At the gym, that is. I can't sit in that cafe without feeling a little intimidated. The children are clean and quiet and sleep in buggies with dummies. The mummies are imaculate, have nice nails and expensive hair cuts, and have somehow found time when changing their lovely curly-haired tots to also re-apply their own makeup.
I am wearing jeans and a t-shirt, usually with some mark of a busy morning (flour, paint, playdoh). My hair hasn't been cut by anyone other than me for YEARS, and if we're going swimming I may be already wearing my swimsuit under my clothes and hence look more lumpy and bumpy than usual. My children are loud. They lean over and chat to the family next to us, and can't possibly use a quiet voice to tell me if they "need a POO". They spread their snack all around. Banana, yum.
But once we get in the pool I stop feeling self-concious as the children are occupying me fully. And they get so many compliments! They are little water babies, they are so thoughtful, they look out for the smaller ones, they play well with groups, they are polite, they are little mermaids. By the time we get to the cafe again I realise that I don't have the monopoly on noise. I've witnessed three tantrums in the changing rooms, and one newborn besides himself while a sibling is being dressed. I see one parent and tot wearing totally different tops to the ones they came in wearing (so THAT'S how they look so clean!).
I mentally adjust. I'm glad to be me, and I'm glad that my rowdy messy kids are MY rowdy messy kids. The Yummy Mummies don't get any bonus points for looking well-dressed and having nice hair cuts. Any more than I get bonus points for having had the playdoh out this morning before we came for our swim. Makeup, no makeup, who cares? I'm me. And I'm doing OK.