It’s not an exclusive club you know, this being a mum lark but some people think that it is (and funnily enough I used to think this). I go to toddler groups and funnily enough grandparents and childminders are also allowed to go along (who would’ve thought it!) but at the end of the day we are all carers for those little rugrats.
I have been meaning to write a blog about this subject for quite a while, but I was a tad worried how to word it politically correct. With all these snowflakes getting offended for various reasons I was worried I would word it wrong or say the wrong thing. I mean I shouldn’t really, because freedom of speech and all that and being an (unofficial) blogger (come on, let’s be honest…when are other bloggers careful what they say?)
Admittedly when I first fell pregnant I was keen to do all the groups and antenatal classes, meet other expecting mums, make local friends and all the other stuff that a lot of women like to do. My friends that I had before William are the same age as me but their children are all older, I am an older mum and I sometimes forget that fellow mums of children that are Williams age start from their early 20s up to their mid 30s so when I find one near my age I get clingy, now THAT I’m actually kidding about (or am I????)
As William was born 12 weeks early (if you didn’t know that by now, then you’re new to my blog, ‘hi’ *waves*) all the courses that we had signed up for seemed to be insignificant to our journey with our little preemie boy. However we thought we would go on the First Aid course as we knew that this could end up being invaluable and useful to us. However, this was harder than I thought, not the first aid bit but talking to other mums that were heavily pregnant like I should’ve been if I’d had a third trimester…they were friendly enough but it wasn’t quite the same as comparing-whilst-pregnant.
While I was in hospital I met other mums, fellow mums of preemie babies and I struck a friendship with a couple of them which was lovely but they weren’t local enough to see them on a regular basis. It was nice to see them whilst we were all on maternity leave, and to support each other through the tough times as we were all in the same boat and not a lot of other parents understood what we were going through. But as we all went back to work and the maternity leave finished and the lifestyles changes, weekends seem to be precious and all we wanted was to just spend time with our own families.
I met other mums of children the same age as William, didn’t really take to them if I’m honest sometimes because they were a lot younger than me with much more energy (ergh as if?) and sometimes I just didn’t have anything I common with them. But it took me a while, but eventually I got to the point where I wondered if I actually needed any mum friends as I already had my own friends, I considered myself pretty outgoing and chatted to people throughout the journey. William and I tried different groups, like Jiggy Wrigglers and Sing and Sign which we enjoyed going to and meeting fellow parents and their children.
At the same time we were taking William swimming, he loved being in the water and splashing about in the hydrotherapy pool with his little friends. We would chat casually to another couple who were also attending this session with their little boy Harley, they were a lovely couple (Michaela & Craig). We did the usual thing of hooking up on facebook and going from there, Harley is 6 months Williams junior and they played so well together.
Michaela has become a great friend since we met and we have been there for each other in more ways than one (apparently I helped her get a job, but she did that herself), the boys will always play well together (they both love cars!) and we have spent many hours at Paultons park (aka Peppa Pig World) trying to keep up with them or a local soft play where they tire us both out! Unfortunately we don’t live walking distance of each other (although a 15/20 minute drive), so the boys won’t end up going to school together so we will be making a conscientious effort to spend time together as the boys get older (I hope).
Being a mum can go either way, you can make it a cliche or not. There’s no rules to say you have to make friends with other mums and go to groups, and there’s no rules to tell you how to bring up your child. I felt the pressure to be friends with fellow mums because my friends all have older children, but this was because years ago when their social life was taken up with other parents that they were friends with I would sometimes feel left out of it and felt like I would need that when I have children. However I now think I’ve got a stage where I don’t need to worry about that. I have my own friends that I’ve made through life and it’s a bonus if I meet any mums anywhere with children that get on well with William.
I spend a lot of time watching and listening to fellow mums and/or friends because I would see how well their children played and learn from them (including my mum as I was the perfect child (which goes without saying).
This has been a lesson that has made me realise how lucky I am to have the friends I have had for many years before I had William, these that have been around me since my younger adulthood days. The ones that know how I feel without me saying so, and I wish I could see them more regularly but it’s funny how my life has changed like theirs once had and now I’m beginning to realise that you make friends because you like the person, not because their off spring maybe connected to yours somehow.
So even though I’m envious of mums that have close fellow mum friends with children the same age that they see on a regular basis, I’m very grateful for the other relationships I have. As well as having a network of advice which has been amazing their children are all potential babysitters in years to come.
As for William, I don’t think it even bothers him. He’s happy playing with his mummy, he especially loves it when I chase him around and tickle him when I catch him (and yes, I completely disagree with Russell Brands remarks on the subject of tickling especially as William also says ‘more’ or ‘again’)