I went to Jackson's Lane community centre to work this morning. There's a lovely whole food cafe there, which can be a wonderfully relaxing place to work.
Imagine my horror, therefore, when a group of women with pushchairs appeared en masse and started pushing tables into long lines whilst their children ran about screaming. Literally screaming from the bottoms of their lungs. I'm not very good at counting kids (they move too fast) but there were at least ten of them, plus as many mothers. Their pre-ballet class tea party turned the cafe into an obstacle course of prams and high chairs, with plastic toys and little pink highly-flammable tutus strewn carelessly across the floor. At one stage they all started playing hide and seek. The levels of excitement reached fever pitch and I found myself looking around in case Harry Styles had just walked into the building.
Sometimes I'm astonished what Mums talk about with one another. I always get the impression that they're in a massive competition with one another to see who can give the best outward appearance of coping. They talked about allergies, the dangers of sugar, nannies and losing weight... But then, I guess it doesn't matter what they talk about: none of them are listening to each other, they're merely watching their children in peripheral vision whilst nodding appropriately.
I was touched to see a lone Dad in the crowd. He arrived after everyone else, sat down at a table with me, and took ages carefully putting his daughter's hair in a little pony tail for her ballet class. None of the women spoke to him, and he sat, drinking tea whilst trying to look friendly. After the class the ballet teacher came out and pointed out (rather humourlessly) that he'd managed to put his daughter's ballet shoes on inside out and that her tights were all wrong. He was so apologetic that I actually started to feel quite tearful: "her Mum's back next week" he said... "It will all be back to normal then..."