I can say 100% that my mum friends are all heroes and amazing in their own different ways, but most of all they have been one of many great things about becoming a mummy. New mummy friends started for me by attending a pregnancy yoga class when I was expecting Isabella, and joining, much to Marcus’ initial dislike, an NCT class. Both were fab for sharing your experience of pregnancy, let alone the shock when you all start popping out tiny humans and take on the “fourth trimester”. It has been the best thing making new friends, or at the very least recognising faces, in my local area. My NCT group were absolutely lovely and I still speak to and see the majority of them (one family moved away which was super sad). Our trainer, Tracey, was also brilliant and quickly became our link to all things baby in our area. One of the best things she encouraged us to come along to was the local NCT babies group. It was great to go somewhere and know people immediately; it is daunting enough going out with your fresh new baby when you are a first-time mummy, let alone into a hall full of strangers. The majority of my NCT group have gone on to have more children or are currently pregnant, so it’s brilliant to still be so close and support each other through it all. One, I’d like to consider my mummy BFF (she will cringe at that), also had an unexpected close age gap between her boys and it has brought us closer together than probably either of us thought. Selfishly, it was fantastic to have someone in the same boat as me, so close by and when we had already forged a great friendship. Hilariously, when I told the girls I was expecting she told her husband and they both laughed at how ridiculous it would be to have another baby so soon. A few months later she was expecting herself. That’ll teach ya ha ha. Soon after she had her second baby she popped in to see me and I clung on to her in floods of tears as we both were feeling the same. It was so nice, and a relief, to finally have someone around who really understood what it is like having two babies, but each with differing needs. Soon after we agreed to meet every Friday with the kids and apart from the occasional seasonal bug or holidays, we have done so every week since. We both love just being ourselves about the whole situation and constantly share how we get by day to day as different phases come and go. She also quite liked that as I was a few months further along in the “2 under 2” journey and so I would try out things like baby groups and feedback. She soon came along to two groups I’d found manageable and so it’s been really nice going through the ups and downs with someone else. Recently we ventured from the safety of her house on a Friday morning to a soft play centre, and were both super proud of ourselves and our eldest ones. Now, at just 2 they are both starting to run off and play/explore without needing mummy right by their side. For both of us that has been one of the biggest challenges; two little people wanting just as much carrying, cuddling and helping as each other. There is never enough mummy. But the big ones managed really well despite their shy demeanours, and we both saw a glimmer of things to come. We are both very keen to be the mums sat at the table drinking hot coffee and gossiping whilst their kids go mental amongst the squidgy mats and slides. One day Amie, one day! Other new mum friendships definitately start from attending various toddler and baby groups. The majority, in my case, are those who I only really see of speak to at said group or have a quick chat in the super market when we bump into each other, but it’s really nice all the same to share the joy of our children growing and developing as the weeks/months/years roll by. I am also on my local NCT committee, although I am a bit rubbish at keeping up with the meetings and Social events, largely because of Marcus’ hours. But never-the-less I do my bit editing their website and know I have a network of like minded mums there if I need them.
The opposite of great mum friends, however, comes in the form of those that love to bitch and judge. I’ve heard people have said “she’s not the only one to have 2 babies”, obviously questioning why I have my mum and mother in law to help or why I am even writing about our journey. Well here is a big screw you to those people. Everyone deals with things in different ways and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Motherhood is not a competition and it is so wrong to judge how we are coping, or not, based on your own ideals. That is one amazing thing about mummy friends, they all get what’s going on and they all appreciate kids can be as wonderful as they can be a right pain in the backside. I have been really lucky to have avoided any judgy mums, those that look down their nose if you are not breastfeeding, but I know they are out there. The worst are old school mums who think us modern mums are making a right old meal out of parenting. Maybe I have done, maybe I have been spoilt and it’s been the biggest shock to the system living off 3 hours sleep and juggling two displeased babies all day and night; I’m terribly sorry if I’m not singing from the roof tops at how wonderful every single second of the day is. It’s not, it’s actually ridiculous to expect it would be, and maybe it’s just ok to talk about that these days. I don’t need those sort of people in my life anyway and have a wonderful network of great friends, mum friends and family who have all been more than happy to listen to me moan as much as gush about my gorgeous girls. I say it all the time. I’m am so so lucky to have my girls. I come from a place of hopelessness and deep hurt from thinking I would never be able to give birth to my own children and provide my husband a family. It is a really awful place to be. I don’t ever take for granted how blessed we are, but that doesn’t make sleep deprivation and constant crying any easier! It does make the loss of income and mum-tum more bearable though lol. I wouldn’t have things any other way, and even though Sienna is useless at sleeping and eating, we are definitely nearing that place of “I’m glad we had them close together”. I absolutely never thought I would ever say that by the way!
My other new friends have been the surprise of virtual mum friends. There is a whole online community of mums out there. The absolute best thing about them is that they are the ones you end up talking to at a crazy time in the morning, whilst you are up breastfeeding or endlessly rocking a baby. It’s brilliant having people around 24/7. I actually only met a new friend of mine face to face at Isabella’s 2nd birthday party. She and I got in touch through WhatsApp as she is the wife of one of Marcus’ close friends, and after being added into a ‘group’ about arranging a get-together with our husband’s friends, she and I started talking away from the ‘group’. She has a 7-month-old baby with Silent Reflux and a two year old, but lives in South London, which is a bit of a stretch for both of us with babies in tow. Being a few months ahead I took to messaging her and sending over supportive vibes etc. knowing how challenging newborns are, let alone when they have Reflux. It was really nice to be able to share that side of things, and supporting her actually helped me in many ways. It just felt really nice knowing what someone else needed to hear.
I can not, however, and would not, be without my non mum friends. They mean so much as it’s a channel back to my before mummy self. Plus, it is so nice to talk about other things than babies/kids. I literally do nothing else but be mummy these days or watch rubbish TV, and have pretty poor chat about anything else. But, just listening to someone talk about things beyond how many hours sleep we have had and what the latest phase or tantrum cause is, is so refreshing. Two of my very best friends, both by the name Sarah, and one actually being my Sister-in-law, haven’t started families yet and they are two of my most favourite people to hang out with. That being said, I also absolutely love all my old friends who have also gone on to have kids. I was one of the last in my network of friends as we struggled so much to conceive, but one thing I love about them is that we all take time out of being busy mums to meet up, usually of an evening, for a good meal out and a proper chat about old and new stuff; life, history, memories, and all the excitement of raising our children. It is one of my favourite things to do now; meet a school, college, work or Uni friend over dinner and just have a good chat and a giggle. It’s definitely something I took for granted and it’s really nice that it now means so much.
I assume my next gaggle of friendships will be forged at the preschool and school gates. Yikes, the thought of taking Issey to preschool scares me, let alone actually sending her off in a uniform one day. Don’t come round too fast Sept 2017!!
Friends in all shapes and sizes are so important. I don’t think you need that many, have to see them all the time, or even speak to them all the time, but knowing you have a support network around you is absolutely the best.
Much love to all of my amazing gorgeous friends. You know who you are beyond those I’ve named, and I’m bloody lucky to have you in my life.