When I take my baby to visit friends and relatives I frequently find myself wondering if I’ve developed the power of invisibility.
Everyone excitedly chatters around the baby, makes observations on what she’s doing and coos when she blows a raspberry.
I often leave these get togethers and realise I’ve barely said more than two words. The truth is, when you come with a baby in tow, no one notices you.
You’re merely the taxi driver who brought the baby to them. The conduit through which they access the precious little bundle of joy.
The same happens whenever I get on the phone with people. Once the “hellos” are out of the way, it’s straight down to business with: “How are the children?”
Centre of attention
Why do mums become invisible once they have children? It’s not that people stop caring about them, rather it’s just they’re so goggly-eyed over the adorable sprog they forget there’s another person in the room too.
It’s a rather dramatic turnaround having been pretty much the centre of attention during the nine months of my first pregnancy.
Everyone’s asking how you are, what you’ve been doing to prepare for the baby, if work is going ok and if you’ve thought of any names while constantly fetching you drinks and snacks. You’re also given the comfiest chair in the room.
By comparison, during my second pregnancy I would sit quietly on a stool in the corner as the comfiest chair in the room was taken by an adoring relative because it’s the closest to where my toddler was playing.
Kids take the spotlight, of course they do! They’re interesting, say funny things and look cute.
With two kids now however it’s even worse. Plus my toddler can talk, so if people want to know what we’ve been doing as a family, they ask her.
There’s no need for me to even explain the trouble we’ve had with the gas man, the little monkey has been listening to the lot and can summarise the whole affair pretty well.
My only involvement in the visit is the occasional intervention when playtime gets too boisterous or to present the baby with a bottle.
I’m not really complaining, much, as my kids are lovely! I want them to be doted on by other people, it’s really great seeing them play and interact with other members of the family.
This is all part of having kids I think – it’s just been a bit of a shock! I’ve always been the baby of our family so maybe I’m used to being the one whose cheeks are being pinched every five minutes.
Children change the dynamic in so many relationships. It’s a brand new person who’s learning about the world, they’re pretty fascinating to most people. Plus they are very good at drawing attention to themselves even when they’re interrupting the most important of discussions.
To be fair to friends and relatives, I’m sure my hubby would have something to say about feeling invisible since our kids were born!
If it’s happening to you too, I sympathise. I can only assume it will get better as the kids get older?
I hope so as I don’t fancy spending the rest of my life lurking quietly in the corner of the room like a nightclub bouncer.
If you’re meeting up with a new mum soon, remember to ask how she is. Then follow that question up with a few more to show you acknowledge her existence and are actually listening to her.
It can make all the difference to her to be noticed. Having a baby is such an upheaval and mums can really feel like they’ve lost their identity. It would be great if old friends and family could remember we’re still in here somewhere.
As for me, now I just need to decide whether to use my power of invisibility for good, or evil.
Have you felt invisible since having a child? Is it just me who experiences this when visiting other people with the kids in tow?