Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of clubs.
They’re exclusive by nature and have a whiff of snobbishness about them. But The Parent Club I am quite chuffed to be a part of, and here are my reasons why.
1. It’s simple to join
The Parent Club is a bit like a high school clique, without any of the attendant prerequisites for being pretty, athletic or cool.
Okay, so there is one important prerequisite. You need to have a kid. But that part came without having to pluck my eyebrows, excel at coordination or start smoking out the back of E Block.
To be part of The Parent Club all you need is a small child in your arms. That child could be screaming or throwing up on you (in fact, these two factors only gives you higher status) and you are immediately part of the group.
2. It’s a great leveler
Once you are part of the club, you will never run out of things to talk about with new members of the club.
You can impart unwanted advice, talk endlessly about the different consistency of poos in the first year or commiserate over the lack of sleep.
Unlike other clubs (take chess for example) you have a multitude of topics to talk about.
This also means that you can find connection with people you may have been at a loss to find connection with pre-children. Like me with an expert in quantum physics or a stock broker.
3. Speaking is optional
Having said that, the most common form of connection in The Parent Club is through the eyes.
It probably started while you were pregnant, as you walked past a fellow woman waddling to the train; your eyes connect in a kind of understanding. A knowing that only another with a baby’s head grinding against their pelvis can give.
It can happen when you’re stranded in a crowded shopping centre with a tantruming toddler thrashing at your feet, the I-feel-your-pain eye connect is a typical sign you are one of the fold.
4. Together we are stronger
Life can feel pretty dismal when you are home alone with your children who are demanding your attention every five minutes to resolve a conflict, find a missing piece of Lego or to mop up the bathroom that has flooded after their impromptu water play experience. Throw in a friend with their own rowdy crew and suddenly Armageddon has turned into the world’s most fun house party.
You can lock yourself in the kitchen with a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and laugh and chat while your children play together.
Listen to Kinderling Conversation:
5. We’re all working towards the same goal
There’s nothing like a common goal or purpose to join people together.
If you’re a card-carrying member of The Parent Club, you love your children. And there’s nothing like loving a child to make you searingly aware of the heart ache and misery of someone whose child is suffering or in danger.
It’s why many of us stop watching the news after our first child is born, why Sting sang “I hope the Russians love their children too” in his ballad about the Cold War.
Loving a child is a huge responsibility. It’s an intimate, life changing experience. And it’s something that other parents understand.
And ultimately, we all want the same thing, for our children to grow up healthy and strong.
We can help each other achieve that goal. Through supporting each other with empathy, compassion and lending a helping hand when it all gets a bit too much.
Now that’s a club worth belonging to.
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