The agony and the ecstasy of making new mum friends

Making New Mum Friends | www.toiletsarentforturtles.com

My palms are sweaty.  Knees creak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on my sweater already – my kid’s spaghetti … I’m nervous, but on the surface I look calm and ready…

But this is the third time you’ve seen her here, and if you don’t say ‘hi’ then shit is gonna get weird.

Too late.

It’s already weird – she’s caught you staring at her. AGAIN.  But she’s wearing those cool boots, and you’ve never seen that nappy bag in that colour before. Plus you’re in awe of the way she just swore so profusely under her breath at the barista for putting too much foam on her flat white, through a smile as bright as the sun.

“It’s a flat white not a fucking latte, you goddamn hairy hipster.”

Oh shit. You’ve just scored yourself a mum crush.

Welcome to the agony and the ecstasy of making new mum friends.

Flashback to high school

As a little kid, making friends comes down to only two or three factors – is this person a similar size to me? Does this person like running around and yelling for no reason? Is this person in the same place as me right at this very moment?  Answer ‘yes’ to all three questions and it’s game on.

Making new mum friends | www.toiletsarentforturtles.comFast forward a few years and the emo teen years can begin to stomp all over your self-esteem like a pair of 12-hole Doc Martin boots.

Making friends becomes a much trickier prospect. Bitchiness is rampant and mean girls are everywhere. You begin to feel judged about everything from your fashion sense to your family’s car, and learning who you can trust and who is likely to stab you in the back is harder than you might think.

Making grown-up friends is even worse

Trying to make friends as a mum is, like, the worst.

Even though you are now officially in charge of keeping various small humans alive, making new friends as a mum can still feel like one of your biggest challenges.

There’s still plenty of judgement (whether real or perceived), there are cliques, there are the ‘cool mums’, and there are strange rules that you may never understand.

But then one day it happens – you finally work up the courage to start up a conversation with a mum you’ve had your eye on for a while, and you click. Sparks fly, conversation flows, and all of a sudden you’re basking in the warm glow of a mum crush.

Worse than dating

These magical moments never last long. There’s always an arse to be wiped, or a Band-Aid to be applied to an imaginary wound. You swap numbers, promising to catch up again soon.

Days go by and nothing … why hasn’t she messaged? Did you go in too hard too fast, talking about your cracked nipples? Is she waiting for you to make the first move? Or is she just not that into you?

You think about Facebook friending her, but then you realise you don’t even know her last name … and you don’t think “Sally, Ethan’s mum” would produce any meaningful online search results.

It’s agony. The waiting. The not knowing.

Making new mum friends | www.toiletsarentforturtles.comThen, just when you’ve all but given up hope – ‘DING!’ A text message asking to set up another (play)date.

YASSSSS!

Too good to be true?

But then she cancels. Not once, but twice. And then you have to cancel. Bloody kids, ruining everything.

You start to second-guess what you had. Was it real? Did you imagine it?

But then – finally – after only 17 cancelled and rescheduled dates, you meet up again. And it is glorious. She is you. She is you, with a nice bag and great boots. You even having matching vomit on your tops.

This. Is. Really. Happening!

The ‘big reveal’

But now the anxiety sets in again.  You went into this relationship guns blazing, with your funniest anecdotes of parenting mishaps, your wittiest remarks about the current political situation, and your most intelligent responses to questions about school catchment areas.

So when is the right time to show her the real you?  The you that thought it was Tuesday until 4.30pm on Wednesday, and subsequently fucked up a whole lotta people’s days? The you that doesn’t actually give two shits about whether the local indoor play centre serves locally sourced organic food options, but is very concerned that it doesn’t have a bar? The you that is watching First Dates while everyone else is watching House of Cards?

It is a complicated dance, this big reveal.

Slowly, painstakingly, piece-by-piece, you each remove your various bits of ‘mum-armour’, until you’re standing together, exposed and vulnerable, with all of your scars and flaws and insecurities on display.

And then you laugh ‘til you cry, or cry ‘til you laugh.

Making new mum friends | www.toiletsarentforturtles.comThis, my friends, is the moment of ecstasy we are all searching for in our hunt for new mum friends. That moment of true connection with a new friend who likes you – in the words of Mark Darcy – just as you are.

 

Did you find it difficult to make new friends as a mum? Or did having kids make it easier?

 

This post was first published on Kidspot.

33 comments

  • I hear you! Making new friends as a mum is a challenge for me, it was easier before. But it’s fun to be friends with other mums and share things about your kids. x

  • Those Doc Martin boots!!!!!! Gosh, it feels like yesterday. I’ve recently made a few new friends too and it really has been such fun getting to know them.
    Tonia Zemek recently posted…It’s just like riding a bikeMy Profile

  • Yup. Totally get this. I don’t think I ever had problems making friends in my 20’s and 30’s…pre-kids. Then, bam! Social anxiety kicked in and it just got worse with the boys starting primary school! I get a serious case of FOMO during drop offs and pick ups.
    Grace recently posted…FYBF – From Moonboot to medalMy Profile

    • Yes and I think the instinct to compare and judge ourselves against all the other mums is probably to blame! I really need to stop doing that…

  • Oh so true, it’s never easy.I find it excruciating. Cheese starting preschool means a whole new big group of adults I have to get to know – it’s like being at school again. “Why isn’t that person messaging me back?” “Oh shit I shouldn’t have said that, they’re going to think I’m weird” and so on. AGONYYYYYYYYY.

  • This is spot on and I tell you what, I’m secretly freaking out about the start of prep next year as I feel like I have to start over. I’m really no good at making friends with Mums I’ve met at kindy or playgroup, I get so damn nervous about letting out the real me, I tend to stay quite closed. A playgroup I attended a couple of years ago had a great group of mums who I go on with and a few of them went on to become really close. I went on a girls night with them on one occasion but I often wonder to myself if I didn’t become ‘part’ of their group because I was always too busy with work or if I held back too much. Making mum friends is hard, the putting yourself out there is the part I find extremely difficult.
    Eva Lewis recently posted…I Am A Symptom of Corporate Australia’s Lack of Support For Working MothersMy Profile

    • I really struggle with it too Eva, and am freaking out about my eldest starting school next year. I’ll either be completely awkward and shy and not say anything, or have too much coffee and go the complete opposite way and be all ‘jazz-hands’ and freak people out!!

  • OH MATE, this is so spot on. I’m a shocker for the mum crush, and also giving out nicknames, such as “mum I love” or “cool-shoes mum” or “tattoo mum”. I think it’s because cool mums are SO FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. Here’s a confession: I’m having coffee with one of my mum crushes next week. I AM MORE NERVOUS THAN A FIRST DATE. I’m worried I’ve Face-stalked her too much and know too much about her. She’ll be like, oh, my eldest is at school, and I’ll say, “Oh Charlie? In year 3? With Mrs Elton?” Send help?
    Lisa | The Notorious MUM recently posted…God only knows (what I’d be without you)My Profile

  • I find the playground small talk nerve wracking and tend to do the dark glasses and look at my shoes thang due to inherent shyness and social anxiety. But in saying that, my dearest and closest friends were all brought to me by my children.

  • Nailed it! I was blessed with a wonderful mums’ group and a lot of us are still in each other’s lives. But people have moved, other things have changed, and now there are only two of the kids at the same school. It’s been hard to make friends at my daughter’s school – not hard to chat and generally have a good time at drop-off and pick-up, but certainly to go beyond that and actually know anything worth knowing about each other.
    Oh well. I’ve still got ten more years at this school. I’m sure I’ll make some actual, real friends! Right?!
    Emily recently posted…#IKidneyCheck because… (Kidney Health Week, May 22-28)My Profile

    • I guess it’s easy because you always have at least one thing in common (your kids), but harder because everyone is so time poor and stretched that it’s difficult to make a ‘real’ connection.

  • “The you that doesn’t actually give two shits about whether the local indoor play centre serves locally sourced organic food options, but is very concerned that it doesn’t have a bar?” – you’re my kind of mum Mumma McD! Having kids has made meeting and talking to other mums easier but finding that genuine connection is tough amongst the chaos of life with toddlers. I’m lucky enough to have a brilliant mums group. I can call them all genuine friends as we’ve seen each other through ups, downs and every thing in between!
    Tash @ Gift Grapevine recently posted…Help! My little boy is growing upMy Profile

  • I struggle a bit with this. I moved about 3.5yrs ago to a town where I had a couple of relatives but that was it. I made my closest friend via social media and our first meeting was akin to a blind date. She is a mum so has met some other mums now through her son – day care and at parks etc…

    I didn’t work for the first couple of years (worked from home) so had to force myself to go to networking events to see others and have some human contact. I’m also the sort of person however, who doesn’t need A LOT of friends. I’ve got stacks from my old life and a couple of close friends now and then there are the acquaintances I see from time to time. And that’s enough for me.
    Deborah recently posted…I didn’t buy a zoo. But I joined a gymMy Profile

  • Naomi

    Spot on. It’s harder I think as I don’t have the brain for intelligent conversation when I’ve got the baby with me. I’ve just come back from a baby group where I asked a mum her baby’s name twice in five minutes (it was Nina) and then realising, panicked and asked ‘How do you spell that? Oh, just the normal way?’ for silence filler.

    Nice to know the mutual cancelling of dates isn’t just my life though!

  • In some ways it’s easier, and in some ways harder. I think there’s a golden age, when they first start school and you can make friends with the parents of your kids friends that it’s easy. Before that it’s a harder and once they reach upper primary school it’s almost impossible. But you do what you can I guess to be freinds with the parents of your kids friends. If nothing else but to know who they are hangingout with.
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…That’s Enough #IBOTMy Profile

  • I’ve found it really hard. Being a working mum, for the first 4 years I wasn’t the one doing any kinds of drop offs and pick ups so never saw any of the kindy mums. Now I see them but I’m in a rush so I just smile shyly and run out the door. I’ve never been good at small talk which doesn’t help! My youngest was invited to a birthday party this weekend but I’m terrified to attend so I’m double guessing whether I will take him …
    Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers recently posted…Your Voice, Your Story – How I Escaped a Violent MarriageMy Profile

  • I’ve found that having kids at school has opened a world of new friendships. It’s just a matter of giving time to the old friendships as well that I struggle with!
    Robyna | the Mummy & the Minx recently posted…Two Year Olds – Tiny Drunk HumansMy Profile

  • This is so true. It is really hard making friends as an adult. I recently wrote about please be as weird as me.
    It can be really overwhelming making friends especially if it is something that you struggled with earlier in life like I did.
    kit@lifethroughthehaze recently posted…Taming the TigerMy Profile

  • Ha ha! I’ve made saying stupid things to mothers I’m trying to befriend into an Olympic sport! Have also overshared with the cracked nipples story. Sigh…
    Melinda recently posted…How to Cope With A Hangover: Parents’ Edition.My Profile

  • It’s harder to maintain friendships as an adult too I think. Life gets in the way so much more. Also I recently got kicked out of an online friendship group because I was friends with someone the admin didn’t like. Sometimes being an adult doesn’t feel all that far from being a teenager!
    Tegan recently posted…Why I’m investigating my son’s quirksMy Profile

  • Making friends as an adult is so much harder than making friends as a kid! Doing it as a mum does make it slightly easier but still totally nerve wracking when you’re an introvert like me!
    Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life recently posted…Kimono Style Jacket LoveMy Profile

  • Brilliant post. Perfectly captured. My girls are 11 and almost 13. I finally found my “friends for life” group when my oldest found her bestie in grade 3. Her mom brought me into a wonderful group of women and I left my old group of friends who were really just the moms of my younger daughter’s friends but I never felt 100% in the group. You know it when you find it!
    Deb @ inner compass designs recently posted…Are you holding yourself back?My Profile

  • I think you are one of my mum crushes. *blushes*

  • Find it harder with the high school mums – just trying to even pin anyone down is a task…

  • Oh this is so true! My eldest started school this year and we’ve both had to make friends together – him with the kids and me with the mums! So nerve-wracking. #TeamIBOT
    Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side recently posted…An Important Lesson: How To Teach Your Kids To Be FrugalMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge