Being patronising to first-time mothers


Let’s face it, there aren’t many perks to having more than one child. One bonus, however, is that you get to wear the mantle of Experienced Mum in the company of first-time mothers. There they are, with their shiny new Skip Hop bags and deeply held opinions about child-rearing, regarding you with a kind of schoolgirlish awe, like they’re a first year and you’re a fourth former who’s learned to roll up her regulation skirt and do her tie the skinny way.

Which means you get to be massively patronising, smiling indulgently as they read Peepo! Lion to their oblivious babies, like it’s going to make the slightest fucking ounce of difference. ‘Where are you going? Gymboree?’ you say, adding, ‘Mmm, I think we did that,’ as you check Facebook for the 75th time. You try – not very hard, admittedly – to hide your smirk as they whip out the anti-bac hand gel, while you consider the five-second rule unduly stringent and crack up as you tell stories about that time you accidentally left the baby in the car.

Perhaps Nervous New Mum might tentatively ask you what you did when you had a baby that wouldn’t sleep/eat? In which case you cast your mind back to those misty days of two years ago and say, ‘You know, I honestly can’t remember.’ You might spot the exhaustion in her face and, taking pity, throw out a platitude like, ‘Everything’s a phase… He’ll grow out of it.’ Or, if you really want to fuck with her, you can clock the bags under her eyes, the unwashed hair, the raging anxiety, and sigh, ‘God, it’s so much easier having one.’

Even more fun is the pregnant woman. Particularly if she’s one of those earnest types who blabs about her plans for a home hypnobirth, and how she won’t need drugs because she read that it’s only painful if you’re frightened. Should you shatter that little fantasy, you wonder? Or is it more polite to just smile and say, ‘Great! Good luck with that!’ In the end it doesn’t matter, you snigger to yourself. She’ll find out soon enough.

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