A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When You're a Mum, Making Friends Can Be Difficult

It's hard to make friends once you're a mother.

In the Pre-kid Work World

All you do to make friends is go out for drinks on a Friday night with a few girls from work. Before long, inhibitions are cast aside, you've got a common love of hating your boss and by the end of the night you're at the night club, dancing around your handbags, besties forever.

Then you trade in your dancing shoes for house slippers and a burp cloth over the shoulder, and suddenly the friend-making dynamic changes.

Mothers' Group

I think she put my nappy on backwards.
This is your first attempt at making friends as a parent. You're completely sleep deprived, you still fumble with putting nappies on this foreign being that cries all the time, and requires attaching to your breast at regular intervals. You desperately want to look like you know what you're doing, so you put on your best face. Everyone else is putting on their best face too. If you're lucky, someone will put her baby's nappy on backwards, and you'll realise that she's just like you. If you're on the ball, you can chat to her and compare parenting mess-ups, and she'll be your bestie forever, but you do have to be quick, because every one of the mums in the room will want to be her friend too.

Play Group

Once your child grows older, you start to determine your friendship with another mum by how many children she has (too many or too few in comparison to you and you're on different wavelengths completely), what age her children are, whether she has the same values as you as a parent and whether your children get along (it just won't work out if her little Sally is always beating your little Jimmy about the head with a toy hammer). And of course, once all those factors are favourable, you still have to get over the fact that you're both putting on your best mum face. So you have to spend a fair amount of time with the mum before figuring out if she's your sort of friend.

School Mums

In the first year of your oldest child's schooling, everyone is scrambling to find friends. It's like musical chairs. If you don't act quickly, you'll be left standing. After the first year, everyone has their little groups and they're not looking for new friends. Oh, you'll have new mums that come to the school, but the parents from that first year will be comfortable in their circles. Then, whether your children get along becomes really important, because your child becomes more choosy about his friends, and will outright refuse to play with Sally anymore because she's a girl or because she's always hitting him about the head with a toy hammer. So your circle of potential friends has been reduced to the mums of your child's friends. 


If you do start to get to know the mum of your child's friend, and she's your sort of mum (you can tell this from the first time she says, "My children are driving me up the wall with all their bickering" or "I had to borrow from my son's piggy bank when the tooth fairy visited last night"), keep this friend...

...because when you're a parent, making friends is nigh on impossible.

5 comments:

  1. You are so right, Shelly!  It's like grade-school all over again, isn't it?  I never thought it would be so difficult at my age and stage in life to make friends.  And now that Cole and Bella are in grade school, I'm finding that some of the moms are in little cliques already because they either live in the same neighborhood or they have older kids who are friends.  

    Sigh...sure we wish we were neighbors!

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  2. My kids go to a school nowhere near our own neighbourhood, so I don't stand a chance with mums who got together because of geography. Oh well, with all the after-school activities, homework, work, cooking, housework, and yes, blogging, who's got time for friends anyway? They'd simply be a blur as we zoom past on our way to another soccer game or swim lesson.

    Anyway, I'm glad to have online friends like you, with whom I can share a story and a laugh. It keeps me sane...or what passes for sane.

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  3. I never thought about it before. I didn't realise that it might be harder for you as a more 'mature' parent (better than 'older' I think I associate 'mature' with a fine wine, better with age). I'm always here, even if it is from across the miles. Being a parent to toddlers is not such a distant memory for me as it might be for some of your pre-twin friends.

    The bright side is that all your pre-twin friends, now that they are empty-nesters, would make excellent and willing babysitters, so that you can enjoy the odd evening out with your best friend, your hubby. ;-)

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  4. Nat - Muddy FarmwifeJuly 19, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Shelly this post is so spot on! Thanks for putting into words the friendship journey.

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  5. When I was a new mom, none of my friends had kids yet.  Most of them weren't even married (we started young).  Now that I have kids spaced out from 12 to 3, most people fit in with me somewhere.  I still have younger friends who don't have kids yet and spending time with them is pretty difficult.  One of my friends has four kids, just like me.  We don't even enjoy getting together because it's "4 adults and 8 kids, please!"

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