Just recently I applied for a little 5 week gig promoting a new mum app that you may or may not have heard of called MUSH , the way I describe it in short is tinder for mums. I joined a while before having my second daughter in april with a view to ‘put myself out there’ a bit more than I ever did with my first born.
Four years ago when I had her I moved to Warwickshire from Hampshire away from family, friends, work colleagues (you get the picture). We landed there on a gated (‘behind the wire’) military patch as rookie Mum and 2 week old baby post emergency c section unable to drive and nowhere to walk to that wasn’t in a loop of the above mentioned ‘gates’
Quite how I didn’t suffer PND I’m not sure but there were understandably some darker days that I look back on now and think WOW! (credit to a lovely health visitor who became my new best mate once a week!)
I didn’t join any groups for a few reasons, if I’d joined an NCT it would have been in Hampshire and I knew we weren’t staying there for at least the most part of our babies first year, not that NCT had ever really appealed to me to be honest. Any courses that I had wanted to do like baby massage etc I couldn’t because I couldn’t drive or walk to any of the clinics, I had two neighbours with little ones and my next door neighbour in particular was sooooo good cooking for me and taking me under her wing in all aspects of this new place I found myself ‘motherhood’ but I did always feel like the odd one out for one reason or another so a lot of the time socialising was exhausting and loneliness often felt like the lesser of two evils.
Still anyone who has parented a newborn will know what I mean when I say theres not a loneliness comparable, I’ve always been more than alright with my own company, although I’d always had a hectic social life prior to babies I also could fill my time just as happily being independent.
But thats just it isn’t it being a parent and for me in my experience particularly being a mother isn’t about being independent, its about needing a strong scaffold like support structure of other mums, honest mums that aren’t in any way shape or form competing with you through your babies milestones (yaaawwwwn)
Mums that can say yea my days been that crap too, and i mean say it from a whatsapp group or some other quick fire response from their own shit storm grid ref. As sad as that may seem that we’re all texting each other more than face to face meetings thats the world we live in now, we don’t all live down the road from one an other in walking distance of a nice cafe we can go drink tea in and offload about todays ‘cripling phase’ so why not embrace the technology and use it wisely! I’m not suggesting spend all day with your head down staring at the phone but just knowing theres a community there if you need some cheer leading, advice, morale whatever , it helps to know they’re there.
My whatsapp group of said scaffold sisters often comes into its own within the witching hours between 3-5am when one or more will be up breast feeding and or simply enduring an all nighter for no obvious reason what so ever!!! My sister (actual real life sister but also fully fledged member of the scaffold sisters… i just came up with that term and i’m pretty happy with it can you tell!?) amidst one of these early morning debates only about a week ago was saying there is something very primal about the need for these groupings at 3am while feeding our young and she’s right ya know. It boils down to basic animalistic needs, it takes a village and that village has a sense of community like no other when its mums and babes i tell thee.
And its that very notion that triggered my desire to post this and spread the MUSH word also because even though I didn’t get the gig (get your violins out now) I feel so strongly that we have a duty to prop each other up, as cheesy as it sounds not just for us but for the babies, toddlers and children too. Theres a reason why we hate ourselves for shouting when tiredness just takes over where patience has left, and when you yourself have been there isn’t it a nice thing to help someone out when you recognise the look of ‘i’ve had an absolute tit full of today and just want to go to sleep but obviously that aint gonna happen’
Theres two times that always make me feel like a better human for doing this for they had the best noticeable effect while I was still present and without waffling on too much in great detail basically all I did was invite myself into the moment that these two different mums were having in very diff circumstances to distract for a second without being a patronising twat or just staring as so many people often do like they themselves have never had a day where everything is testing, just to offer a kind breather so they can recalibrate. The two times that stand out like I say stand out because it instantly had the desired affect in that the mums took a breath and the situation calmed, one of these times was only this week.
The mum in mind happened to look lovely so I told her as much when she’d finished shouting at her toddler and eventually got him in the carseat. I didn’t just dream that she drove off wth a smile on her face she bloody well did and I heard her talk to her little boy in a softer tone as she seemed more relaxed after knowing that a stranger loved her dress and thought she looked beaut today.
The MUSH app that i would 100% endorse paid or not (and like i say i’m in the latter camp) happened to send out an edit this week about being kind to other mums and it just resonated with me all over again, I really believe in their ethos and hope they have huge success on top of what they are already having in such short a space of time.