Becoming a mummy is a funny thing. You have this beautiful little person with you 24/7, someone to talk to constantly even if they don’t understand you, but you can end up feeling quite lonely and isolated a lot of the time.
At first you’ll have a lot of company, usually a partner on paternity leave and constant visitors to see the new little bundle of joy. There’s no time to feel lonely or in need of someone to talk to as there’s always someone in your home. In fact most of the time you end up wishing that everyone would leave you alone for a while. However, soon the paternity leave ends, the novelty of a new baby wears off amongst friends and family, and you are on your own with your baby for the majority of the day.
There are many scenarios that can leave you feeling in need of new ‘mummy friends’. Even if you are lucky enough to have a big circle of close friends, the chances of many of them being around during the week is slim as most will be at work when you’re in need of their company. You might be the first amongst your friends to have a baby, or you might be the last so all of your friends children are a lot older than your own. Or you might just realise that although you’ve always had a lot in common with your friends, your parenting styles differ greatly and you don’t necessarily feel that you connect when talking about your kids.
Whatever the reason, having mummy friends is extremely important to your sanity. These people will are likely to become some of the most important friends in your life, they might even end up becoming some of your best friends long after your children have grown.
Here’s why having mummy friends is so important…
Questions, questions questions
Having a child is an experience like no other, piled with responsibility and full of never-ending questions. Parenting books and websites are a brilliant and quick source of information but there’s nothing like talking to a real person who is going through the same thing as you. As your children grow the nature of the questions change, but it doesn’t mean there are any less of them. It’s still nice to know that your child is normal whether your questions are about weaning, potty training or starting school.
Sharing is caring
If you want something to worry about 24 hours a day, 7 days a week then parenting is it. Between the sleep deprivation and the self-doubt, there is always something on your mind. You can get your thoughts out by keeping a diary, or starting a blog, or posting your thoughts onto social media, but there’s nothing quite like having a good chat over a cup of coffee with a friend to lift some of the weight from your shoulders. You might think that you’re the only one going through something but once you unload you’re likely to hear that your fellow mummies are feeling, or have felt, the same way before. They won’t bat an eyelid if you talk about sore boobs or the content of your baby’s nappy – the same can’t be said of your childless friends. It’s also great to know that your child isn’t the only one who has had a major tantrum in the middle of the supermarket!
A bit of adult conversation
A mummy’s day can involve a lot of baby talk and watching endless kids TV. As the mum of a school age child, I find myself spending more of my day talking about princesses and repeating ‘put your shoes on’ more times than anything else. When you meet up with mummy friends and the kids are playing in the park, the likelihood is that most of your conversation will still be about children. But it’s also nice to have the opportunity to talk about the latest episode of Eastenders or those lovely new jeans you bought that don’t actually fit, just to feel like your old self for a bit.
So you know that you need some mummy friends but where can you find them?
Talk to strangers
Trying to make new mummy friends can feel a little bit like dating! You have to put yourself out there and be prepared to start up conversations with complete strangers. Having children is a good conversation starter though and you will find that talking to fellow mums in the park or at soft play is easier than you think. Most of these women you’ll have a nice chat with for a while and then never see again, but occasionally you’ll find that you really get on with the mummy of the child that yours is playing nicely with and you’ll swap numbers and arrange to meet up again. Once you’ve chatted with a few random mums it will come naturally and not feel so awkward.
Baby and toddler groups can be funny places. It’s great to get out of the house, have someone make you a cup of tea and take your child somewhere that they can make a mess other than your house, but quite often you will feel like a total outsider next to the cliques of mums sat chatting who don’t even look in your direction let alone speak to you. I visited many baby groups, usually sitting on my own, before finding one where I met a lovely lady who I had lots in common with. We bonded over our toddlers being the only ones pulling all of the toys off the shelves rather than listening to the nursery rhymes and we arranged to meet up away from the cliquey mums. The rest, as they say, is history.
Online mummy friends
Having ‘real life’ mummy friends is great, but you can also meet some amazing, like-minded mummies online. There are plenty of parenting forums and Facebook groups that you can join to share your worries and thoughts with mums in the same situation to you. When I was pregnant I joined Twitter and started chatting with some women who were also pregnant or had new babies. Many of these ladies had blogs which I caught up with on a regular basis, and we shared our concerns and worries. I met several who were in my local area and when our babies were a few months old we met up in a softplay cafe and had a good old chat over coffee and cake. Even if your online mummy friends aren’t nearby and you can’t meet up in real life, it’s great to have people just a tweet or post away, that you can chat with instantly. It is of course also nice to be fairly anonymous for some of those more embarrassing problems!
If online is the way you want to go you should also check out Meet Other Mums, a free website which lets you set up an online group and invite local mums to join.
So if you’re feeling lonely and in need of some fellow mummies to talk to, be brave and head down to your local park or baby group and get chatting!