If there is a skill to master in making mum friends I am yet to develop it. As for keeping old friends active in my life, well, that’s a whole other dilemma. The friendship struggle in Motherhood for me is real. It has brought me back to the having the same feelings I had as a young child in the school playground.
As I try to dissect the cluster of contributing factors of why making mum friends is so hard for me I start back at when I got married. I was happy, in love, and at a point in my life where the blindfold that was over my future had been lifted. My life as a newlywed was everything I needed. My social life was becoming a little less important in comparison to my married life.
I was living in a new area and I was still working when I became pregnant the first time. Meeting new people was far from being on my mind. The only opportunities for this was if it happened while at work or out doing a spot of shopping. But those types of acquaintances don’t normally last. So I found myself prioritising my time for my home life. And when you work full time and only have the weekends for that then you aren’t left with much time for anything or anyone else. Plus I didn’t join any ante-natal classes; personal preference and again I didn’t feel the need to meet new people.
Then the baby is born. After spending the last 9 months preparing and making the most of pre baby life I didn’t think about making mum friends.
I didn’t see the need to share birth stories, ask for advice or show off each time my baby hit a milestone. I was quite confident that I’d do well as a mum. After all I had a little bit of experience in changing, bathing and feeding babies with a few of my nieces and nephews. But, Motherhood hit me with so many things I needed to learn. And the confidence I once had turned into vulnerability. So being a confident and can do type of mum was not to be. Not when your baby develops reflux…or GERD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux) or whatever term people are using for it these days.
I just couldn’t bring myself to sharing the details of my sore breastfeeding nipples with another mum. It was enough that I was doing this with health professionals.
As my baby got older and was almost cured of the bad case of vomiting all over baby and mummy I could see he was in need of baby friends. So I had to try to start making mum friends.
But the making mum friends “how to” is not in the motherhood manual…
I had to come up with something. First, I went to the local library for a session called Rhyme Time. There were lots of other mums and bubs. Some knew each other and appeared to have planned the date in advance. I must say, it was a nice spot for a mummy date! There were others who didn’t have a date but kept to themselves. There was no mingling, just chatting amongst the mum friends that knew each other. So I left feeling quite deflated, but I wasn’t going to let it discourage me. I went back another time and the same thing happened. Oh, and both times my boy was so easily distracted and into all the books on display – in a destructive toddler way. So maybe I wasn’t approachable to other mums?
I gave up on this outing…
Then I found other ideas and tried them. Same thing happened every time at each different setting with slight improvements. An aqua playgroup at a swimming centre nearby was wonderful… Some mums actually spoke to me there. But it never went further. I started to think that maybe we’re not supposed have mum crushes and make new mum friends. A sporting activity for children aged 2 to 5 was my next quest. Same thing again…mums would either just barely get a smile out or look away. Others would try to make small talk but always leave it at that.
Oh man… or shall I say mama mia! I’m now at a loss for this cause. But the mission of making mum friends is not over…I’m trying to set an example for my boys with socialising.
I’m fortunate to have a second baby and I’m still determined to get out and meet other mums. I’ve tried in a few ways. I joined a mothers group – if you’re not a first time mum you need to approach the local council about it like I did. Kangatraining – this is an awesome baby wearing post-natal fitness activity. And I have my first son in a kinder program so that he can be in a social and educational setting with supervision other than my own.
I was the only mum in the mothers group with two children. The conversations flowed nicely but I still felt a little awkwardness inside me. I didn’t want to sound like I knew it all when questions were directed to me. Each mama knows best and that we each learn motherhood our own way. I believe that advice is best given only when sought. But maybe I was seen as a person that didn’t like to share too much. I feel like I’ve made some mummy friends here but I also don’t like to push myself onto them. I wonder if this is not working in my favour…
The Kangatraining session lasts for an hour and then the other mums are off to do their own thing as am I. I found myself hesitating a lot when trying to add some of these mums on Facebook and Instagram. Is this what you call a mummy crush? You only chat when you’re at the venue for the exercise, or if you’re lucky to bump into each other in the shops.
Earlier this year I saw a wonderful opportunity in making mum friends.
It was to be at the special afternoon tea held at the kinder for Mother’s Day. Instantly I thought how good it would be to meet mums who had children in the same class as my son. But it was not to be. Nobody showed an eagerness to mingle. Some mums had their own mums or mum-in-law with them. So these were the mums with their own dates again. There were grandmothers who had taken over the reins for the day so they didn’t need to make mum friends. I’m actually shattered and start wondering again if it’s me, not them.
And so I come to the kinder drop off and pick up exercise. This does not have ‘make mum friends’ as a criterion. Through my experience I find that I’m lucky to be greeted by another parent in passing. I might get a little chat if I try to entice it with a little more than a hello, but that’s where it stops.
I’m at a loss. Again!
Do you have an inkling of where the Making Mum Friends How to Guide can be located. Please be kind and share it with me.
I’ll sign off by saying “this is not it”. I don’t give up! The efforts I’m trying are for the benefit of me as a mother and for the benefit of my children. One day I will follow up on this article with better news to share about Making Mum Friends…
All photo credits Garden of Eden Photography