Waiting for my phone to beep, I’ve looked at it 6 times in the last 10 minutes.... I feel ridiculously nervous. I think I felt a good connection, hope the feeling was mutual? Did I do the right thing initiating conversation first?
This might sound like a painful scenario from your early dating years but this situation is common to many mummies in search of their MFF (mum friend forever).
In reality, this was me awaiting a text from a cool mum I met recently. In truth, since moving, country/city/home and leaving my tight circle of girlfriends in Toronto I’ve found it hard to make new friends.
If I was to post a very honest advert to find mummy friends it would go a little something like this:
30-something mummy of 4 seeking mummy friends.
Experience of potty training, kiddie meltdowns, positive parenting, sleep deprivation, sibling rivalry, kiddie meal planning...desired but not essential.
More importantly - (Qualities)
- loves the great outdoors (because being outside is my #1 survival strategy to being a mum of 4 (my brood are calmer outside, nature is a great baby sitter and best of all... fresh air makes them sleep!)
- understands that 4 babies, 5 sleep-deprived years later, my mind is often scrambled, intelligent conversation, or in fact, just basic conversation can be a stretch.
- loves tea, because there is not much you can’t resolve over a good strong cup of tea
- thinks rural homestead living sounds interesting rather than a little crazy, (what do you mean you’re 30 min from the nearest coffee shop..!
Needed for: Sisterhood in the face of life and parenthood.
Because we all need our person/s who:
- You can pick up the phone and they’ll be on your door step shortly after with soup/coffee/chocolate/ a hug/ a friendly smile/ whatever is required (and you would do the same for them in a heart beat).
- You can slug strong coffee with in the face of sleep deprivation.
- Agrees peanut butter sandwiches on the patio on a tough day 'is dinner' and brings their little people over to join yours in the dinning experience.
- You can share your crazy ideas and hobbies with and get excited about each others’ projects. Loves all the things about you that others find slightly odd (that I get ridiculously excited about bulk food shopping, mason jars and a good tofu scramble!)
I was drawn to blogging to share honest posts about life, parenting and lifestyle choices. But for some reason this is a post I have really debated about sharing, for a couple of reasons. First, total honesty leaves you emotionally vulnerable. Second, it involves admitting it to myself and others, but just in case you are/have felt similarly, I do hope it might just make you feel better that it’s not 'just you'.
I am in complete awe of my 4-year-old daughter who without inhibition will talk to all the kiddies she meets in the park. Within minutes of a new meeting she will casually suggest 'shall we be friends’?
Gosh how envious I am of her ability and confidence to do this. I just wish it was as easy for me to make friends. If we could just bypass all the rules, awkwardness and social etiquette involved, bypass the first few initial get together's and just get straight to the deep nourishing friendship part, wouldn’t that be great.
But unfortunately, there are no quick fix’s, making friends as an adult/busy mum can be hard. Seeking out and creating opportunities to make new friends when your energy levels and, often, your confidence are low can be near impossible. But we all need to find our tribe! The people who sustain us, inspire us, love us for who we are. We all need our network, our best friends, it’s kind of imperative to surviving the early parenting years.
Finding a new MFF can resemble a dating scenario in that we are looking for 'the one'. With all the effort and disappointment along the way as you try to find them. That one mummy friend who will change your life.
Have you ever experienced meeting a new mum in the park, you immediately feel a great connection with but then there's this awkward feeling, should you suggest exchanging phone numbers? If you do find the courage to ask, next comes the anticipation...waiting for your phone to beep, awaiting a response to affirm that yes, the feeling of connection was in fact mutual.
Our life has been somewhat nomadic for the last 5 years – New Delhi, Toronto, now Portland - but previously wherever we landed I managed to build myself a community of like-minded friends quite quickly.
Naively, I imagined this move would be the same, that we would arrive and quickly I would find my people and all would be well with the world. Portland...the vegan capital of the world, a green eco-conscious Mecca, I felt like I was coming home. But as the days became weeks and then months I must admit I have been incredibly lonely.
As women and mothers, we grow, we evolve, we shift roles, we move countries. Being lonely can happen.
In recent months I actually began to dread going to playgrounds, because when I did I was confronted by the reality that everyone else seemed to know someone but me (or that’s how it felt). Groups of mummies sharing batches of homemade blueberry muffins on picnic blankets, gatherings of mums at the sand box catching up while clutching lattes from the local coffee shop.
Standing alone in those moments over-hearing their conversations and laughter, I often found it all too much, envious of their relationship, the mutual support, the companionship. It became a vicious cycle, I would go out with the kids to meet people (make other mummy friends) but being out and alone only made me feel lonelier.
I am aware, but totally out of control of the fact, that recently - depending on my level of sleep deprivation - I’ve become one of two mummies in the playground.
1) that 'slightly irritating', over chatty mum that at the swings tries to engage you in conversation by passing comment about the weather, or maybe using my fav line 'do you live in the neighborhood'?
You were perhaps just wanting some one-on-one time with your kiddie, not a conversation about the weather, but for me you were the only adult I had talked too all day (12 hours and counting!!!!) I apologize.
2) the distant one, because I’m exhausted and probably emotional and battling a huge lump in my throat.
Since we moved to our new home, I’ve been investing lots of time and energy in trying to connect with more local mums. My social life is now like a series of blind dates, car park/ playground meet ups, nervously asking 'are you so and so....' as we meet for the first time.
So, 6 months in do I have any advice? Maybe just this. I think the key is, like dating, you just keep trying, keep putting yourself out there, and try not to take things personally.
My hunt for my tribe continues.
What’s your experience of making new mummy friends? Have you ever experienced loneliness? I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for poping in