down the corridor towards the exit whilst laughing maniacally. Then when he was in the room he found it hilarious to heckle the stand up comedian (that event's guest) by running in front of her and showing his tummy at any given opportunity, whilst screeching HIYA in a Manchester accent. Cass no longer comes to Mamas Collective meetings.

Anyway, last week I went along to one – child-free – and since then I have decided I am totally OK with something I have been struggling with for 5 years – where do I fit now?

Before the meeting (the very down-to-earth and top hair-goals winner, Carrie Anne, founder of Mère Soeur) there was a 'mum's of Instagram' meet up at HOME. Everyone should have had their Insta-handle on a badge as I had NO idea what anyone's actual name was, but wow – what a girl gang. And I realised that this was it, this is where I fit. My specialist subject these days is my kids. I'm a bloody expert on them (in so much as no one knows them better than me, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I have a scooby what I am doing) and I felt at ease.

It turns out that a surprising number of this super girl gang that I stalk, and who in turn stalk me, live in Urmston. Who knew that the sprawling metropolis of Urmstonia could be home to so many Insta-mums. I know there are a good 3 or 4 ready to reveal themselves in the school playground at some point – but part of me likes the idea of a clandestine pack of mama bears, ready to pounce should one of their tribe go down. I like being part of this (kinda) secret gang. I like that they are all way cooler than me, so by association I also gain some cred. I like that they have shit days too, in my local vicinity, on days when I am having a shit day.

I also like receiving Instagram messages asking if I had silver shoes on today.

I have also made some brilliant friends with mums of Joe's classmates, and with all my friends in WI (post coming soon on that) and everyone I have accrued from working in various jobs/Festivals/old friends, I'm really happy with the circles I socialise in these days. Its taken a while to get there. I've been jealous of the fact that the younger friends I have stay out after work, go to the opening of new exhibitions, piss about having roasts in trendy bars at the weekend. I feel like shouting 'I USED TO BE LIKE YOU', but it would fall on deaf ears. Who wants to listen to someone who's main concern is how many poos her youngest has had at nursery and whether the eldest ate all his curry and pasta at lunch time at school (yep, this is how Joe described the Bolognaise I had selected for his lunch meal!). But its only recently, that I've realised that it's all cool. I have not a lot to say to people who can't acknowledge that I need major sympathy on my 22 month old non-sleeper. That's not that I can't or don't wank to talk to people with no kids (I know loads of people with no kids who are bloody brilliant to talk to) but my frame of reference is so marginal compared to how it used to be that I suppose I just feel more comfortable in the company of people who I don't think are going to slip into a coma if I tell them one more story about my f**king kids. I think it's taken a long time, and probably even more gin, to realise that this is fine. I have changed - having kids has changed me. I promised myself it wouldn't but it did, and thats ok.

It seems I have found my little place in society that I had been searching for since giving up my sleep, dress sense, pelvic floor, ability to drink more than 3 glasses of wine without needing to sleep/dance on a table and life between 5 and 7pm.

It's with the mums at the bar.

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