One of the hardest things about becoming a stay-at-home mum is the feeling that you’ve turned invisible. Once the gifts and the cards following the birth of your baby subside, the indifference to your daily grind can be depressing.
No-one, it seems, is interested in listening to the minutiae of a life run by shitty nappies and breastfeeding. From the moment my baby wakes me my day is a litany of bodily requirements: pee, drink, change nappy, feed, burp, feed, drink, soothe, pump breasts, change nappy, feed, burp, feed, soothe, eat, drink, soothe, panic when I realise that I haven’t showered yet and it’s already noon.
As for healthy living? Forget it. I scoff spoonfuls of peanut butter for breakfast straight from the jar. Eat family-sized blocks of chocolate to help stay awake. And if I’m lucky enough to do a yoga stretch it’s to the soothing strains of the Wiggles.
My biggest daily excitement is whether or not she’ll poo. And every night I’m on for a shift of after-midnight breastfeeding hell.
The only time I feel like an actual person—and not just a baby-burping milk bar on legs—is during our daily walks. There’s nothing like a friendly wave to remind you you’re still alive. And it’s rare that a local doesn’t accost us on the footpath, peek into the pram, and get a giggle from my daughter. A simple pleasure, perhaps, but the walk a day helps keep the Zoloft at bay.
Just because I’m open to the smiles and cheery words of, well, pretty much anyone out there, however, doesn’t mean I’m trawling the streets waiting to be noticed. Particularly by the sorts of crowds gathered at the watering holes that swell my seaside home, which, incidentally, is Airlie Beach, ‘a drinking town with a sailing problem’, according to one savvy T-shirt. One of the watering holes in particular is literally a party bar with main street frontage tables. A perfect place, complete with rails to rest your elbows on, to drown some Coronas and watch the view go by. And by view I mean eye candy. And by eye candy I mean sun-kissed twenty-something pony-tailed young women strolling the boardwalk in bikini tops and miniskirts. Not stay-at-home mums like me.
So the other day, in the middle of the afternoon, when the bar was packed with young men, the last thing I expected was to register on anyone’s radar. But as I pushed the pram past the buzzing establishment a man with broad shoulders and a black crew cut leans over the rail like a debauched, drunk cock-fighting spectator, shouts out ‘We can make it another one for ya’’, and raises the foaming head on a glass of frothy beer enthusiastically in my direction.