As soon as I found out I was expecting Penny, I decided that I wanted to be a stay at home mum. I was in my final semester of university, so ‘between jobs’ anyway. My older children were 10 and 12 at the time and I had gone back to work quite soon after then had been born. It’s something I’d always regretted though. This time I wanted to have more time with my new child. A time to bond and appreciate every milestone. I envisioned lunches and play dates with new mummy friends as well as baby activities. Once Penny was born I threw myself into my mission to make new friends for both myself and for Penny. But I hit a snag. Making friends as an adult is hard work. It’s even harder when you have a baby who is mobile a long time before others her age. Lunches have become a mini nightmare and its sometimes hard to explain why my 9 month old bruiser was using their fragile first born as a step ladder and pulling at clothes/ears/hair in order to stand up and run away.
I suppose I imagined the scene above, but with prams and babies playing together. Meeting up for a late breakfast, discussing the joys and woes of motherhood. Putting the world to rights. I suppose my dream was a little too idealistic. I assumed that having babies the same age would be an instant ‘way in’ for want of a better term, but it’s just not that easy. I’ve tried. I promise I have, I just find it so hard to strike up conversations with new people. I’ve tried pretending I’m confident in the hopes that I come across as a person that people would like to be friends with. I think I might come across as more scary and desperate, than confident and friendly however.
I read a blog a little while ago called ‘Speed Mumming’ by Amie over at Bump, Baby & Me and it really hit home. It was like she was reading my mind. I recommend popping over and having a read, even if you don’t have the same problem with meeting mummy friends as I do. It might give you a little insight into what’s actually going on with that mum sat alone in the park, or the one who rushes off after (insert appropriate) class without making eye contact. The one who says hiya, and that’s it. Is she being stuck up? Judgey? Bitchy even? Or could it be more than that? I’ve been that mum for quite a few years. When my older children were in primary school I found it very hard to make mum friends. I told myself it was because I was working full time but I noticed after reflecting on this a good few years later, that I actually didn’t have any work friends either. Those I did have were made as a child/teenager when life was waaaaaaaay more simple.Things had to change!
I hit up Netmums to see what they said on the matter. And yes I did simply type in ‘How to make mummy friends’ and got a few hits. Clearly this is a problem that affects more than just me? Reading through the suggestions, I saw some things that I was already doing.
- Don’t write anyone off at first glance- I try hard not to with this one. I will talk to anyone who wants to talk to me.
- Visit a few baby classes and go regularly. This I do. We did swimming (which to be fair has fallen by the wayside this summer, but we will be back this Friday for sure), Baby sensory, Sing & Sign, Walking mums etc.
- “Be prepared to make the first move. It can be hard at first but with a little practise it gets easier. Look for mums on their own with children. They are almost certainly as bored as you and in need of a little adult company. Open a conversation with a mum at the park or the coffee shop or the nursery” –This one is where I stumble. I have on some occasions made the first move, but it scares the hell out of me to the point I’m a sweating, babbling mess. I mean, thats attractive to a potential new friend right?
Sometimes the hardest part about approaching other mums is knowing what to say, so I am sharing this part from the netmums page. Conversation opener suggestions.
No one can resist a compliment about their child and you can always find something special to say about every child. And mostly everyone likes to be asked their advice.
- Smile and say hello – to anyone and everyone – its gets easier with practice.
- “Gorgeous baby…what amazing hair/eyes/smile ?”
- “How old is your baby/child/little one?”
- “Whats his/her name? I’m Sally by the way”
- “Is this your first?”
- “Have you been coming here long?”
- “Do you come here often” (see? Just like the dating game!)
- Where else do you go?
- Does your little one go to pre-school yet?
- What school do your/ will your children go to?
- Where do you go on rainy days?
- Do you go to any (other ) groups? Would you recommend it? Is there a waiting list?
- “Our children seem to be getting along really well – shall we meet up again next week so they can play?”
Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other suggestions? I seriously need all the help I can get.