Saturday, 17 September 2011

How is it possible to be this tired and still be awake!

I felt really sorry for Mel B this week pictured looking exhausted in the Daily Mail.

Not sorry because she was pictured looking less than perfect, but because I empathised 100% with that sleep deprived feeling.

There really is nothing like it. So how do we survive it?

My survival tool was Victoria sponge cake, or any other sponge cake in the absence of the Victoria variety. It just had to be sponge. And that was fine when I was at home - I made sure the cupboard was full of sponge cake (no, I'm not the baking kind of gal) and friends were on strict instructions to come armed when they visited.

So that's life at home with a new-born sorted. But what about when I was out and about?

Picture this. One stressed-out, sleep deprived mum. (Zombie-liked movements, accompanied with Donald Pleasance-esk stark-staring eyes are the give-away) robotically walking along nose twitching in search of sugary substances! It's getting urgent, the baby's getting restless and it's almost feedtime. I. Need. Coffee. And. I. Need. Cake. And. I. Need. It. Now.

There it is. A coffee shop. But it's 1pm and it's heaving. There's a queue so long it's just never going to move and I can't get my buggy through the door because there's a couple of students chatting idly on the other side totally unaware that the boggly-eyed, purpled-faced monster on the other side of the door is in fact a human being who needs a hand with the door and her baby is really starting to cry now and I'm going to cry too if someone doesn't help me. Arghh!!

Inside, I join the queue, stress levels peaking now and I'm cursing the person at the front who has had all the time in the world to peruse the coffee menu, but no, they just wait until they get to the front and then ponder over the variety of choices.

Eventually it's my turn. Coffee and cake will soon be mine. But only then do I consider the challenge in front of me. How am I going to get my tray loaded with coffee and cake from the counter to the table while negotiating the tables with my enormous pushchair. (Note to mums to be: big pushchairs may look lovely but they are impossible to get through tight spaces, you constantly take out people's shins and you need to be the world's strongest man to get them in and out of the boot of your car.)

Back to the point in hand, how do I...and then it happens. The young lad behind the counter turns into an angel before my eyes as he offers to carry my tray to my table. Well that was it. That simple gesture and I have been their most loyal customer ever since.

In terms of baby-friendliness there's smelly nappy bins, combined feeding and changing rooms and antiquated attitudes towards public breastfeeding to overcome, but this simple gesture made it a simple yay or a nay as to whether I'd go back again with a baby in tow. The good news is that they're one of the bigger coffee chains and although my own little lady is big enough to make her own way to our table now while I carry the tray I was relieved to see the same thing happening in another one of their branches.

So which coffee shop gets your vote for baby-friendliness? Cast your vote in our poll

I'll tell you who got my vote in due course...

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