Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Starbucks supermum

A new mum walks into starbucks, her mewing newborn clamped to her chest in a sling. She looks exhausted. Her eyes scan the room in the vague hope she will meet someone she knows. Someone to become her armour while she sips her coffee. Sorry, chi soya milk decaf latte (she is breast feeding after all). If the child should suddenly cry she has some protection, someone to shield her from the disgruntled look and irritated sighs. The looks that scream ‘BAD MOTHER!’ She sees me tap tap tappety tapping away on my laptop and drags her gaze away from my seemingly blissful solace. She is wearing baggy clothes and tugs at her jumper, willing the baby fat to disappear the way it seems to off celebs who run around in bikinis 3 weeks post birth. As she walks past I catch the smell of baby wipes and desperation. For adult conversation. She’ll pretend that the yummy mummy group who meets at the library to sing happy clappy god-awful songs and subtly compete about whose child sleeps the longest is ‘fun.’ What she always dreamed motherhood would be. Pretends that she doesn’t watch the clock willing her husband to come home and take over. Give her a whole fifteen minutes to herself to read the paper (which only depresses her more when she sees all the seasonal fashion that she is meant to be wearing when she isn’t even sure what frigging month it is) before she has to whip out a breast and become the human udder again. (Have you ever tried expressing? Who knew your nipples had so many holes? I have never felt so bovine in my whole life.)

She orders her coffee. She can do this. She is wearing the latest baby holder, the baby is in top to toe gap, she has on her uggs and hefty Chanel shades and a fine layer of make-up. She knows how to give good Motherhood. But underneath that stylish exterior belies a sad, lonely woman. She misses her friends, her relationship, her after work drinks, the cinema, sex, her sleep, who she was. But if she can just order this latte and make some small talk with the cute barista (her only adult conversation until 9pm as husband is playing squash tonight) then she can prove to herself she is ‘getting out there and having a life.’ The baby starts to cry. Loudly. She frets, willing the bloody barista to hurry up. She grabs her coffee and runs. Before people can get fed up with the howling. Before she has to concede that she has no idea what to do to stop the child yelling save lopping out her prominently veined droopy breast. Out she dashes to the sanctuary of home. Her prison. She wills the next 3 weeks to pass quickly – after 6 weeks it gets better, apparently. It’s ten past four. Her husband will be back in 5 hours. Motherhood – piece of cake eh?

No comments: