Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Mummy Club

Aw, babies. They are everywhere in Stavanger.  And who doesn’t love ‘em? Can’t say their scrunched up reddened faces are particularly endearing to me in the first few weeks of life on this planet, but once they hit the pudgy milk-fed phase I generally warm up to them. And toddlers? Well, they have their fussy moments, but how can anyone resist their straight -legged, wobbly, slightly drunken looking swagger? Not to mention those pudgy cheeks. As they get older, it’s wonderful to see them develop their likes, dislikes and dreams for their future, watching a sense of humour and outlook on life emerge from a tiny being you created. I am sure most people’s children don’t turn out exactly as their parents expected, but as long as it doesn’t involve jail time, full facial tattooing or an unnatural obsession with Justin Bieber, isn’t that half the fun?

I wouldn’t really know, you see. For all the goals I ever made for myself, having children just never made the cut. In some circles, there are individuals out there who simply cannot believe that having a baby would not be on my to-do list. The fact is, my life has not really been conducive to having offspring, and it obviously hasn’t bothered me enough to do anything about it. So, being at the age where most women I know have young children and toddlers at home, what’s a girl to do when she is living in a place like Stavanger, where the most obvious way of meeting people her own age means going to soft play with a 3 year old or discussing report cards with the other mums?  How do you get into that club without actually getting in that club?

 In Stavanger, as in just about all the other places I have lived, the mums seem to travel in packs. In the parks I see these mums striding confidently along the paths, three abreast with their prams, chatting amiably to each other while their children get their daily dose of fresh air. I can’t help but be slightly jealous of the camaraderie. I smile and nod to them as I pass by, only to be met by slightly bewildered gazes. Nope. Not going to make any friends that way. Might get slapped with a restraining order, though. I hope they know I am not insane, just foreign, a bit weird and overly keen to meet new people.

Next stop, the gym. On your average day I see at least 3-4 women drop their kids off at the childcare facility in the gym while they work out. Surely if I show them I am child-friendly, that will be an opener? From my treadmill perch I watch a few wee ones toddle along, racing to the change rooms in a mad dash to be rid of their Michelin man snow suits. Mother in pursuit, I smile and wave at a little boy while I keep a death grip on one handle of my running machine. No sense in traumatizing the kid by having him watch me get tossed off the back of this torture machine. Unfortunately, the mother is too engaged in catching up to him to pay much notice to me. Why she needs a gym with this kinda exercise at her fingertips I will never know.  Strike two in the “make friends with mummies” world series.

Down but not out, I have decided that maybe I am just destined to hang out with the child-free group. It’s not so bad. After all, they are the ones who can drink wine in the middle of the day on a Saturday, spontaneously meet me at the kino (cinema) on a Wednesday night, and I never have to hear about the woes of barnehage (daycare) closures . Membership in that group certainly has its perks.

And so it has happened that I have found my niche. Although most of my current pack are a good ten years younger than me, I reckon the mummies my age just need a little more time. From an outsider’s perspective, it is easy to see that Stavanger is a great place to raise a family, but not ideal for those of us with 'alternative' lifestyle choices.

Still, no matter what support Norway offers through its schools and barnehager or where you come from, we can probably all agree that parents need to be there for their kids. Until they hit their teen years, that is. Then you mums will be begging me to come over in the middle of the day on a Saturday with a big bottle of wine.

Don’t worry, I can wait.


  1. Hi Alana. I always enjoy your post. I identify with what you write since I do not have a baby or have any plans to have one. Most women I have told this, cannot believe that a woman in her 30s is not even thinking about having babies. Even if you made friends with these mommies, they would bore you with the talk about babies and show you pictures of their baby eating, walking or doing the basic activities and expect you to be as excited as they are about it.
    I can drink wine in the middle of Saturday and go to the cinema in the middle of the week, so give me a shout out if you want to hang out :)

    Thanks for the entertaining posts

    1. Thanks so much, Tuti-it would be great to meet up. Drop me a line at and let's see if we can arrange something. :-)

  2. Alana & Tutu - I'm in!! Baby-free and wine-friendly:) Where is the clubhouse?!

  3. Hi Moneek-I am sure we can come up with a decent spot for this clubhouse...perhaps some reconaissance is in order? ;-) By all means get in touch with me at and let's see what we can put together for a meet-up.

  4. Did you ever arrange a meet-up? I'm trawling your old posts! Mid-30's and childless - that's me and I agree, in Stavanger, it's very difficult to meet new people without a small person to break the ice.