There’s no good way of packaging ‘do you mind if I bring my toddler to your hen do?’ My friends are great; they won’t bat an eyelid as I’m grappling with an E-colour-fuelled toddler in the polished environs of Selfridges, they’ll grab the urchin if I’m having a can’t-find-the-wet wipes meltdown and they invite our familial unit to everything without making us feel like Team Fun Sponge.
But a hen do? That’s the friendship line right there. With the husband at a stag do (we picked it out of a hat/potty), grandparents away and the fear looming of some random manning our life project for 12 hours, it was one massive maternal-friendship quandary.
The minute we embarked on project procreation, I remember lofty promises of ‘she’ll fit into our lives’, ‘she’ll eat our food’, ‘we’ll be like those families with a V8 camper van and cool floral headbands with cool floral family values’. Well, anyone who has attempted to feed a toddler something that’s not yoghurt, spaghetti or Cornetto, will know we were doomed from day one.
After numerous emails to other friends (‘when she said it was OK to bring her, did she really mean it?’; ‘a toddler at a hen do – that’s bad right?’; ‘that’s actually really bad, right?’) and much logistical blathering, I realised that it wasn’t a case of either or.
Sure, a slut-themed Saturday, mainlining vodka ‘n’ stuff wasn’t the perfect backdrop for a toddler with a penchant for licking things. Equally, a low rent stripper wasn’t, perhaps the first vision of the male form I’d like her to clap eyes on. So we took a massive hit on the fun stuff and scooted over for the Sunday hangover brunch.
And it was great – we met the hen’s sister, Team Bridesmaid and everyone was fragile and broken but with reams of debauched photographic evidence at the ready.
Sure, it would have been great to be there for the whole shebang but being a friend is actually about making the effort – even if it’s not all-out No Diggity moves and strawberry-infused lube.
And being a mother is about not letting your kid Hoover up hen do debris.