Just the other day I spent the morning in the hairdressers. It's the rare occasion every few months when I get a few hours to myself. I sipped hot coffee, made for me by someone else (Bliss I know!). Flicked through a magazine and text friends - Mummy Friends! It was whilst flicking through the magazine I came across an article that made me take my notebook from my bag and begin furiously jotting notes for this post.
See the article had got my back up.
Recently Grazia has been running a series called 'Womb with a View' where a woman reflects on motherhood - whether she has children or not. That weeks Author was a 34-year-old mum to be. She wrote how she has "No desire - post birth - to sit in a circle, butchering nursery rhymes with a bunch of women whom the only thing we have in common is passing a human out of our vaginas." Well, basically all the little voices in my head were screaming "Just you wait and see love!"
Two kids in, I happen to think 'Mummy friends' can be some of the most important people in your life.
Nowhere does it say that these friends have to replace your existing network or that you have to make friends with everyone 'butchering' that nursery rhyme. But maybe, just maybe, one day when your non-parent friends are fed up listening about little Betsy's never-ending desire to feed you'll want someone - anyone - to listen. See those other 'first timers' are going through the exact same thing. And believe me, even your seasoned parenting friends won't be that much help because those early, fog-filled days are quickly forgotten when you move on to the next stage.
Before we have kids we all have an idea of how it's gonna be.
I can't even fault this author - I too had a vision of how a sweet little bundle would be placed in my arms, cry only for a nappy change or feed and sleep angelically in his mosses basket the rest of the time. Reality stinks! He didn't just fit in around our lives he came along and took over. He howled morning noon and night. Would sleep only whilst I held him or had my boob in his mouth and barely looked at his mosses basket for the first six weeks of his life. Baby number two wasn't that much different. Gone were evenings in or out with friends. Who wants to entertain when you have a newborn cluster feeding from 5pm till 1am? And who want's to spend all evening apologising for the baby being a bit unsettled?
I'd love to catch up with this lady in say, three months time. When the baby has arrived. All the obligatory visits have stopped. She's fed up of her Mother or Mother in Law giving her the "it wasn't done like that in my day" eyes and she's trying to put the baby in a routine. Now maybe she'd prove me wrong. Maybe she hasn't made a single 'Mummy friend' but I doubt there's not one Mum who she exchanges tired, weary smiles at as she does her 5th lap of the park willing the baby to stay asleep, ten more minutes - just so she can enjoy the quiet.
I'd tell her about how I made my 'Mummy friends' at yoga. They weren't paid for by an Antenatal class. I didn't set out on a quest or throw myself at the first woman with a pram I met. Friendships were built over time. It wasn't till much further down the line we butchered those nursery rhymes together because our babies needed stimulation! I wasn't enough. I didn't want to be. I wanted to see my child interact with other babies his age.
Being on your own with a baby all day every day can be draining and as much as we'd hope our pre-baby friends will be there it's not always possible. That's when it's nice to have someone to meet for coffee, to tell you not to worry when the babies nappies have gone seriously weird as you start weaning. Or to just sympathise when you've been up all night.
My Mummy friends have been there through the good days and bad. The snot and tears from both me and the Littles. As a Mummy who didn't have her Mummy just round the corner, they were my saviour when I just wanted to spend the day in my pyjamas. The ones who understood all my anxieties, the ones who know me best in my Mummy role. I still have my childhood friends and always will but friendships evolve just as we do and Mrs C wouldn't be 'Mummy' without her Mummy gang!