THE other night I went “out out”. Or should that be “out out out” given that this gathering, like many right now, took place in someone’s garden?
There were only six of us and pretty swiftly party lines were drawn.
Having a baby doesn’t mean I want to discuss good schools or poonamis, writes Kate WillsCredit: Lancton
I found myself three-wines-deep into a conversation about weaning with the two other mums in the group. Meanwhile, on the other side of the
fire pit, the child-free among our cohort talked of… well, I’m not sure, but I found myself ear-wigging.
Because although I’ve ejected a human from between my thighs, I’m still interested in topics that go beyond purées and nap times. Not just interested, desperate for them, in fact.
Before I had my daughter Blake, whenever my friends announced they were pregnant I would grieve a little.
Because like that film Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, I knew that although my mate would look pretty much the same, they would soon be replaced by a knackered, distracted stranger who suggested meeting for lunch at 11am in Giraffe.
My social circle could be divided into friends with kids and friends without. Although I occasionally broke ranks, I found that as I got further into my 30s without a child, I naturally gravitated towards the latter. And I swore that if I ever did have kids, I would never become one of those “baby bores”.
Now that I’m in the wipe-clean-surfaces-and-getting-up-at-6am-on-a-Sunday club, the knitted bootie is on the other foot. And it struck me how strange it is that we always seem to segregate the child-focused and the child-free.
Before I had kids, I’d meet up with new mums who would apologise for having “nothing interesting to talk about”. Now I am one, I think that’s not true.
Yes, babies can be repetitive, but they’re also the foundation of life – a cute and strange window into psychology, language, science, human culture and much more besides.
Just because you don’t have a child or don’t want one, it doesn’t mean there’s not something to pique your curiosity about rearing them, in the same way that I love hearing about how my single friends are finding dating, or my gainfully employed mates are experiencing the world of work right now.
Other countries manage to mix babies seamlessly into life – I’m thinking of holidays to Italy where the bambinos are eating dinner in a restaurant at 9pm, or my Spanish friend who was baffled when she was invited to a wedding that was “adults only”, so alien to her culture was the idea that kids wouldn’t be part of the fun.
Of course, there is a boring way to talk about your baby, just as there is a boring way to talk about everything. I loathe it when someone wants to chat to me about their strange dreams, their new kitchen, their gluten allergy or the plot of the box set they’ve just binged.
This week I’m…
Scoffing… Fare Foods
This deli box has all you need for the perfect picnic – from Scotch eggs to pickles and a whole wheel of cheese.
Cat’s-eye, flower-shaped or hearts – super-cute sunglasses for kids are my new summer essential.
This website has a huge range of gorge affordable prints – a vintage-style travel poster has livened up my bathroom no end.
I may have had a baby, but I still don’t want to discuss sleep schedules, good schools in the area, or ‘poonamis’.
The pandemic has made us all insular – I hope I’m not the only person who made a mental note of some appropriate talking points on their way to their first post-lockdown outdoor dinner party.
Perhaps I’m just feeling that social anxiety because of my shift to motherhood.
But if I ever get out my phone to show you a million baby photos unasked? Taxi for one (or should that be mum?), please…
- Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites