Surely I’m not the only person who finds making mum friends quite difficult?
I struck gold with my ante-natal group and three years on, we are all really close. I have often wondered if it’s rare – I feel like I was really lucky that they all ended up being really intelligent, chilled out, funny, and fun. We are all on to our second babies now and don’t get to hang out nearly as much as I’d like us to due to work and life and illness. But we will always have a special bond because we had all of our boys (yes all boys) together. We now have (almost) all had our second babies together as well – six boys, one more boy on the way, and one little girl.
I have another circle of mum friends that I met online. There are big benefits to meeting mum friends online – you know their politics, general outlook, ideological beliefs etc. BEFORE you get them into your house. I mean sure – I have met a few people online who have ended up being creeps (who hasn’t?) but thankfully I got them out of my life fairly quickly. My circle of online mum friends (who really, are just friends) is my lifeline. I adore them – they’re my best friends. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
I was pretty much the first in my circle of friends to have kids. It’s great that my closest friends are now catching up. But it means my mum friend circles are those two really – antenatal group and friends I first met online.
Trying to meet mums in other ways is often a total failure. Someone will say something about “natural” birth and I’ll be all *lip curl* or they’ll start talking about baby led weaning or cloth nappies and two hours later I will come back and they will still be going so I’ll go on a short holiday and then come back and they’re just winding up and they have a book for me to read. And I just…why is it so hard? I’m not even that picky?
I feel like I have a script for meeting new mums and it’s like speed dating.
It always begins at the swings aye? And the first question from either mum is almost always “how old is yours?” Then there are comments about size of said baby – so big! So small! Testing the waters a little there are comments about “how do you find it with two?”
I always find the conversations so difficult. I feel so anxious all the time. So unsure of how to be cool for other mums or say the right thing or at least not say the wrong thing. After being inside all week I feel like I can’t even make conversation. I mean even at home I’m like “CAN YOU NOT PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH IF IT ISN’T FOOD. IS IT FOOD? NO. TAKE IT OUT. NOW. FOOD. MOUTH. NO FOOD. NO MOUTH”.
If the other mum starts talking about the weather you know you don’t have a chance. They’re bored. You’re boring. The conversation grinds to a halt. And Eddie is always awkward and refuses to get off the swings so I have to just stand there.
Sometimes if the conversation actually seems to be going somewhere, and I’ve managed to not say something really terrible “yeah definitely my vagina was super sore afterwards” I will tentatively drop vaccination into the mix just to make sure I’m not putted wasted effort in.
I wish I was just better at social activity. Just cool and smooth. Like that mum you see at the park with her latte and she looks really great and she’s surrounded by other mums and they’re all cackling. Heads flung back, beautiful Barbie hair shining in the sun, “OH JANA! YOU’RE TOO MUCH!” And she pulls out a hip flask and tells another amazing story and her perfect kids just sleep perfectly in their double buggy (one girl and one boy) and the buggy is one of those fancy ones that has the super sweet black and white pattern on it.
I mean I have mum friends, I’m not a complete loser. It’s just that all of us are at different stages – studying, working outside the home, that kind of thing. Those that are stay at home mums don’t live near me, so we’re not hanging out at the local park. And winter makes me anxious – there are germs everywhere. People take their kids out when they’re sick. Everyone is coughing. It’s cold. Winter really is a bullshit season.
So where is the anxious mums club? We can all sit around and take turns being Janas. Have our moment in the sun. We can forgive each other for having verbal rota-virus (do you know I once said to a person I only just met that I once puked in bed and slept in it because I was too sick to move. Who says that to someone? Over lunch? OMG I just told all of you three people reading this. What is wrong with me???).
Where was I – we would forgive short attention spans and inability to keep on topic, tangents and stories that don’t go anywhere.
We can just be casual mum friends who txt and say ‘going to the park want to come?’ or ‘mums and bubs movie at midday – keen?’ I have friends who aren’t mums that I can do this with, so I just wish I had more mum friends, with kids the same age, who I can do this with.
And we can just see a movie. Or hang out by the swings. And not talk forever about boring “parenting philosophies” or whose child is sleeping through the night or on solids or whose birth was the most natural (it was Jana’s – she gave birth in a field with a paleo string quartet playing).
Maybe – the trick to finding the right mum friend is to approach it like dating. Have a list of things that are non-negotiable. So here are mine. And I want to know yours. Then we can match each other up.
1) Must love modern medicine and vaccination
My closest dearest mum friends know what I’ve been through with my son. They know modern medicine saved him. And they know the importance of vaccination.
2) Must not talk about super foods. Particularly chia seeds. And quinoa. Preferably not able to even pronounce quinoa.
For a really long time I thought it was a fish and I called in Kwin-oh-ah. The fact that so many people never corrected me really cranks my crank. Fuck quinoa. And super foods. And conversations about food that aren’t cake-related.
3) Likes beefcakes
I would like my mum friend to be someone who isn’t unnerved by my obsession with The Rock, Idris Elba, Thor, and recently a return to my fantasies – Joe Manganiello. Also, the captain of the Samoa rugby team. And Roman Reigns. If this obsession can’t be matched, I would at least like someone who enjoys spending a portion of their time talking about crushes.
4) Their children must be terrible sleepers
I just want to be with my people.
5) No diet talk
I don’t want to feel bad about how I look. Particularly because I don’t feel bad about how I look. Despite the fact that I think society wants me to feel bad about how I look.
6) Wine and coffee – solid relationship needed
Yeah, I feel like my great loves in life are wine and coffee (and my kids and husband I suppose after wine and coffee). So if we have that in common that’s going to be helpful.
7) Good politics
You don’t have to agree with everything I do. But you kind of do.
8) Must not mind lists ending at 8.
It’s all a bit silly I know. I think it’s just winter. It makes you feel isolated. It’s too cold to go out. The kids are always sick. When your child is finally better, your mum friend’s child is sick. So you just never get to hang. It sucks. Maybe I’m just being an emo.
But today I did meet a mum by the swing. I dropped a comment about vaccination and she said there should be a law requiring people to vaccinate. And then I dropped an F bomb just to see what would happen and she didn’t even flinch. And then she said her almost three year old still wakes up. So…wish me luck?
How long do I wait before I call her?!?!