Today I did something I’ve never, ever done before. I went along to a mommy blogger group for a coffee and a chat. I’d seen the Mom’s Morning invitation on Twitter and decided to take the plunge, telling myself that this would be good research for once I’m back at the office and working on influencer strategies for clients.
I felt really intimidated at the prospect. Driving to the venue in Fourways, I worked myself into such a state of anxiety that I told myself I would sit alone and have a cup of coffee before fleeing back home.
Moms in numbers, you see, are not my comfort zone. Not at all. Before I fell pregnant, I was quite literally afraid of mothers in groups of more than two. I was convinced they would detect alien, non-breeder me in their midst and reduce me to a blubbering wreck with talk of poo and linked sleep cycles.
But now that I am the mother of a baby, I’ve had to accept that yes, I am quite possibly a Mom. Not a typical mom by any means – for one thing, I’m so much older than most other first time mothers – but a mom nonetheless, who deals, as it happens, with poo and sleep cycles.
I was half an hour late and every one else had already made inroads into their cappuccinos by the time I arrived. I quailed at the sight of a table of strangers but Laura, the force behind SA Mom Blogs, immediately made me feel welcome. We shared Twitter and Instagram handles, followed one another, and soon I got to know @moonstormer @melbli @mascara_mimosas @laurakim123 @yellowlabstudios @modernzulumom @Little_Interior and @nadia_ass.
What do mommy bloggers talk about when they get together? Not, as it turns out, how adorable their children are, not about what products they use and definitely not about which brands give them free stuff.
They talk about sex, blogging about sex, birth control after birth, and horror stories about siblings born 10 months apart.
They talk about how much of their reality they share online, and what kind of photographs of their children they feel comfortable with uploading.
They talk a lot about schools, especially how expensive schools are and how difficult it is to get your child in if you don’t put their names down as soon as they’re born.
In-laws also feature, especially the kind who interfere and try to tell you how to be a parent.
They also talk about rape culture, about the Brock Turner case and how to train your children – boys and girls – about boundaries from an early age. As one mom pointed out, the problem is often politeness: we tell our children to accept hugs and kisses from strangers because it’s the polite thing to do.
I felt mildly terrified, especially during the schools conversation, but not for the reasons I thought would be (I need to put Raphaela’s name down for a school sooner rather than later, it seems). Moms in numbers, it turns out, are quite capable of talking about the more serious issues we grapple with. The only major difference between them and any other group is that it’s perfectly acceptable to haul out a boob and start feeding your child – something I was grateful for, because Ra-Ra started wailing almost from the moment we arrived. All in all, it was a very pleasant morning listening to the ebb and flow of conversation and discovering that I fitted in far better than I had imagined I would.
Before we left, Laura generously distributed gifts. I was the lucky recipient of a muslin receiver from Baby Sense, a brand I know well and rate highly, and a chewy teething blanket from one I had never heard of before today: Toofi Tots.
Like any good influencer, I’ve posted a picture on Instagram and I’ll report back on the products once I’ve used them.
Now that I’ve met other mommy bloggers and discovered that they’re not quite as terrifying as I thought they were, I may even become one of them. Time, I think, to write all those overdue posts.