I used to be a Starbucks chick, but I am now a Cafe Nero Mum. The reason for that was convenience to begin with. My local Starbucks is probably the only one in the whole of the UK so baby UNfriendly. It has very limited space on the ground floor and no lift, no wonder it alienates half of their most loyal customers: us, mummies and buggies! So I had to shift to Cafe Nero and its large comfortable sofas, wide space and chocolate panetones, I soon became addicted to this place.
My love for coffee goes way back to when I was a child. In my family like in most French households, coffee is the way to start the day, end lunch and dinner, share when friends come to visit and have any other time in between. In France when people turn up at your house, you switch on the cafetiere, not the kettle. I love nothing more than being greeted by the smell of fresh coffee in the morning.
I remember having cafe au lait in the morning and in the evening before bed. My dad would have is coffee after dinner and I would have a few drops of that special drink in lots of milk. I must have been about 10 when it started and my love for coffee grew as well as the amount mixed with the milk. I have coffee every evening before bed and YES I still can sleep!
When I became a mum I discovered the world of coffee shops and you know what this is a fascinating world!
Come during the week and this is what you might see:
At one table, the NCT club: fresh mummies, looking gorgeous despite sleep deprivation. They hold a little bundle that sleeps or eat while they chat for hours on end about everything baby related of course! They are a fest of brand new bugaboos and oioi bags. They discuss routine or not routine? how long baby sleeps between feeds? does baby sleep at all? Who is breastfeeding and who isn't?
Then at a table not too far there is a mum with her 2 children, a little girl and a little boy. They are not old enough to go to school, so her days are spent looking after these beautiful children. But she doesn't see how beautiful they are, unless she stops and looks at them for a minute or so. Except that she can't stop and look too often, because when she does the little boy is climbing on top of the table making tiger noises, while the little girl spills her drinks on her dress and her mum's trousers. This mum is not so yummy anymore because she doesn't have the time to dry her hair to perfection, iron her clothes or put on some makeup, and at times she might not even care.
Move to a table not so far and there is a lady in her M&S uniform. It is her coffee break and like most days she comes and spends it at the coffee shop. She can sit down in a comfy chair and read the paper. But the paper is not really what she is interested in. She observes these mums... all of them. Then her eyes meet the eyes of the mum of 2. She gives her an understanding look and engage in the conversation. She speaks about how much she misses that time with her girls as they were growing up, and to make sure she takes time to enjoy it, because it goes too fast.
Then there is me! I am sitting with my 2 boys. Victor is fast asleep and Elliott is enjoying his babyccino. I look at the NCT club and remember how much I used to love these moments shared with my friends, when our babies were tiny creatures and we were all discovering motherhood. Then the creatures grew and became more demanding depriving us, mummies, of that one day a week when we would make an effort to look good, hence the blew-dried hair, the make up and our best outfits on. The rest of the week sleep deprivation and track suit bottoms had the best of us.
Then I look at the mum of 2 and I have that sort of smile when she looks at me. That smile that says "I know what it is like".
And as I overhear what the lady in the M&S uniform says, I think "God she is so right!". Look at my boy just 6 months ago and I wouldn't have dreamt of unstrapping him of his buggy while trying to have a coffee. Now he is behaving like a good little boy or at least not trying to run a round and trip over people with trays anymore!
And last but not least, comes in the man in a suit, who appears through the door... He looks around and thinks "My goodness, so many women and babies!". But thanks to technology progress he thinks "Oh well, at least they have WiFi..."
Coffee shop addict anyone?
This post was written by Peggy who blogs at Perfectly Happy Mum. And she is, perfectly happy that is. She is mum to two energetic boys and is an Antenatal and Postnatal coach.
Photo credit: santos