In the quest to remain part of society after giving birth, mothers will often find themselves at a playgroup. I'm talking about the groups where you pay a couple of quid for a room full of half-broken toys and a cup of tea. In order to make the best of these gatherings, there are three things you may wish to bear in mind:
1. Meeting new friends at playgroups can be a bit like dating.
You may find yourself scanning the room for a kindred spirit or, failing that, just someone with a similar aged baby and bags under their eyes as big as yours. You'll sidle up to them and ask the two mandatory questions "How old's your little one?*" and "What's his/her name?" You will answer the same questions back and both coo over the other's child.
If there's a "spark" and conversation continues, feel free to casually suggest swapping numbers so you can "meet for a coffee sometime." 99% of the time, the other parent will be relieved you made the first move and be only to happy to arrange a future date.
If they say they haven't got their phone and can't remember their number? Yep, they're just not that into you. Move on.
'*It is advisable to refer to other babies as "little ones" until their gender has been confirmed by their parent.
2. If there is a singing session, it can be fraught with complications.
You will find that the nursery rhymes you knew as a child now have extra verses bolted on. No-one knows how this happened but Row, Row, Row Your Boat, for example, now involves crocodiles in the stream, polar bears in the river and spiders in the bath. Rowing your boat is no longer so gentle and merry.
Also, there are about eight different variations to the tune of Incy Wincy Spider. Follow the lead of the group - it can be quite embarrassing if everyone else sings up the scales for "Out came the rain" and you go down. You may often find yourself enthusiastically singing and miming all the actions when your baby crawled off several minutes ago to gum on an unsanitised doll's arm. You then have the sudden realisation that you are a fully grown, educated adult honking the bus's horn on your own nose.
3. You can talk about things not usually considered appropriate elsewhere.
Don't be shocked if someone starts talking about their birth in graphic detail. Your perineum lost its privacy some time ago, embrace it - it all helps with the bonding process.
You’re ready to go! One final note: You’ll need all the energy you can get, so I suggest guzzling a strong coffee before you arrive. Don’t forget the breath mints, though - you want to make a good impression on any potential future "dates.”
Lizzie was selected as a BISS guest blogger after entering our June linky. For your chance to write for GoodtoKnow, check out our Because I Said So platform.