When I discovered that I was expecting Yer Man, I set about trying to forge friendships with others in the same boat. None of the Bitchherd were looking like they would be procreating any time soon, so I was on my own. I blame Yer Man, who neatly side-stepped two forms of contraception to come into being, and damned me to boldly go where none of the other bitches had gone before.
bviously, if offered a chance to go back in time I wouldn't take it, mostly because if the child managed to thwart me once, I'm sure he would be capable of doing it the second time round. Also I'm glad to have the whole gestating thing over with. I've hung up my fallopian tubes and, quite frankly, am ready for early menopause to hit any time it likes.
Of course a few people may be reading this and thinking, "Ha, she'll go again, they always do". But really, no, I've achieved biological perfection with the little ginger-tinged spud-man. And I genuinely don't think I would survive another newborn. One mum I know has a theory that, until you are outnumbered by your children, you are not really taken seriously as a parent by other parents.
She is considering the second go. I keep imploring her to look at me, really look at me, and reconsider - this is a woman who hasn't slept a full night in a year and has resorted to googling 'can you give valerian to a baby'.
The need for mum-friends intensified after Yer Man was born. Though the Bitchherd absolutely doted on him, quite selfishly they didn't want to spend our every encounter debating the minutiae of baby sleep patterns, or the pros and cons of cloth nappies. I suppose I could understand; this was my reality and I barely wanted to talk about it.
I started my creepy bid for mum-friends in the local area, using Yer Man as a prop for opening a casual dialogue with unsuspecting young mums. Mostly, they didn't bite. The ones I really wanted to be friends with could smell my desperation, and the ones that did want to be friends with me were way too eager and desperate themselves. No thanks.
I decided I needed a more focused approach, and that the most efficient solution to cultivating friendships with 'quality' mums would be to expand existing acquaintanceships with the peripheral mums that I already knew, however vaguely. I now have quite a nice little coterie of mum-friends who, despite my creepy Single White Female ways, have taken me into the fold.
The Mumherd understand me. No one batted an eye when I recently described uncovering a full nappy - we're talking solids here - in my washing machine. How many cycles had it been through? Who knows? But I know that there is no judgment here. From the outside, the world of parenthood has a rosy hue, but these women are on the front lines. The Mumherd understand what frustration and sleep deprivation can do to a person. We are bad people together. We have screamed at helpless little children. But again, there is no judgment here.
Even on a really practical level, the Mumherd understand the importance of scheduling. The Bitchherd were baffled when I described meeting the mum-bitches for dinner at 6pm. But the Mumherd know that there is a window for fun, and that window is from 6pm to 11pm, during which time we need to have consumed at least a bottle of wine each, gotten merrily pissed, slid into early onset hangover and be back home in a decent state to field the 1am wake-up call.
I have now begun to host brunch parties instead of dinner parties, as this is the best way for parents to socialise without disturbing the precious bedtime routines or getting nailed by the babysitting - such a racket. A frittata is a nice hands-off dish to serve, so you can focus on the brunch cocktails.
Thyme and Chorizo Frittata
You will need:
150g (5oz) chorizo, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons milk
6 spring onions, peeled and sliced
Handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked off
1 teaspoon olive oil, for frying
160g (5½oz) brie, sliced
Dressed leaves, to serve
Preheat the grill. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and dry-fry the sliced chorizo for three to five minutes, then remove it and drain the slices on kitchen paper. To make the egg batter, beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl and add the sliced spring onion and the thyme leaves.
Wipe out the pan, pour in a teaspoon of olive oil and return the pan to the heat. Add the fried chorizo back into the pan and then pour in the egg batter. Arrange the slices of brie over the top and allow the frittata to cook for approximately 5 minutes on a medium-high heat to allow the base to firm up. Put the pan under the grill for a further 5-10 minutes until the frittata has set, then serve it in slices with some dressed leaves.