I’ve always been a social bee and don’t love my own company. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited about being a mother – I never needed to be on my own again!
Big D and Little D are now my two partners in crime. As Big D tells me in her beautiful high pitched voice – we’re like the Chipmunks!! (although I was thinking a little more Dream Girls). Little do they know that in 15 years’ time I’ll probably be the last person in the world they want to hang out with. But for now we’re bound together like glue!
Before the girls arrived I had a great big social group of buddies all hanging out like a slightly uncool Made in Chelsea. We thought we were the bomb (didn’t we all?), all gypsy skirt wearing with big scruffy blonde hair, trying our hardest to look like Sienna Miller (and in my case failing supremely). Those were the days!
Suddenly life got serious. I met a boy, got married, got a home and a family. And here I am and it’s a happy place! Am I a different person to before children?…YES! I used to kick my heels up on a night out. Now I choose nights in watching OJ and scribbling blogs in the hope that somebody out there enjoys reading them and perhaps finds comfort that we’re all in the same boat.
Having a family has been the biggest test of friendships over the last few years. I was one of the first in my group of buddies to get, in the words of Bridget Jones, sprogged up! So I fell hard down the baby black hole, with my social life in tatters and all down to this new little cuddly creature (Big D).
Life carried on without us. Weddings were missed, parties replaced by early nights and freedom was something of the past. Your precious pud now controls you 24/7 and there is nothing you can do to fight this totally natural evolution.
Different stages. Friends that are not in the baby phase yet can’t quite get their head round your new-found responsibility. Popping for a spontaneous G&T somewhere just isn’t an option. In their eyes you’ve become a touch steady. One of my most treasured friends will often ask me out an hour before the event in the hope that I can make a quick turnaround like the old days. Alas, it doesn’t work like that anymore. On the flip side, I’m forever guilty for not taking the time to get organised to see such a precious friend so she isn’t left feeling so neglected and abandoned.
Mother & Nature. A lot of my friends fled the big city to the countryside as soon as the reality of family life revealed itself. In search of a healthier life, more space, greenery and grandmother just around the corner to help pick up some of the slack! So we said goodbye to them. A once a week supper soon becomes a quarterly catch up. The reality of traveling the country with little ones in tow isn’t something you can do every weekend – and inflicting a family of four on friends isn’t always a welcomed option.
A Whole New World. The friends that have kids the same age as you but seem hell-bent on casually discarding you in search of new friends. NCT lends itself to this model – as new parents practically speed-date one another in search of other new parents in the hope that they’ll be P.L.U. (People Like Us!). It also seems prevalent at the nursery/school gates. I’ve never been so keen on social climbers and I’ve found children can really enhance this slightly untrustworthy behavioral pattern.
When your kids just don’t get on. This is a new phase I find myself in, although I have little patience for it when it comes to my own daughters’ selective streaming of friends. I’d love to hang out with my own sister and her new babe and Cousin O all day long but I understand that Big D wants to play with kiddos her own age or do slightly different activities. These fickle, fierce, four year old’s are a force to be reckoned with and they know exactly what they want.
So as I climb out of the baby phase, I’m so pleased to have survived and kept by and large my amazing friendship group intact. There has been a bucket load of guilt, a lot of patience and far fewer nights out. But true friends get tough when the going gets tougher and accept your changes. Real friends love seeing you grow and become someone slightly different.
I love to make new friends and meet interesting people and I’ve been so fortunate to pick up some great buddies along the way, especially at nursery. I’m looking forward to meeting new friends when Big D starts school – although I’m a bit nervous for the both of us! Nothing quite beats a belly laugh with your besties. When your child has vomited all down you they’re more likely to pass you a glass of wine than a muslin and remind you of the time you did that in your handbag.
So when my kids start hanging out thinking they too live on the set of Made in Chelsea, I’ll need my friends to calm me down and remind me that I used to be just like that when I was young!
Bringing up children can be hard at times but hard times reveal true friends – new or old.
Love Mummy B