I sometimes feel like I am in a competition that no one told me I was entering. No one told me, being a mummy was like starting a race, but I'm here to tell you my friends, it is. As soon as that little windows blinks positive - you are on the starting blocks! The competition is broken down into categories (it's only fair), and starts with 'Pregnant Mummy' who loiters in the more expensive coffee shops and travels in a pack; she sports toffee coloured highlights and worships at the altar of Noa Noa and Toast. She talks about NCT classes and tuts as 'Frazzled Mummy' who has older children, shouts at her offspring or bribes them with sugar, 'Pregnant Mummy' will never do that, because she has read the book.
'Pre-school Mummy' is not much better; she jogs behind her Bugaboo and flicks her hair while quaffing soy latte and debating the merits of Lamaze toys and why breast is best. The competition hots up when she becomes 'School Gate Mum,' many of the darlings belonging to School Gate Mum, might not be entirely dry at night or know how to share, but can speak three languages, fire juggle, recite Shakespeare and play the cello, all at the same time. These mums also divide into sub categories those whose children are 'gifted' and those who wish their children were. Her favourite topic of conversation is how much it costs to educate a child at any 'decent' school and why the Au Pair just has to go. Many of these mums eat expensive muesli but can't manage to wash their kids hair, professing that 'nits are all the rage.'
'Mummy of Teens' is my favourite, her child is always an aspiring doctor, pilot or lawyer, have you ever met one that says 'oh he's heading for prison, been interested since he was three!' No, me either. She'll like to tell you how much a term her child's education costs, and then go quiet, allowing you to do the math... how much?
There are also 'Super Breeders,' who have four, five or even six kids at the same expensive school, the yummy mummies, who open up the sliding doors of their rather grand twelve seater coaches (the latest must-have accessory) as it spews five or six, striped-blazer wearing, tie-clad midgets onto the pavement. They are often parked on the double yellows, 'I'll only be a mo!' behind 'Boho-chic Mum,' this just means she can't afford a Range Rover and so pops a flower in her hair and drives a banger as a statement against needless consumption and a symbol of her lack of conformity. She is usually an advocate of alternate, vegan living and has a bumper sticker that reads, 'not poor, just recycling!' Nuff said.
And then there are mums like me, who watch the above groups in awe. I ache with self-doubt over my parenting skills and wonder if I'm right to concentrate on growing 'nice, kind people.' In the race, I am WAY behind these over-achieving creatures that don't have time to walk. If these women didn't canter like some human/springbok hybrid, they couldn't possibly fit in all the terribly important things into their day. The cushions might remain improperly plumped, the chocolate and blonde Labradors might forego a walkie and the tubs wouldn't get watered. Now im not being mean, but how do these svelte, ponytail swinging Mamma's, not only manage to own the perfect arse, but also the perfect house, child and husband? I just about manage to get my kids out of the house in clean pants every day! Yet these mums turn up on 'cake bake day' with platters of exquisite cup cakes that have not been hastily purchased in the supermarket. Oh no, their cakes are homemade, each decorated with the glittery 3D initials of a child in the class. I blush at the memory of one; placing her grandmother's ornate crystal cake stand next to my cellophane wrapped Fondant Fancies. I'm quite sure that when this particular mummy takes a dump, it emerges; clad in vintage Cath Kidston floral and smelling like a Joe Malone candle.
I am aware I sound bitter, sarcastic and frightfully envious, the simple reason for that is, I am. Fondant Fancie anyone?