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To feel I failed by not making mum friends?

(58 Posts)
Youreatragedystartingtohappen Sun 28-Jun-20 07:56:37

I hope I don't sound like a self pitying fool but I feel really quite sad that I don't have the "mum gang" of mates I envisioned when I found out I was pregnant.

We couldn't afford NCT and so I didn't meet people that way, I went back to work when DS was 8 months so DH could do shared parental leave. I went back full time as the higher earner and so I didn't get to carry on with the baby groups that I used during those first few months. I also didn't take to motherhood as I hoped I would and really struggled so maybe didn't use those groups as much as I should either.

Essentially I have a couple of friends who I've met but the vast majority are those I already had and who were brilliant during my pregnancy and after. AIBU to feel sad that I don't have mum friends to go for drinks with (in a post Covid world obviously!) and share stories of parenting with? Should I just be happy with those friends I already have and think maybe I'll make some when DC starts school? He has a childminder so I've not met parents that way. I'm wondering whether I should be happy that my son is happy and realise that being pregnant didn't automatically grant me a new set of friends, I think I just feel a bit disappointed when I see groups of mums in the parks with their kids not to have that myself.

OP’s posts: |
Halfling Sun 28-Jun-20 08:06:00

I felt very isolated and lonely when my DC were babies. Didn't really have the time and energy to pursue new friendships. My old friends were child free and had a different lifestyle.

All that changed slowly when DC grew older and started school. I had time for hobbies, school gate mums and neighbours and my circle of friends and acquaintances grew..

What you are feeling is normal and something a lot of new mums struggle with. It will get better thanks

BendingSpoons Sun 28-Jun-20 08:06:26

I had a 'mum gang' of NCT friends which was good for the first year but fizzled out as people moved. I have other friends with children, but bar one neighbour, they were pre-existing friends who had kids at similar times.

I think there can be issues with people you are only friends with because of having children in common. Of course people make great friends but it isn't always as rosy as it looks. I also think people often make friends once their child is at school, although this is trickier if you are working and don't drop off or pick up.

BlackRibboner Sun 28-Jun-20 08:09:16

How old is your child? My eldest is 4 now, I did NCT first time round and a load of baby classes for all three children. I've made about half a dozen mum friends, only one of whom I see for drinks or dinner without kids. And even then our conversation is mostly about the children as that's the biggest thing we have in common.

So I don't think the big mum gang thing happens for everyone. And certainly going back full time (I did too) makes it harder to keep up, your time for socialising is so limited when you can't do weekday coffees and lunches. If you have good friends already I'd concentrate on keeping those relationships healthy and waiting to see what life brings in terms of new people. Take heart, I know it's difficult when you feel out of the loop but you're not the only one, and it won't feel like that forever.

Ullupullu Sun 28-Jun-20 08:12:49

I sympathize as I didn't do nct either. It's a numbers game, you have to get out there and meet lots and lots of people in order to click with only one or two.

When your kid starts school, definitely try and link up with other parents (maybe form a WhatsApp group and try and have coffee/drinks together occasionally) and playdates with classmates with the parent (staying not dropping off). It's not magic or easy, just go after it if you want it and accept that you won't be friends with everyone, it's a good outcome to have one or two close friends after chatting to lots of people.

Youreatragedystartingtohappen Sun 28-Jun-20 08:14:56

Thanks so much for your responses.

My DS is now 16 months, tbh I think this whole crazy lockdown has thrown me back into the whole feelings of isolation that I had during my maternity leave; when lockdown restrictions eased I became aware again that there were bigger groups meeting up and that I didn't have that many mum friends.

I'm an absolute nightmare for the whole "compare and despair" way of thinking and I'm fairly sure this is a case of that. I see others that have more friends and feel I'm a failure by comparison. I reassure myself that there isn't a finite amount of friendships you can have and you're never too late to make more friends but I did think I would have met more than I did.

I'm sure the current situation is making me feel more adrift than I would do normally...I'm certainly having more time to overanalyse and overthink things I'm finding!

OP’s posts: |
MsTSwift Sun 28-Jun-20 08:15:36

It’s not too late! We moved when dd1 was 2 so lost nct connections the friends I have now I met gradually through playgroups but mostly through primary school.

BudgieHammockBananaSmuggler Sun 28-Jun-20 08:18:04

Agree with others. The NCT and baby group friends are random and transient and thrown together through circumstance and convenience. When the kids start school, you are much more likely to make meaningful friendships

BertieBotts Sun 28-Jun-20 08:19:55

I didn't make mum friends until my kids were over 1 or so. The first year is pretty much a social write off.

Heartlake Sun 28-Jun-20 08:20:55

The big mum gang can be overrated!

For me things changed with pre school and school. You need common pick ups/ drop offs and other events to get to know people, you don't get that with nursery or childminders really. Seriously think about working part time/ from home sometimes if this is important to you.

We didn't really make good parent friends until eldest was in year 2!

hopeishere Sun 28-Jun-20 08:24:36

I didn't make mum friends until my kids went to school. There's no NCT where I am. I also found maternity leave lonely.

Firstimer703 Sun 28-Jun-20 08:27:33

I'm the same as you. When's back to work when DS was 5 months so DH could take Shared Parental Leave. I'm still in a mum's what's app group but we don't see each other much. The friends I have are those I had before. I was lucky that someone I knew through work had a baby around the same time and another friend told me about it so we are close now. Another friend had her baby a month after me. My NCT group never really gelled and I moved house not long after anyway. Just value the friends you have whether they have kids or not, they are there for you! X

MinnieMousse Sun 28-Jun-20 08:29:10

My NCT friendships fizzled out after the first couple of years. There are 2 or 3 Mum "friends" that I've made from school but tbh I don't really socialise with them. I work full time now so don't really meet people at the school gate. The place I made most parent friends was when I started taking my DC to church! The one I go to has a lot of families.

My close friends are still the ones I made at university though, and in recent years I've just made more effort to see them rather than try to make lots of new friends.

Viragoesque Sun 28-Jun-20 08:34:06

I think you sound as if you have a good friendship set up, and the ‘mum friends’ thing is for many people one of those friendship myths, like having a best friend with whom you share everything, or a close gang who are all friends with one another.

I did NCT, but my group just didn’t like each other much and drifted apart when the babies were very new, and then I moved somewhere spectacularly unfriendly, so I never acquired a single ‘mum friend’ either via baby groups or at the school gate. It’s not a problem for me. I have plenty of friends from other areas of my life.

Longwhiskers14 Sun 28-Jun-20 08:39:01

I was part of an NCT group that fizzled out in the first year, so you didn't miss much! I made my mum friends at the tail-end of nursery, when my DD was going up to primary with the same gang of friends and so we gravitated towards each other. I have a friend with a DS2 who hasn't made good friends yet and I've said to her not to worry, because school is where you meet more parents.

Viragoesque Sun 28-Jun-20 08:41:07

Gosh, @Longwhiskers14, a year sounds pretty good to me — I think my NCT group had drifted apart before the majority of the babies were two months old!

JMG1234 Sun 28-Jun-20 08:42:04

I made some friends during antenatal classes. We occasionally get together a couple of times a year and I see one friend more regularly than that, but still not loads.

I would say not to worry and you'll make lots of new friends naturally when school starts, plus other activities such as sports clubs or whatever. You'll probably end up with more friends than you have time to socialise with...

pictish Sun 28-Jun-20 08:42:21

Yeah you know...those NCT and baby group friends...precious few of them make the cut in the end. They tend to be friendships of common interest and circumstance at the time and lack the sufficient padding out to endure the years. Through three children and all the associated social groups, events, friendship circles I made when they were babies, one remains a constant today, 18 years later. Other than that they all fell away, either through their lack of interest or mine.
Not sure what I’m trying to say really except that these friendships tend to be transient and impermanent because they’re largely based on convenience rather than a fundamental connection.
In my experience these groups are made up of SAHMs (as I was) and mums who work part time. While working mums get their social quota from being in the workplace, SAHMs form mum groups so they have colleagues too. It’s a nice thing for sure...but don’t mistake it as a personal social failing that you haven’t found one you slot into yet.

Fueledwithfairydustandgin Sun 28-Jun-20 08:45:46

I was exactly the same. I felt so isolated and lonely then I met an incredible friend in the nursery car park when DS was 3. I now have Mums I can have a quick chat to or very occasionally go on a night out with and a friend that is the best friend I could wish for. It gets better

Piglet89 Sun 28-Jun-20 08:53:44

My son’s 10 months and my NCT group of mum pals are very close. There was us and 3 other couples in the group, so a small NCT. We just kind of gelled from the start - same senses of humour and similar outlooks. Two of us live in the same area about 10 minutes’ walk from each other and the other two a little bit further away. Those women were my lifeline in the hard, sleep-deprived and lonely first few months.

But it’s really good you have a network of non-baby friends though. I have tried to keep up contact with my pre baby friends during my mat leave, but it’s been a bit trickier because of Covid - with the result that I have felt like I’m in a bit of a baby bubble - a weird twilight zone - stuck in my area.

Not sure what to suggest really, but definitively try if you can to resist comparing your situation with others’ because we can never be really sure what others’ lives are truly like.

Sally872 Sun 28-Jun-20 08:54:21

When I am at the park/coffee shop with my "mum friends" they are actually just my friends from before and luckily a few if us have kids.

My new mum friends from baby class we text now and again and met up once every 4 or 5 months after maternity leave. Now babies are 4 and we have a group chat but rarely meet. Lovely people but time is short and I would spend it with my close friends and family.

School mums for older child are the same, we tried to socialise at first when oldest started school again lovely women but we don't have time. We have a group chat where we mainly discuss homework or dates for diary for school.

You have friends, your dc has friends that is all that matters. Treasure those friendships some people don't have close friends.

Loubylou9162 Sun 28-Jun-20 08:58:01

My only mum friends are friends that I had before having my dd who happen to be mums too.
I didn’t go to NCT classes, I went to some baby groups but I just didn’t take to anyone. I don’t want to make friends just because we have a child, if that’s the only thing we have in common I don’t see a true friendship coming from it.
I think mum friends can be a little over rated too, it can become a constant comparison and competition and that’s not fun!
It’s he’s at the moment with no playcentres open or even playgrounds at parks. I often chat to other mums at my local park (pre lockdown) I have seen some of them a few times we say hello the children play a bit we might have a general chat, but that’s as far as it goes.
Hopefully things will start opening up and you can get out and about a little bit.
There’s an app called mush, it finds mums in your local area. You can chat on the app and arrange to meet up if you like. A friend of mine used it to find people local to her, I’m around an hours drive away and she felt lonely. She’s met up with a lovely lady who has a child the same age as hers and it turns out they have a lot in common so they’ve developed a friendship

HowLongCanICallitBabyWeight Sun 28-Jun-20 09:02:57

I didn't do nct because I had s job that required a lot of travel and I couldn't commit to the dates, I took a year mat leave and we went to swimming lessons, music group etc I was friendly with the other parents while there but had no desire to make friends with people just because we happened to have sex around the same time. We have one set of friends with similar age children and two DNs, DS also goes to nursery one day a week, he's happy, confident, sociable and also happy to play alone. I still take him to a group one day a week and DH takes him to his swimming class, he was just about to start gymnastics before lockdown. I don't see how I've failed DS by not making arbitrary circumstantial friendships, so neither have you!

HowLongCanICallitBabyWeight Sun 28-Jun-20 09:04:05

And before I sound really anti social I have plenty of non 'mum friends'!

Ireolu Sun 28-Jun-20 09:09:24

My mum friends are my close friends from university as we have children around the same age. Happy with that as I don't want friends foisted on me where the only thing we have in common is being parents. When DD starts school I know I will have to befriend other parents. Will c how that goes.

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