“Join the club!” ― other mothers will say, the minute you learn that you’ve got a bun in the proverbial oven.
Indeed, when you become pregnant and have a baby, you’ll get automatic membership to this exclusive mum club, where you’ll discuss everything from the size of your bump to breastfeeding blunders. It’s also how you’ll learn about the best baby gear deals, as well as where you’ll seek support on dreary days when your baby just refuses to sleep.
Many mums join social media support groups ― either on sites like Facebook, or through chat groups on WhatsApp, a cross-platform instant messaging app. Here, you might arrange to meet up during your maternity leave, have playdates as your babies grow, and even organise joint birthday celebrations for your babies.
And like all social groups that comprise, ahem, women, things can get competitive, and sometimes, even quite complicated.
Says Nicole Song, mum of 3-year-old twins, “You feel the support and solidarity because we’re all going through the same things at the same time, but there are times when other mums can get downright nasty.” Song says she was in a large network of mums on Facebook, and being “just a face behind a keyboard” meant that they could pretty much say whatever they wanted. “One mum was really judgmental about some others who would take caffeine and sashimi, and she offended a lot of them,” Song recalls.
Song eventually joined another smaller mummy’s group in which not everything was just about babies and breastfeeding. “I liked that my new mummy pals talk about other stuff, like our likes and dislikes, our jobs, places to eat and so on. It was a lot more comfortable.”
So, new mum, watch out! Here are 10 types of mums you’ll find lurking around the cyber corner…
1. The flashcard-wielding mum
You get nervous when you learn that her idea of keeping her 6-month-old baby busy at home includes flashcards (in both English and Chinese, mind you) and playing voice recordings of the three times table. This competitive mum will constantly ask the other mums what enrichment classes they intend to enrol their toddlers in, compare the age at which her baby meets her milestones with yours, and quiz you as to why you’re not feeding your baby quinoa. If she stresses you out, ask yourself if you are secure in your parenting decisions. When you feel good about the decisions you’ve made, you’ll feel less of a need to justify your actions to others.
2. The humble brag
“Is it weird that my 3-month-old baby just called me “Mama”? Does yours do the same?” she might ask. Yes, hiding beneath that veil of apparent “concern” is an undying need to let you know that she’s raising a little genius. It’s easy to get annoyed with this one, but keep your cool ― you’re above that. Just let her know how not worried you are and change the subject quickly.
Hiding beneath that veil of apparent “concern” is an undying need to let you know that she’s raising a little genius.
3. The blur sotong
She could be a first-time mum, or you could label her as having mummy brain, but after the umpteenth time this mum has claimed that she is desperately engorged because she forgot to bring her breast pump to work, you start to wonder if she enjoys living life on the edge, or if she’s just desperate for attention.
4. The know-it-all
You know that if you ask a question about your baby’s health, she’ll be the first to respond, even in the wee hours. She’ll know everything there is to know about breastfeeding, feeding your baby (only the very best organic food, please), and what to do when your baby gets a diaper rash. She may start to pass judgment ― lecturing you for giving your tot too much screen time. Though you may get annoyed, try not to vent. Instead, use her as an information resource.
5. The over sharer
Do you really want to know that she had sex just six weeks after giving birth, or how infected her C-section wound was (uh, thanks for the pictures!)? This mum likes to talk. Period. Perhaps it’s because she’s stuck at home alone with the kid and is craving adult conversation, but resist the urge to do likewise. If you’re uncomfortable with what she’s sharing, just laugh it off, say, “Okay, TMI right there!” and redirect the conversation.
Encountered the mum who posts 20 Instagram photos a day? Up…next!
6. The worrier
“Did all your kids get the flu vaccine? I hear the bug is really strong this year!” she laments. She’s the mum who avoids the playground because she thinks that it’s rife with disease, and checks on her baby every hour to make sure that he’s still breathing. While every parent can get paranoid every now and then, her attitude can come off as quite negative. If you find her anxiety contagious, it’s fine to keep your distance, take a chill pill and breathe.
7. The “buy everything” mum
Sure, new mums love baby fairs, going in droves to scoop up the best baby-gear deals, but this mum takes retail therapy to new heights. Every other day, she’ll post pictures of her new buys. “You all NEED to get this ― it’s a miracle device that can put my baby to sleep, just like that,” she shares excitedly, after plonking $200 down on a white noise machine. It’s easy to get caught up in a buying frenzy when you’ve got a brand-new human being to shop for, but it’s wiser to keep your sights on the essentials, and put the rest in his education fund.
It’s easy to get caught up in a buying frenzy when you’ve got a brand-new human being to shop for, but it’s wiser to keep your sights on the essentials.
8. The exhausted mum
You whine about your dark circles but looking at this mum will make you feel better. Maybe her baby has colic, or maybe he’s just Velcro-ed to her chest. But after 3 weeks of constant rocking and shushing bubba for hours on end, she sure looks spent. Give her a hug and let her know she’s not alone. Invite her out for a coffee and give her a break by holding her baby while she sips on that much-needed cuppa joe. Yes, that’s what mummy pals are for.
9. The Insta-mum
She’s just posted a pristine picture of her baby (wearing the most beautiful romper) playing with organic wooden toys on the floor, while she’s doing sun salutations in a crop top. Half an hour later, a new post goes up ― she’s enjoying a homemade red velvet cupcake she had whipped up earlier in the day. “Oh yes, I deserve this,” the caption reads. You sigh and put your phone away, as you grit your teeth and try washing that poop stain off your pajama top.
10. The complaint queen
Her baby woke up at 3am this morning, refused to go back to sleep, while the husband blissfully snoozed till 7am. She picked a fight with him, rushed off to work (she was already late) and was tasked to pick up her colleague’s slack. She’s angry that her domestic helper stained her white blouse, she’s constantly whining about her low milk supply and that her back hurts from carrying her baby too much. Yep, being a mum is tough work, and you know you’ll hear all the details from her. Try to lend an ear, but she’ll need to understand that you’re a mum, too, and can’t be on the horn all the time.
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