Motherhood & Friends
Am I the only one who struggles to make friends? Acquaintances I can do but friends that I can call upon in times of need ( like the time I got my husband’s car stuck when trying to park ) now those friends I can probably count on one hand. But, what makes friendship even harder is when you become a mother. Time is difficult to come by and as I work full time to venture off into the horizon and leave the little one at home on a regular basis to see friends would fill me with more guilt than I could handle.
What I have found however, the speck of light at the end of my Mum tunnel is – my mum friends.
Meeting a mum friend is like dating. I am referring to dating back in my pre tinder time. You would meet out and about but the nightclub is changed to Rhyme Time or Playground. Instead of the chat up ‘did you fall from heaven’ you are greeted with ‘you have sick on your shoulder.’
I remember entering my first mum group. I was living in Surrey at the time and Nancy was around 8 weeks old. I signed up for a ‘sensory play class.’ I mean at that age Nancy could be stimulated by the colour of my top but I paid half of my statutory maternity pay in the hope of making friends in a new town and if that failed to create the next Ada Lovelace ( yes I was that mum who played Mozart to her but now she only listens to the Talking Heads so I failed). I walked in and scanned desperately for someone who smiled at me. Like when you walk in the nightclub on your own with beer goggles and you search for a friendly face. I found three smiling faces and from those free smiling faces my network grew to half a dozen of us mums who met regularly during the week & we would attend a baby class followed by a coffee. Those women got me through my first year. But, I have to tell you a secret - Mum friendships can be forced. Like that guy your friends said you should date because he was kind or because he had a really cool car, you can’t force it. You have to go with your gut.
I have made so many wonderful friends since having Nancy. There are so many occasions I look forward to because of Nancy. For example, one of the best parts of my week is when I chat to the ‘ballet mums’ for an hour while our girls dance. Or reminiscing with the nursery mums about how our children are now heading to primary schools across Cardiff after three wonderful years at nursery together. Or the friends that you work with who share your passion for a quiet coffee in the morning or understand why you need to pee on the hour every hour - because that baby lent on that vital organ for a very long time and now it is like bloody sieve ( I don’t blame the copious amount of peppermint tea I drink ).
The best part of these relationships is like any form of relationship they develop organically. You can’t walk into playgroup with a sign ‘be my friend.’ I mean I have wanted to but I thought better of it. They develop over mutual parenting philosophies, equal anxiety over finding out which primary school your child is going to but also common interest beyond parenthood. There is only so much you can talk about motherhood and its ‘joys,’ sometimes you need to talk about work, music, or the latest BBC drama series.
So this is just a huge thank you to all my ‘mum friends’ out there. Thank you for being there for me when my daughter was up every hour on the hour. Thank you for not judging me for co-sleeping or telling me that Nancy and I had a really strong bond and to not cry over the fact that I couldn’t breastfeed. Thank you for entertaining my child for 10 minutes so I could have a wee in peace. Thank you for allowing my child to eat all your child’s strawberries. Thank you for peeping through the window of the nursery door for 5 minutes to tell me when Nancy had stopped crying. Thank you for not judging me for opening a bar of chocolate at my desk at 09:00 because it had been a very long night. Thank you for reminding me that eating pizza once a week won’t give my child a nutrition deficiency.