Wednesday, 24 June 2009

When conversations need to be about more than just children

I'm beginning to feel a bit nauseus. And before you ask, NO I am NOT pregnant. You need to have done certain things in order to have achieved that. Don't you?

She asks, moving swiftly on.

No, the real reason why I'm feeling slightly sick is because I'm going out this evening...and just the thought of it is making me want to find the nearest hole, bury my head deep inside and not come out until the morning, during which time I would have thought up any number of believable excuses as to why I couldn't make it.

Now don't get me wrong. I am no wallflower. In fact, if my fragments of memory serve me correctly, there was once the time (ahem...first night of my honeymoon) when I danced on the bar, served drinks to whoever wanted them and had to be carried off as the sun came up, minus one pair of trousers, one shoe and one earring (later discovered in the undergrowth) only to wake up later that day with a black eye and a slightly dismayed husband. Needless to say, I have never touched cheap Filippino rum since.

But look at me. During my nostalgia trip, I have digressed somewhat. What I'm trying to say here is that social situations don't often send me into a dither. Take the Mummy Bloggers Get-Together, for instance. Surely walking into a room full of people who you've never actually met, at least not in the physical sense, is slightly more harrowing than sitting down chatting to people who you already know and have previously managed to string a sentence together with?

Well, this is the thing. Being a Mummy is what I do. As much as I subtley fight against it and pretend I'm still young and hip and have absolutely no stretch marks whatsoever, it's who I am...and it's who I've been for the past five years, so when I was planning to meet up with a whole host of other Mothers and Fathers, at least I knew I would have something to talk to them about. And I wasn't disappointed. There was not one moment where I felt out of place or bewildered. I mean, I even managed to work poo into the conversation. So why am I feeling so sick at the thought of this evening?

Well, the difference between that get-together and the get-together I'm off out to this evening is that tonight I'm meeting up with people I knew pre-children. Doesn't that have a strange ring to it? I shall say it again. Pre-children. Crikey, I'd almost forgotten those days even existed. And not only that, but most of these people still work in the same, scary industry that I left all those years ago. Television. Now apologies, if you work, or have ever worked in Television, but having served eight long years in such an industry I feel I have the right to say what I want about it. So here goes...people who work in Television think that it is the most important thing on this planet. Strangely enough, I'm not of the same opinion. And I never was. Which is why I'm sitting here, feeling slightly sick.

And please don't ask me why I'm going. I don't have much of an answer - only that it seemed like a good idea when I replied to the invitation a few weeks ago. So that's that. Wish me luck. It has been five years. Maybe I'll find that I'm not the only one who's had children in the interim years. And if not, then maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to find something to talk about other than children. Here's hoping.


  1. My advice to you is to ask at the bar if they are serving any of that Fillipino rum you had on honeymoon!
    I know what you mean though - it's extremely difficult to 'play down' your children when they are the all-consuming centre of your world!

  2. I met up with a few old colleagues and friends yesterday, and while it was nice to talk to all of them, the easiest conversations were with other parents and about schools, GCSEs and universities. It does change you.

    Anyway, things to talk about:
    The weather - always a good British fall-back
    How much you love/hate reality TV (though not sure how that works with actual TV people)
    And, sod it, talk about your kids, too!

    Have fun.

  3. I know just how you feel - but don't worry - so what if you talk about your kids - I bet they aren't worried that they might bore you with stories of TV land - just have a laugh and even if you have a 'difficult' evening feel smug in the thought that you will be going home to your lovely children - and not a TV!

  4. I hope you enjoy the evening, but I would probably have the same jitters as you. You might actually find that people are envious of you, so don't 'downplay' your life, or your children. They are both major achievements and will last a lot longer than any television show. Be proud of yourself!

  5. How fasinating! I'd love to be a fly on the wall at a meeting with loads of TV people, find out what they are really like. Hope it went well. I'm sure you found plenty to talk about. Can't wait to read all about it.

  6. Good luck I hope it wasn't as scary as you thought it would be! Thinking of you (and don't drink too much to compensate.... I have it on good authority that's not a good idea ooops) luv Karen x

  7. Oh God, hope it goes well! I am terrified of anyone I knew pre-children, I am now twice the size and half as intelligent :-S

    Mel xxx

  8. Have confidence in yourself - as a mum you you have skills in multi tasking, time management, latest goverment policies, negotiating & peace keeping - whilst learning to negotiate the politics of the mummy maffia & media pressure.... & tell them you only have time to watch decent TV....

    All the best

    Love Lydia xx

  9. Good luck, don't drink too much and also, they're probably just as nervous.
    I kept in touch with my pre-child friends, so it wasn't so difficult. But I felt sick every time I went on a 1st date after my divorce.
    It's all so nerve wracking.
    Look forward to hearing all about it.
    jo x

  10. Good luck! I agree, don't drink TOO much, try to be one of those mature and elegant people... lol, or just be yourself and f**k 'em if they hate u anyway. LOL, just have a good time, no worries!

  11. Thinking of you and hope it's going well....I'm sure it is.

  12. Oh who cares what they think of you?! Relax, have fun, but you've already gone right? Hope you managed to relax and have fun!

  13. We meet up with friends who are having IVF, it's not going well for them. It's amazing how much you do find to talk about that doesn't include your kids.
    It's a bit like Fawlty Towers 'Don't mention the war...'.
    I hope you're having a fabulous time x

  14. Ah, I think you've moved on, grown as a person.
    Dont be afraid of who you are now - get some rum down your neck and show 'em who's boss!

    Go get 'em girl! Have a fab time


  15. Knock em bandy with your tale about poo gate if they start getting all high and mighty -that should shut em up! Failing that you could always knock back a few Malibu and re create your honeymoon madness. Have fun, and i'm sure you'll be fine x

  16. Hope it goes well. Just be yourself. I would be jumpy too. Just remember that you are an interesting person and have so much to share. Try to have some fun and maybe a couple of laughs:)

  17. I can understand that. Fortunately I moved to Canada just before having my first, so all of my friends (or most) are mummy friends. I'm sure you'll still have a good time - just be yourself and order some of that rum to ease the pressure.

  18. I'm sure you'll have (or have had?) a lovely time. Being yourself is the best advice: if they don't like it, it's their loss!

  19. Sam - Hee hee. Indeed! I should have packaged that Rum and started importing it...would have helped me in a few awkward situations over the years! And yes I wish I did have more to talk about other than children...but I'm working on it! Btw - thanks for the add to your blog roll - have just added you to mine x

    Tasha - I read your comment yesterday just before I left to go out and it scared me even more!!! The Economy! I never could talk about that even before I had children! And I used to love chatting about Reality TV - I was reality tv queen - but since I started blogging I've given that up. Have swapped one addiction for another it seems! But yes, having children does change you, but it's a good change and I shall cling on to that!

    Kathryn - Thanks! And you're right - so what if I talked about them (I did)!!! And I even found there were other people who wanted to talk about theirs too. Yay - children win over tv talk.

    notSupermum - What a lovely comment! Thanks
    :-) And you're right - having children is an achievement and I am proud of it...but then you get the awful guilt when you start speaking to people who desperately want them and have been trying for ages and can't...and then you really want to speak about something else!

    Rosie - Hee hee - yes it is/was fascinating - although they're just normal people, albeit with a fascinating job. It was an interesting get-together - not everyone is still working in tv (shock horror) - some have become parents, one is now a local councillor, etc. Might not actually write a post about it, but we'll see x

  20. MGM - Thanks! And yeah I was a bit worried about over-compensating on the drink front, especially since I hadn't eaten anything on arrival...but the drinks were so flamin' weak, that sadly, I didn't disgrace myself! And yes, it was much more fun than I had envisaged!

    Mel - I know - it is extremely scary seeing people you haven't seen for years...your comment made me laugh - a few years ago I was definitely double the size I had been and now I am most certainly half as intelligent - my head is like a sieve! And when I walked into the room my poor heart was beating rather fast...

    Lydia - Hilarious - yes you're so right - I'm able to achieve so much more in an hour than I ever could. And is there any decent tv on?? I'm far too addicted to blogging to notice!! x

    Jo - Thanks for the advice - yes it could have been rather horrible if I'd drunk too much - (I didn't - but not through lack of trying!!) I've kept in touch with a lot of the people I used to work with, so lots have seen me with the children already and I still have lots of friends from back in the days, but it was just this particular group of people I hadn't seen for years...which I why I was so nervous! But thankfully it was much better than I had imagined...

    Margarita - Thanks love!! Yep, didn't drink too much...although not because I didn't try!! Drinks just seem to be much weaker these days...or maybe that's what I thought! Oopps...

  21. Oh no, now it's too late to wish you good luck and tell you how great and adorable you look and that you everybody will envy your beachgirl look... because today is Thursday and it's yesterday's tomorrow.
    I think I know where you are coming from. People in banks seem to feel the same way about working in an industry... I was never like that either; I used to star through the plexiglass wall that seperated the next office and mine through the next plexiglass wall and the next and the next and the next... to finally get a glimps of the sky on the other side of the building. And I was lucky, sitting on the 19th floor. The poor guys below only ever saw the other buildings in the Wharf.

    So, now I am more than curious to hear about your evening. How was it???

    xx MM

  22. magnumlady - Thank you! Yes I think I was well into the evening by that point. It was fun - much more than I thought it would be!

    Reasons - Thanks! Yep, I relaxed eventually... and ended up enjoying myself more than I thought I would...

    Sandy - Gosh that must be hard to talk with people who are having problems conceiving when you've got two beautiful children yourself - well done for managing it!

    RM - Thanks darlin' - I tried with the rum, really I did, but it's just not as strong as it used to be!! Had a good time though and yes, I think we've all moved on...

    wife of bold - Well, who would have thought - the poo story came out in all it's glory and a couple of people nearly choked on their pints. Was perfect!

  23. septembermom - Thanks for the encouragement - yes I thought I was interesting once - but now I just talk about poo!! No, it was fun...and I did talk about mor than just that...

    Lady Mama - Yeah it's funny how having children changes you - I never used to be nervous about things like this - even though you learn to do so many new and amazing things you also lose your confidence in simple things. But, yeah it was great. Nothing to have worried about at all!

    Catharine - Yep - it's all good now - I was myself!! Yay to being me!

    MM - Wow - you worked on the 19th floor! Think that might have freaked me out just a little since I discovered only a few years ago that I'm not a huge fan of heights! But, last night was good - I shouldn't have worried - it's just that when you're with children all day you do wonder what else you have to talk about - I think it's a natural worry and until you're actually put in that situation you have no idea what lurks deep in your resources of conversation. I'm pleased to say there was quite a bit other than children...although the poo story did come out!!! xx

  24. Hi darling - didn't get here in time to wish you luck but I was thinking of you last night (well, you know, evening!). Am sure you had a blast and quickly fell back in with the old crowd. I know what you mean about telly people being obsessed with TV and TV alone. It is really as if life does not exist outside of the walls of Television Centre. But the truth is a lot of these TV folk literally end up putting their real lives on hold - I know so many people who have really successful TV careers but are single/divorced and childless...and often desperately lonely and unhappy. So at least we got something right even if we don't careers any more!!

    Like you, I feel like I"m missing a limb if I go out without the kids. It's really weird and I certainly have to engage the brain when chatting to non-parental mates. I always have to check myself so that I don't blab on about my babies. Sooo hard when that IS one's raison d'etre.

  25. And presumably, during those years, you have become even more of an expert in television - or doesn't CBeebies count? Seriously, have a few drinks, talk about the weather, MPs expenses and Wimbledon and it will be fine.

  26. Haha. You just cannot do no poo, can you? ;-)
    xoxo MM

  27. Ah, I came by too late too but I know EXACTLY how you feel; I hate going out these days too. I had to go to a conference today and I met a lovely woman who I chatted to aimiably for a while until we discovered that we both have boys around the same age: whammo, instant bond.

    And really darling, is there anything else BUT poo to talk about at the moment?!!

  28. I think theres a little switch in your head that becomes adjusted during childbirth from ability to socialise with people who dont have kids to ability to socialise with people who have kids. Its a sort of natural thing. When faced with work colleagues and friends without kids I now feel compelled to ask them when they are having them- this often creates a sort of embarassing silence ;)

  29. Awwww, I would've gone with you and we could've been nervous together..

  30. have been there...done that....used to work in television...i feel for you...a quick shot of vodka before you go out should do the trick (just don't have more than one or you will regret it like i did - standing comatose and mildly nauseous in the corner of the room all night). Not my best moment..

  31. hopefully there is a good reason that you accepted the invitation... a pleasant surprise for you....... just a little wishful thinking on my part.

    hope there was some fun to be had.

    best wishes

  32. I wish I could help, but I always bore everyone to death with stories about my kids! If they're good friends they won't care! I hope it all went well xx

  33. So? How did it go?

    CJ xx

  34. Mamma Po - You're so right - I kind of made the decision a long time ago that it was either children or TV because I didn't think it was possible to both at the same time (and be happy), so obviously I chose children...But, like you say, there are some who didn't and none of them are happy...or healthy! But, yes it was fine...more than fine. I shouldn't have worried really - I spoke a bit about the children, but a lot about other things too!

    WM - Hee hee...hadn't thought of that! Yes I am more of an expert these days - although I'm not sure if anyone would have known what I was talking about if I had mentioned Peppa Pig or Dora! But funnily enough I did talk about Wimbledon...and the weather...!

    MM - I know - it's shameful isn't it?? Even with a bunch of people who have no interest in poo (how is that possible?) I have to bring it up. Shameful and shameless!

    Sparx - No no, there really is nothing but poo to talk about at the fact, while you're here, let me just tell you about the hideous incident which happened today - it included a whole load of jigsaw pieces and a bottom with no pants on...hideous, just hideous....and yes, there's always an instant bond when you find out someone has the same aged children as you. I can almost breathe a huge sigh of relief!

    zoo - Oh yes - I always do the same thing - well if you haven't got children, can we at least still bring the subject round to children...when are you having them??? Awful but true!

  35. Just walk in there and knock them bandy!

    You can do it, don't you dare be intimidated.

    We'll be rooting for you,


  36. ibhh - Oh if only I'd known...! Right, next time you can come. Definitely!! There's nothing like a female accomplice to take the pressure off!

    Moaning Mum - Oh no! You poor thing. Oh I've been there too...that's definitely my normal behaviour. Always drink way too quickly and then end up in a hideous mess. The things we do. Thanks for the empathy x

    Ribbon - You're right - there was a good reason I said yes - I worried about it all day and what a waste of time that was - I had a great time...everyone was gorgeous and welcoming and I think they were all just as nervous as me...but getting nervous is's all part of the fun!

    Clarey - It's awful isn't it? What are parents like? I swore I'd never be a baby bore, but it's hard to resist when they're just such cuties! It's ok though, I kind of managed a happy medium between baby talk and other talk...oh and I did quite a bit of listening too!

    CJ - Now where do I start?? (Thanks for asking)! It was much better than I heart was going ten to the dozen when I got there, but everyone was so friendly that I soon calmed down. It was great - I managed to get the poo story in (!) which made a couple of people choke on their beer, and then I just caught up with other people's stories. I wish I could have stayed longer actually! Typical...

    GG - You gorgeous thing. I was surprised at how nervous I was...but I was cool (at least that's what I thought)...! It was great...we're already planning it again for next year! Thanks for the encouragement xx

  37. *so* know what you mean - my little man is only 10 weeks old & I'm already super duper aware of trying to NOT talk babies too much to those without - and it's HARD!

    I spend all day with the little guy - what else am I going to talk about?!

    Hope it went well :) x

  38. miss leslieanne - Exactly - As much as you think you might want to talk about something else, it's pretty damn hard...they're so all-consuming!! But thanks, yeah it was great in the end. I think I worried myself a little too much!

  39. I hear you loud and clear! If I ever go out (and believe me I avoid it at all costs these days!) I seem to spend, ohhhh, all of my half hour "getting ready" allocated time, rifling through my wardrobe for suitable clothes that I either don't own anymore, or never owned in the first place. I regret the stuff I got rid of, even though I wouldn't stand an earthly of fitting into that size 8 outfit anymore. I do always bang on about the kids because that's what I do. Then again, most of my circle has them so it's common ground. You'll be fine; if you're holding court then they HAVE to listen (or that what my mind lets me in such situtaions). Avoid the Filipino rum and, come to think of it, give Lituanain vodka a wide berth too!!!!!

  40. Katherine - Oh don't even get me started on clothes these days!! I so don't have the right things to be wearing for a big TV get-together! Normally I end up wearing something covered in sick or snot (but I only realise half-way through the get-together)! Funnily enough, it turned out well in the end - no Filippino rum unfortunately...but lots of catching up! Do tell me about the Lithuanaian Vodka - I sense a rather funny story there!