When I Had Mummy Friends

This weekend Piglet and I went to the park.

Basic, I know.  Everyone goes to the park.  I am basic.  Don’t hate me.

The park is both fascinating and terrifying in equal measure.  Mainly terrifying.  How much helicopter parenting is acceptable in the face of the overwhelming fear that one’s child will be attacked by a passing poodle, mown down by a child on a speeding scooter, or internally damaged by a particularly sharp piece of woodchip they have decided to eat?

And then there are the other parents, an army of middle class mums in Boden tops and skinny jeans, miraculously balancing coffee cups alongside their children’s scooters without dangerous spillage, and dads with artfully arranged facial hair.

“Did you push over that little girl’s sandcastle?  Now you just sit on this rock and think for a minute about what you’ve done.”

O how I want to talk to those parents.  O how I want to be them, with their sensible middle class marriages.  I imagine they must all live in perfectly colour co-ordinated homes with little white painted wooden hearts hung in the windows.

I’m sure I’m wrong.

I want to talk to the parents in the park.  I want to swap stories of difficult births and sleepless nights, to drink coffee in the sandpit and to sit on that rock and think for a minute about what my life has become.

I want some mummy friends.

When you move to a new city, even one that isn’t new, one that you grew up in, left and then returned like a salmon to breed, and live in the care of your parents in perpetuity, you lose your old ties, the friends from school that you never stayed in touch with; the London friends who now live so far away.  And making new ones is now that much harder.  You can’t go to the pub and forge new friendships over gallons of wine and humorous complaining, and your peers at work are all married with their own families.  In short, my mother, aged 62, has a better social life than me.  The baby boomers are ruling the world these days, didn’t you get the memo?  It’s theatre trips and cruise ships all year long.

This weekend, I went out for the third time since Piglet was born almost 20 months ago.  I had strict instructions to be back home by 9pm.  My dinner companions were, naturally, close family.  You didn’t think I had friends, did you?

It was better than the second time.  At least this time there were no desperate texts from my mother, who in between living the life of riley on cruise ships, is my eternal babysitter, telling me that Piglet was walking repeatedly to the front door looking for me, and refusing to go to sleep without Mummy’s milky pops, and it was essential that I come home immediately.  However, the long and short of it is, I have no social life, and no friends.

How do you find these women, the elusive Mummy friends, the Mother Hood?  Are they at the baby groups, when I am at work?  Are they in the library, singing rhymes and winding the bobbin up?  Are they sat in cafes, drinking  frothy coffees with the Mummy friends they already had, the ones you used to have but left in London with the remnants of your old life?

I used to have Mummy friends.  There were loads of us popping out babies at work that year,* spending lazy days wandering around Westfield having long lunches and enjoying the novelty of the baby changing rooms (THERE ARE ACTUAL ROOMS FOR BREASTFEEDING) while our colleagues slogged it out at the coal face.

Now there is just me, standing on the sidelines as the Whatsapp conversations continue without me, knowing that there are a million and one Mummy Friends in the park, drinking their coffees, having their long lunches and winding the bobbin up, and I have to start all over again.

Are there NCT classes for toddlers?  I could do with a lesson on how to safely retrieve small cars from the toilet bowl, and I might even meet some new Mummy Friends.

*OK not literally AT work, although in those last weeks before maternity leave I did have an emergency list titled “People At Work Who Could Maybe Deliver a Baby, in Order of Preference.”  It always pays to be prepared.

Diary of an imperfect mum



65 Comments Add yours

  1. I feel this hun as an EXPAT I also have a language barrier that made finding and maintaining friendships difficult. I did meet people through groups, I went to baby swimming, toddler group, music group etc Being lonely sucks. blogging is a great way to make friends… TY for linking up with #FamilyFun ?

    1. Min says:

      I do go to baby swimming, but I work full time and most groups are in the daytime. Looks like I’ll be sticking with my online buddies!

  2. Rosie says:

    This is my life! I’ll be your mummy friend (I don’t wear Boden and I ALWAYS spill my coffee) Seriously though, why aren’t all the Mummy friends my friends too? They all must’ve know each other already, that’s my theory. Xx #coolmumclub

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! I also have that theory. When I went to Blogfest in November I was wandering around on my own, and couldn’t understand why everyone else knew each other. I thought I must just be really bad at socialising, but it seems they all met up with people they already knew. I am sure that when I lived in London and had friends, there were some times when I was totally one of those mums, albeit not wearing Boden.

    2. Min says:

      Oh, and I will be your friend too!

  3. Ellen says:

    I feel for you, I have a few people who were already friends and became parents at similar times to me so I have got a few amazing mum friends. I’m still on maternity leave so meeting people at groups is possible but I have no idea how to take it from casual chats while watching our babies play with sensory toys to being actual friends who meet up! #FamilyFun

    1. Min says:

      I know what you mean. A lot of the time I didn’t really have anything in common with the people at baby groups except being mums either so it is difficult. I also had a lot of friends who had babies at the same time, which was lucky, but now I’ve moved they’re all too far away!

  4. I feel for you. Living in a different country from where I grew up or even did my degree means I don’t get to see my old friends. I did do an NCT and the people there were lovely, but now that most are back at work we don’t meet up as frequently. I mainly work from home, so don’t have colleagues. If I do get chatting with other mums, like the other day at the GPs, I basically force my number on them and get all too enthusiastic so they probably think I’m a little nuts and never actually text. I hope you do find some, as I think friendships are important. Good luck! #coolmumclub

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I do speak to people-real life friends and online ones-all the time online, but like you, all my real life friends live far away (although not in another country). That’ll be me handing out my number to random people soon, too!

  5. PS. Have you thought about meeting up with other “online” mummies? x

    1. Min says:

      Yes it’s a possibility. I haven’t made any specific plans to, but I’ve definitely considered it, and hopefully it will happen in the future.

  6. I know exactly where you are coming from. I felt that same alienated situation when I moved out of London and living in a place with now friends. I never felt so isolated but then again I don’t really have much time to think about that as I was so busy looking after the two little ones. But when I do have the time to actually sit down in the park and finally have my first cup of decent coffee in a century – all of the sudden I felt there was something missing and that was Mummy friends I have had when I was living in London. But since Ethan started school, I found that I was not the only one – there were loads of mummy that have also just moved into the area and just slowly now I am beginning to make new mummy friends. It is a good feelings. It takes time. Thank you very much Min for linking up with us again on #FabFridayPost Big Hugs. xx

    1. Min says:

      Good to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My own mother is still friends with loads of women she met through having kids the same age and getting involved with the schools, so all is not lost!

  7. MMT says:

    There is no worse feeling like feeling an outsider – I really really try and always pick out the quietest loneliness looking Mum at groups and make small talk. I’m sure I have been totally oblivious at times though and that’s a horrible thought.
    Through blogging, I have definitely ‘met’ Mums that I think are proper quality lasses – you are right at the top of that list Min. Wish we lived close enough to meet for a coffee! x
    Thanks for linking up with #coolmumclub

    1. Min says:

      Me too! I will have to get a ticket for Britmums and we can have a coffee there! xx

  8. Yvonne says:

    I wish you lived near me and we could share a glass of wine and talk about the ups and downs of parenting. Blogging definitely helps me, I have met so many mums since I started sharing my woes online 🙂 #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Me too-although not in person unfortunately! Thanks for commenting.

  9. I completely get this and I just assume that, yes, they must have already been friends. I have three and I’m quite proud of that. Not that I’ve seen two of them for about six months but I’m fairly sure I can still count them can’t I!? I don’t get where to make toddler parent friends…if I take my toddler to a group I am far too busy making sure he doesn’t seriously injure anyone to make friends. It does seem like there’s a little bit of a gap between antenatal groups (which I didn’t do) and school.
    I saw one of your comments about blogfest, it made me laugh because I was absolutely sure I was the only one that didn’t know anyone. I couldn’t work out how everyone seemed to be such good friends. I did lots of wandering and weird smiling in the hope I would appear both friendly (in case someone did want to talk to me!) but also terribly busy and nonchalant! Wish I’d known, we could have been terribly cliquey about it!

    1. Min says:

      Haha, yes me too. I wore a very easy to spot pink and black polka dot fake fur coat, so I would have been easy to find. I think I did a lot of wandering about trying to look too cool for school!

  10. You’ve got a mummy friend right here! It is horrible to feel so alienated, I think our mummy blogging community is a saviour at times xxx #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! Yes, definitely feel as though I have mummy friends in the blogging community. Now we just need to meet up. Have to get that ticket to Britmums!

  11. Kat says:

    I get this, I don’t know where people find Mummy friends. I found most of mine online but none of them live nearby so it’s not exactly a coffee date catch up its like a yearly retreat. I love it but it can be so lonely sometimes. Recently though I seem to have become part of the club. My daughter got invited to the right girls birthday party and I’ve now become friends with her mum and have even been invited on a mums night out. This has all happened in the last three months now my daughter is at school I’m speaking to the mums of the children she’s friends with as we bump into each other at the birthday parties and whilst picking up our gremlins at the school gates. It’s so tough though! I used to be the mum standing alone looking around nervously at the other mums speaking to one another and now I can join in! Yay! You’ll get there. It took me five and a quarter years to start getting some! #kcacols

    1. Min says:

      Oh dear, sounds like I might have a long time to wait!

  12. Emma says:

    Whoops meant to add #KCACOLS

  13. I get this. It’s like an unattainable level of “cool-mummy-ness”, a clique we just can’t be a part of. We can wear Boden and drink mocha soy chai lattes in the park until we’re blue in the face, but no dice. You do have mummy friends though – the mummy blogging community 🙂 #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! I just wish you all lived closer!

  14. laura dove says:

    Oh I so feel for you. I didn’t have any mummy friends when I had my children but forced myself to join a playgroup despite lacking in confidence. Within a few weeks I found that I was being included in group messages, meet ups, play dates. Now two years later some of those women are my best friends and I cant remember how I ever survived without them. It’s SO hard to make friends as adults, particularly when cliques are already formed, I guess you just have to force yourself on them and hope that they let you in! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Good advice. I will just have to keep trying.

  15. I’m expecting my first baby and worried about the potential lack of mummy friends too. I did a short course of pregnancy yoga and have managed to organise a monthly-ish meet up between the ladies at our community cafe – hopefully this will continue once our babies are born.

    Are there any weekend toddler groups in your area that you could go to? I agree most of these things do seem to be during the week so impossible for mums who work full time. Maybe go to soft play and be daring a strike up a conversation with someone who’s just spilt their coffee? It’s bound to happen; most of us are human! xx

    1. Min says:

      I will try and do that. Actually today I was in a baby cafe, and it was overrun with what I can only assume were NCT buddies who all had kids the same age and all knew each other. Weirdly, I thought about talking to them but stopped myself-it’s rare that I get a day with Piglet on my own without having to go to work, or having my mum looking over my shoulder, so it was really nice just to spend time with him. Best of luck with your mummy friends. I had loads when I was pregnant and for the first year-and then I moved house!

  16. I know how you feel – I’ve really struggled to make ‘mummy friends’. There are some women who I chat with casually at baby groups, but I wouldn’t classify them as friends, really. I have other friends in the area, but none of them have kids, so it’s hard to catch up because we’re at really different stages of our lives. The blogging community is great – I just wish more of these lovely bloggers lived in Glasgow! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      I know what you mean. I did (do) have lots of mummy friends, they just don’t live anywhere near me now, as I have moved. Oh well!

  17. As someone who cherishes her Mummy Friends a lot, this post made me sad. Everyone should have mummy friends, they keep us sane. Keep your chin up and keep smiling. I’m sure you’ll find some in time. Mine came from the NCT class, plus a couple we all met in a Bumps and Babies group as well as two ladies who I work in the same department with who were pregnant a similar time to me. I’m lucky, i know I am. I don’t take them for granted and I always try and be friendly to new mummies I meet because I hate those clicky mums that leave people out. #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      I have friends from my NCT class too. Unfortunately though, when Piglet was a year old I moved from London to Bristol to be closer to family, and my friends are all in London. Oh well!

  18. Sarah says:

    This has made me feel really sad – I don’t want you to feel lonely! Mummy friends are important. I find it really difficult to make friends, but have managed to make a few now the boy is at school, and it’s lovely. I’m not the best person to make suggestions about meeting people because I’m so rubbish at it, but you have lots of people you can speak to here at least *spills virtual coffee all over self* xxx #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! I am OK, really. I’m actually a pretty sociable person so I’m sure I will find some mummy friends soon. Thank you for commenting. It’s good to know I have kindred spirits in the blogging world. x

  19. Mummy friends are hard to find – I can so sympathise to what you have written. But I feel like Im on the outside looking in as my daughter isn’t developing at the same ‘normal’ rate- it can be isolating and lonely. But things have started to change as she has gotten older and she is invited to parties (she is quite popular even if her mum is not!) and so I speak to more mums that way. Hang in there 🙂 #Justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I’m sure I will find some eventually, it just takes a while, and I work full time so I’m out of the baby and toddler group loop! Thanks for commenting. x

  20. It’s tricky when working full time because as you say parent and toddler groups are during the day. Perhaps meet up with some online blogging friends? I have done this is a a few times and it’s lots of fun! plus you can bring Piglet with you 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

  21. Mrs Tubbs says:

    It’s hard when you work full time and you’ve got little ones as most of the mummy friending opps happen whilst you’re otherwise engaged. I know some of the other bloggers have found mates via Meet Other Mums so maybe that?! Good luck!

    1. Min says:

      I have joined Meet Other Mums…we’ll see how things go. To be honest at the moment all my time is taken up with work, blogging and spending what little time I have with Piglet, so I wouldn’t have time to meet up with anyone anyway!

  22. The Pramshed says:

    This post has made me feel sad, everyone should have mummy friends and people to go to the park, and discuss their child’s sleep over a latte. This post also scared me somewhat as we are currently in London, one day we will move out of London and I won’t have that group of Mummy friends. I’m also coming to the end of my maternity leave too, argh! Claire x #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Don’t worry about it! I have plenty of online Mummy friends, and real friends I can talk to online about Mummy stuff. Just not any real ones in the vicinity. I wouldn’t have time to drink lattes with them anyway as I’m always at work and my mum takes Piglet to all the toddler groups. Oh God now I’m probably making you feel worse!

  23. I wish I could meet you for coffee, but Melbourne is a world away! I found myself feeling isolated at times when mine were that little, but it really did all change when they went to school. But I think part of that was because I made myself vulnerable, I admitted I was feeling lost and I pushed my (shy) self to go for coffee and get to know these women that seemed intimidating, and fancy compare to me and it turns out they are actually awesome! So really grab any opportunity and put yourself out there. When you open up people admit they feel the same and suddenly you are bonding. Thanks for linking up #mg

    1. Min says:

      You’re totally right. I need to push myself out of my comfort zone and talk to some people. I’m fairly sociable and not particularly shy, so I just need to do it. Thanks for hosting and commenting.

  24. Life as Mum says:

    Oh bless! I have 3 mummy friends. I see one nearly every day and the other two now and then! Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Thank you for hosting and commenting! x

  25. Candace says:

    Being a working mom makes it hard to put in time to make new mom friends. When I actually have the chance to bring my kids to the park during the week, I feel so left outside of the social circle and totally feel your pain. I hope you luck upon some cool Mom friends and in the interim, you have us followers!

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! I guess when you move to a new city, it just takes a bit of time, especially when working all week. Thank you for commenting!

  26. I know what you mean, when I first had Finley I had mummy friends then I returned to work. I now have about 3 I see regularly and one is my sister in law. They keep me going, Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    1. Min says:

      Thank you for hosting and commenting! x

  27. Silly Mummy says:

    I don’t know where they are! I’m like you! (& my mum also has a better social life than me! I can’t even socialise with her – she doesn’t live near me!) But then I have always been both shy & an introvert, so nothing new. I suppose I am technically less of a loner than I have sometimes been now as I always have two toddlers with me! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Haha, we should meet up and be loners together! I do end up socialising with my mum-and her friends sometimes, too. Got to take a social life where you can find it! Thanks for commenting.

  28. Kaylie says:

    There’s nothing worse than feeling like the outsider, when I finally was ready to go to the baby groups everyone already knew each other and I didn’t know how to go about being part of the mummy group.
    Thankfully, one of the mummy group members invited me for coffee and to meet everyone else, and they were all lovely, but it took a long while to feel like a part of the group and even now they have conversations about conversations they’ve had and I think hmm I wasn’t part of that they must have a different group Facebook chat!
    Children are great ice breakers though, and if you’ve not found some mummy friends already maybe have a look for your local children’s centre and see if they do weekend get togethers?
    You’ve got a mummy friend in me if you want it 🙂

    1. Min says:

      Thank you, that’s very sweet! You’re right about children being great ice-breakers. I’ve never had so many people talk to me on the bus! I will keep an eye out for weekend get-togethers. The local children’s centre has closed, but there are other things going on so there’s bound to be something. Thanks for the tip!

  29. Mum Rambles says:

    I could have written this post! Last year we moved back to my home town to be near my family with the new baby. I’d made some amazing mummy friends during my pregnancy, and more crucially, those early newborn weeks. After we moved I spent months and months trying to find new mummy friends, trying to fit in with groups that were already established, and pined for everything I used to know (including ACTUAL ROOMS FOR BREASTFEEDING). Funnily enough, we ended up moving back – yesterday actually. Less than 24 hours in and couldn’t be happier already.

    It’s a real struggle to find friends when you’re the new one. It was all so easy when everyone was in the same shit-scared boat with a newborn dangling off your boobs constantly and wondering what the hell to do next! Xx

    1. Min says:

      That is so true. There’s such a sense of camaraderie during the newborn stages, and I was lucky that there were a few of us at work having babies around the same time, plus I had my NCT group (who are still a source of support and info, even from 120 miles away!) but it is harder now. I work full time as well so don’t do the whole baby and toddler group thing. Glad to hear you’re happier now. x

  30. Davina says:

    I struggle with this one too. Most of my friends don’t have babies and I’m so shy when it comes to making new friends. I have a total of two mummy friends and I don’t see either of them very much because we are all always working. So I’m always at the park by myself too :(.

    1. Min says:

      It’s hard isn’t it. I have found some mummy friends online though, which makes things easier.

  31. Emma T says:

    I feel this even though my son’s been at school for a year and I have NCT friends. The issue is largely if you work.

    My NCT friends were great until maternity leave ended. Then I worked full time, and they were either part time or didn’t work. Then they had further babies so more time off together. Now the kids are at school, baby showers are no longer required, so I only see them for the occasional night out.

    School is hard to make friends unless you do standard drop off and pick up (N is in morning club where literally every parent is in a rush if you even crossover, and I do 1 pick up). He’s just started tennis club though so I’m hoping I’ll get to know a few more of the parents there). I’m lucky in that I do have friends, but they were friends prior to babies, some now have similar aged babies so we go out occasionally with them, and I go camping once a year with farming mums and all the kids.

    But day to day, it’s hard.

    I’d say, take them swimming, go to play groups, or volunteer for your local NCT. I’ve just finished the latter, but it’s great being on the committee and making friends there although hard if you’ve got no help with childcare for events or meetings. Otherwise, it will improve by school if you’re around in the playground and not scared to talk to people at parties

    1. Min says:

      I don’t know how it’s going to go with school. I’ll never be out of work early enough to pick him up, so my mother will be doing all the drop offs and pick ups I suspect! I do take Piglet swimming, and I have also met one mum through nursery, which is fab.

  32. Kate says:

    Omg I literally wore skinny jeans and a Boden top yesterday! Don’t talk to me about sleepless nights though I can’t think of anything more tedious, tell me about your wild stories pre baby or your hopes and dreams and I’ll be your friend. We can spill our Starbucks together while trying to balance scooters ☺️

    1. Min says:

      Haha, I can barely remember my wild stories pre-baby! And I’m pretty sure there were lots.

  33. I just found this post in Twitter and can’t agree more than I do! Once I told a mum-to-be friend that she had to learn that despite you get a baby, maternity is a lonely experience. She called me a few months later to give me the reason. Even if you have pre-maternity friends, it is soooo true that your mother will be more socially busy than you! I only thank Whatsapp and social media, I cannot see my friends often (maybe every 3-4 months?) but we are in touch. Sad, I know.

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