“Friends are like family we choose for ourselves” is a quote I’ve always loved. For me, my friends are the people I love with all my heart, people who know me and love me regardless of my faults and who don’t run a mile when I have my whacky moments, or when I talk too much! Friends are the people I love like family, just without the blood line connection.
Since I became a Mummy I have noticed changes in my friendships. Not changes in my friends themselves, but changes in the types of friends I have now, compared to the types of friends I had before. I’ve always been lucky to have a close group of friends that I would bend over backwards for, and then a larger number of friends/acquaintances that I see or speak to more sporadically or infrequently. When I became a Mummy my focus shifted and my thoughts of nice dresses, nights out and the latest films and songs took to the back burner, coming second to formula milk brands, nappy brands, conversations about bowel movements and various other mummy based topics! This in turn meant that I gradually had less and less in common with most of my friends who didn’t have children. Put simply, there was a lot less common ground. I didn’t want to bore them with the details of Joshua’s every waking moment, and likewise after the initial novelty wore off, they probably and rightly so, didn’t want to hear about it all the time! This meant that a lot of my non mummy friends who classed as ‘close friends’ slipped in to the ‘acquaintances bracket. This left a large space in my life, although lacking in time for a social life my phone went noticeably quiet during this period.
When I overcame my post-natal depression I began to actively encourage and pursue friendships with certain friends with their own children from the previous ‘acquaintances bracket. I realized I had far more in common with them now than ever before and it gave us a whole new foundation for friendship. All mummies love to talk babies-whether it’s their own, other peoples, potential problems, queries or worries and suddenly people I knew with children became ‘friends’ in their own right because we always had so much to talk about!
Don’t get me wrong, I still have several very close friends who don’t have children, one friend who is like a sister to me doesn’t have children and yet our bond and friendship hasn’t swayed by my decent in to parenthood, nappies, sick and poop! Even in my times of worrying about Joshua’s bowel movements, his sleeping patterns or his diet-this friend of mine has not once moved an inch from her rightful place as one of my closest friends. But the vast majority of my close friends now are all people who have children.
Mummy friends are to me my sanity! Mummy friends give me the confidence in my own parenting skills and advice when they aren’t up to scratch. Mummy friends give me a friendly cuppa and shoulder when tantrums and tears get too much and a friendly face to laugh with when my son does something new and hilarious. Mummy friends are a person to turn to with experiences that I can value and they are also the only people who can fully and truly understand what my life now is. I don’t feel I have to defend myself, or sugar coat the truth with my Mummy Friends, because we are all in the same boat. Mummyhood is like a club and we are all in it together!
I do still speak to almost all of my friends from my pre-parenting days but just not as much. Nowadays my phone is active with friendships formed on the shared basis of having children and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I may be obsessed with which nappy brands are on offer but so are my friends! I don’t want to hear about what the latest bar is like on a night out any more than my non-mummy friends want to hear about what colour my son’s bowel movements are!
So I have learnt the value of Mummy friends. They are invaluable, totally appreciated and never, ever far from my thoughts. Without my mummy friends I fear I would panic at every detergent caused rash, every refused bottle or every missed toilet time. I fear my mental state would fall in to disrepair without the lovely people I call my Mummy Friends! Parenthood would be impossible without Mummy Friends.