The Mummy friends(48 Posts)
Ok, here's the scoop. I'm finding a lot of the 'mummy friends' I've met since having the kids - brace yourselves, it sounds bad - are fake, not real or true. I'm sure many might say exactly that of me. Or perhaps it's not them, or me, but the situation we all just find ourselves in. A life-stage thing.
Friends simply because we have kids. That's the entry point. Do you ever get deeper? I find that I can't. I really do try to talk about other things that are not always school/domestic related, but it seems their appetite for other material is not there - I don't mean politics or hard work talk but past experiences/hopes/dreams/views.
I guess it's the pretence I'm feeling. Everyone trying to portray that they're doing everything great. And there seems to be a bit of judging going on with no one able to really be honest and open.
It could very well be me and my own shortcomings that make me feel this way, and the fact that i'm in a new town and making friends anew.
And there are the dinner parties. A whole dinner party cycle going on round here where everyone just talks about schools and kids and its all rather la de da, keeping up with the jones' and then taking it in turns to get out the best china and napkin rings to do it all again (Sorry, but that really is how it is).
Please help shed some light, some sanity or, if you must, scolding true MN style.
Aright, WorraLiberty - no need to over-egg the pudding....! Enough with the puking and being sick. We get it.
I didn't get on with my NCT group - I mean I did, they were fine, but I didn't have enough in common with any of them to be true friends. My best friend of 35 years had her PFB 3 weeks before I had mine, so we were lucky to have each other in the early horror days and beyond.
But I can absolutely see why people get enjoyment out of meeting other new mothers in the same boat, and I know for a fact that while it doesn't really pan out long-term for many people (i.e. me) lots of lifelong friendships are forged with fellow Mum friends for other people. Lucky them.
You sound a bit intense. If one if my ''mummy friends" started trying to have a deep and meaningful with me I'd run a mile. I'm quite happy to keep things on a superficial level actually.
You're obviously buying into the shite if you've become part of the dinner party circuit. But a sense of something - ego? Insecurity? Makes you sneer at it.
I think there are different types of friends. I made lots of 'mummy friends' with dc1 and a few less with dc2. They worked well at the time and most of them I stop and chat to if I see but are no longer people I make the effort to see regularly. Despite enjoying their company at the time, it worked because we had children at the same stages. With dc now 12 and 9, I realise I have made one lifelong really close friend from each pregnancy and so have two close friends to add to my pre-children friends.
Perhaps enjoy them for what they are and one or two may turn into 'proper' friends and see it as a bonus if they do.
Whenever you meet a new group of people, it always stays superficial for a while, then you just click with one or two, and you may develop a friendship with those outside the group. You are not going to be best mates with all of them...
As to napkin rings
I've come to view the other mothers that I meet though my DC's almost in the way I used to view work colleagues. I don't expect to become lifelong friends with everyone who comes round for coffee anymore than I expected to become best mates with the person I sat across a desk from everyday. I'm friendly towards them, offer to help them out with stuff if they need help, accept social invitations and generally get along with them.
I've had mums who practically lived at my house while our kids were friends at pre school and then never saw them again once the kids started primary school in different classes and the mum throws herself into networking with all the new mums!
But occasionally you just click with someone and a gradual mutual friendship developers. I have three wonderful close friends I made during my working life but I must have worked with hundreds of different people over the 20 years I worked in Banking.
I've got one close friend that I've made through my kids since becoming a SAHM 6 years ago and we've only become friends in the last two years.
Thank you pour, beachy, angels - really helpful perspectives.
I quite liked having a little group of 'superficial' friends from NCT for the year after DD was born. We used to meet up weekly and just kind of look at each other in a stunned way and the deepest debate was pretty much whether it was worth going to the park. It was really nice.
I do stay in touch with just one of them, 14 years later and the brilliant thing about this friendship is that she is so different from the kind of person I would usually meet. To be honest, 14 years ago all we had in common was the children, but now we have loads of history too and caring about someone with completely different political / environmental / parenting views has been life enriching. Perhaps give it time OP - the most surprising people might turn out to be good friends.
It's easy to over-analyse. My kids are one and three, I've a couple of genuine friends I've met at playgroups, a few acquaintances, same as through work etc. It isn't something I really think about.
As for fakery - it's too hard to put on an act. Be honest, be yourself, if they like it great, if not, don't worry about it!
Isn't there something about friends being in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Just accept they are in your life for a reason, enjoy their company for what it is and don't worry about it not becoming a lifelong friendship.
I've met two mums since having DD and I have just the same friendships with them that I do with my other friends. We do stuff with the kids, go out on our own and talk about other stuff apart from children. I fond the idea of having 'mummy friends' who are basically not really 'friends' a bit strange really.
Nice if you can keep old friends, but if you move a long way away (try 10,500 miles) then y'know, "mummy" friends can be very helpful in settling in.
I have made friends among the mums I have met through playgroup. Some of them were only of the "chat to at playgroup but never see outside" variety; others were more of the "we must get together to have coffee" variety, and a few have become the "sob on each others' shoulders when necessary" variety.
In any group you should find people of each of these (or similar) groups - if not, move on, try other groups.
But I have lived here for 3.6 years now; it's taken a while to get to really know some of the friends I have, and a couple of them it's been quite quick. All depends on who you click with! And believe me, our conversations range all over the place, including politics (although we're a bit careful with that one )
I think it's just as daft to despise women just for being other mums as it is to expect to become best buddies with them - in the end, they're all just people, like you are - with their own interests and contributions - some you'll like, and some you won't. See the ones you like; ignore the ones you don't
I do find your experience strange simply because conversation in itself is a moveable thing and hops from one thing to another in a stream of consiousness.
I dont see how a conversation esp at a dinner party with wine is corralled to only talking about children?
I have found that at anything where you have to go because you have a child, the talk starts with the DC then eventually moves on...
Ha - this sounds like some of my NCT group! Unfortunately we didn't have much in common, this happens.
I later (also through the NCT) met another group of mums, who were mainly also SAHMs like me and who had similar aged DCs. Several years later we are close, have had second babies together and get on very well.
I think you just need to meet more people...
Oi, you lot, I have a couple of mum-friends who live or have lived in Sunningdale and nowt fake about them - we discussed our childbirth stitches together in gruesome detail over a biscuit
or twelve after our DCs were born.
As you were.
I have had the same experience with feeling like I'm playing a bit of a role with NCT group 'friends'. The discussion of what babies' poo looks like/should look like, how much they're eating and when is really a bit tedious. I think I would get on with all if not most of them, if we could only get the conversation away from poo and milk!
It reminds me of freshers week actually now I think of it. Everyone desperately trying not to admit they're completely out of their depth...
Some of the older women I know have really close friends they met when they all had their children, so it obviously does work sometimes.
I had never heard of "mummy friends" before mumsnet.
I understand the idea now but I really can't get my head around the phrase.
I hate it when someone starts a thread about "mum friends" and these horrible scathing posts appear about how utterly nauseating it is to make friends with anyone else who has a child (usually with undertones insinuating that you must be pretty weak and pathetic to need any further friends for "support").
Like many other people, I had dc at least 5 years before my friends. We had recently moved so only a few lived anywhere near us and, erm, they were at work all day. And I was on mat leave for a year. So I could have enjoyed the scintillating company of baby ds all day and not talked to another adult or I could have made the shocking leap of acquiring some friends who were also not at work all day.
I have had friends that I enjoyed spending time with at school, university, work, various hobbies, and baby groups / school gate. Most of them were fairly superficial relationships and we didn't stay in touch when that phase of our lives were over. A few remained really good friends.
So, OP, I think this is pretty normal at all sorts of life stages. Maybe you've just been unlucky and not found anyone that "clicks" yet. Or maybe everyone's pretending and thinking the same thing! FWIW, my oldest dc is 6 and I have four or five really close friends from his early days who have been great fun and fantastic practical help that I wouldn't have got from anyone else. We go out for drinks and don't talk
much about the kids!
This is a really interesting thread and has made me feel all hormonally fond of and grateful for my good friends.
Liege my experience is exactly like you describe - I've made a few lifelong friends and lots of temporary passing friends in each stage of my life.
OP, your group sounds like my SIL's NCT group - not bad people, just rather insecure and showing off to each other.
You could invite them to do other things with you 1-1 to see if they warm up when you get to know each other better, e.g. suggest going to a gym class with one of them, or going to a kids activity together. Also, take up new hobbys and join other groups to meet new people. I did this last year and met a few new friends who are not parents, and it was quite refreshing.
montage - the concept really isn't that abstract.
Liege - don't worry about it. I think the likes of WorraLiberty doth protest too much. Otherwise, it's slightly ironic that one would be quite so scathing, whilst sending so much time online ... talking to other Mums.
IME it's the ones you get drunk with are the ones who become the proper, good friends.
It's like colleagues. In fact, they sort of are work colleagues if you're a SAHP. Some you have more in common with than work, they're your friends, and others you don't. They're your colleagues. And getting on with them makes your working life easier. Or it did for me, anyway. The problem only comes if you start making it about friendship rather than companionship I think.
Thank you everyone. Really helpful points of view and perspectives. I feel more open minded as a result and dare I say, humbled, by your collective comments. Time for me to go with it, lighten up and be less judgemental.
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