It’s taken me until motherhood to realise how important certain friendships are.
I can count my friends on my two hands and still have a few fingers left over. But that doesn't matter. I don’t need a dozen friends around me, I need the ones I have. The ones who matter and the ones I know will always be there. No matter what kind of shit happens in my life, no matter what temporary distance comes between us, no matter how quickly life takes over. There’s still always a place in my life for the friends that matter.
There are times when I know I’m not a good friend. When life takes over - when I allow life to take over so that I can take a step back and not feel guilty for ignoring my friends. Because, you know... life! A while back, around the time I discovered that I was pregnant, I started missing out on my friends and at the turn of the year, I decided that needed to change. I’m lucky, I’m very lucky that my need to step back and pause my friendships didn’t cause me to lose my friends, the ones that truly matter anyway.
You see, through the whirlwind of being a mum, somewhat losing myself and subsequently temporarily losing them, I realised that my identity is not simply about me, or my hobbies, or my talents. My identity is somewhat entwined with the relationships that I have. I am who I am because I am loved, appreciated and respected by a few people out there. People that actually want me in their lives too. People that are my friends regardless of when we spoke last.
I remembered that I need my friends – not to help me to get through hard days, not to support me on days when things go wrong, not to do me favours or cheer me up when I’m down. I need my friends to be there. To share my life, to share their life. To understand each other and live, laugh, love.
Without trying to sound like a cliché, I realised I needed my “mum friends” even more so. There’s something about becoming a mum yourself that changes you. It’s almost like an awakening to the challenges that our own parents went through when we were kids.
And it’s almost impossible to talk about and share your life as a Mum to those who don’t have children and even sometimes, with those that are long past the baby and children stage. There’s an understanding that isn’t there with non-parents or has gotten lost through the years for those who haven’t been around babies and toddlers for quite a while.
It’s almost like another world which you can’t experience or understand until you’re trudging through the mud yourself. And that’s why my mum friends are so incredibly important to me.
Sharing these baby’s days, getting out of the house and laughing through our war stories, somehow makes it all a little easier. A little easier to know that I’m not alone. A little easier to know that I’m not the only one going through this momentous change that challenges not only my ability to survive on zero sleep but also has changed my personality and my outlook on life.
So maybe I can count my friends on two hands and still have enough fingers to open a packet of crisps. But those friends mean the world to me. Those friends keep me sane and keep me focused, without them realising it and without them doing anything spectacular. By simply being there, simply being my friend.