Love them or loathe them, coffee groups are a thriving part of the parenting community in New Zealand.
Formed from antenatal classes or through organisations like Plunket or Parents Centre, they sprout up in our neighbourhoods with each new wave of births - and many keep going for years.
Some new parents choose to turn their back on them, but most find that in a world where they're no longer so sure of what they're doing, in their coffee group they find solace and new buddies who are walking the same walk.
As in any social group, there are key 'characters' that emerge - here are the 13 mums you're likely to encounter in your coffee group:
1. The ‘I’m Not Judging’ Judgey Mum
She believes the reason your child is ill is because you stopped breastfeeding too soon and gives a little shudder when you mention the D word (dummy). But she’s not being judgmental, she’s just trying to help. Really.
2. The Organiser Mum
This one would have been a project manager in her pre-maternity leave days, as she simply can’t help taking charge at all times. She’s the one who sets up the Facebook and WhatsApp groups and takes the lead on organising 'fun' activities such as the mums’ night out. Don't worry about posting your own idea - organiser mum will tear you a new one.
3. The ‘I Don’t Want To Be Here’ Mum
This mum pines after the days when she would have a leisurely, sophisticated (read: boozy) lunch with friends, with no milk or baby food or other mums in sight. She quite likes her own child but being in a room with 20 other babies and mums talking about teething and toilet habits is enough to drive her batty.
4. The Frazzled Mum
This mum usually turns up out of breath because she couldn't remember which house was yours and then couldn't find a park. She is always 'borrowing' your last spare nappy and never has any wipes - but at least she got herself out of the house. Just be extra-kind to this mum.
5. The Life-Loving Mum
“Being a mum is the best thing ever, isn’t it the best thing ever? I just LOVE being a mum!” The loving life mum oozes enthusiasm for life and motherhood. You will love her or hate her.
6. The Facebook Mum
She posts no-holds-barred photos of her baby ALL THE TIME that dominate your feed. She must document every moment of her darling cherub’s life. Exciting milestones include Harry’s first trip to Countdown, meeting the postman and debuting a new hat.
7. The Instagram Mum
A slightly more advanced version of the Facebook mum, her photos of little Oscar/ Sophie are a bit more arty, and involve snaps of a nice breakfast they’re sharing or a morning sunrise while out on a lovely walk. Each pic is carefully cropped and filtered to avoid showing the dirty dishes in the sink or the dog pooping in the background.
8. The Panicked Mum
You know her - she reads horror stories online about all the ways that babies can be injured and then posts constantly on to shared WhatsApp and Facebook pages: Sophie the Giraffe is full of mould! Is my car seat in correctly?! Can my nine-month-old choke on mashed banana?
9. The Over-Achieving Mum
She's the one who makes you look bad. “For Archie’s first Christmas, I organised fake snow in the garden along with real reindeer and a fat man handing out mince pies to make it as special as possible!” Archie is three months old and doesn’t know his own name.
10. The ‘I Can Sing Louder Than Everyone Else’ Mum
Singing in public is very few people’s idea of fun but there’s always one mum who just loves to show off that she’s learned all the words to ‘Rock-A-Bye Your Bear’ - and you haven’t.
11. The Posh Mum
Isabelle is only given the finest organic pureed fruit and veg and wears the very best outfits from Jamie Kay or So Beau Baby. Isabelle’s mum has never even heard of T&T.
12. The Chilled-Out Mum
Chilled-out mum’s baby eats whatever she’s cooking instead of specially prepared meals and quite happily plays with ordinary things like mummy’s hairbrush or an old remote control. Mummy doesn’t quite know how much baby weighs or their exact age in weeks, but she loves them lots and they have fun together.
13. The Super Dad
And finally, there’s the one who’s not a mum. Super Dad rocks up about once a month with the baby under his arm, hand-in-hand with a toddler. He doesn’t bother singing any songs, but manages to keep his brood in check and makes parenting look annoyingly easy.