When I had Zach I only had one group of Mum friends (my NCT lot), and none of them were immediately local to me. I was one of the first out of our group of friends to fall pregnant, I didn’t really go to any regular playgroups in his first nine months, and then I was back at work – first of all four days a week and then full time. And that was right up until I went on maternity leave to have Oscar.
Even when Oscar was born, I didn’t immediately have anyone that I saw regularly. Because I had been working, I hadn’t exactly had time to meet anybody in the area we had moved to when Zach was 18 months old. I remember my next door neighbour (who has now moved), telling me about a playgroup that ran in the children’s centre next door to Zach’s school, and so one day I braved it and I went along, Oscar had bags of fun and it became a regular thing. Every Monday and Wednesday we would go to group, and pretty much the same people would be there every time.
Over time I got talking to people. We would have a chat, mostly about the kids, and then say our goodbyes. As the weeks went on, there was noticeably three of us that were always together. We would have a right laugh and it was clear that not only were we bonding, but so were our boys.
I went to other playgroups on the other days and they also started coming to a couple of them, and I soon realised that I had found myself in a little group of Mum friends. It didn’t matter how often we saw each other, there was always something to talk about. Zoe and I really hit it off because our boys are basically the same person. They were born a day apart, they were both boobie addicts, and they both slept like s**t! We were both always knackered, always sharing stories about how little sleep we got, and we were like a solace to each other. It made each of us feel better that someone else was going through the exact same thing.
In the Summer, one of the playgroups that we went to was unbearably hot. I had decided that I wasn’t going to go because I didn’t want to spend the whole morning in a sweaty hall, and so I text the others and suggested they come for a playdate at mine. They did – the boys had super fun playing together, and we spent the morning nattering with a nice breeze coming through every single window and door that was open. The following week was just as hot, so we did the same thing. We had clearly formed a friendship that was getting stronger by the week.
A few weeks ago an advert popped up on Facebook about a nearby soft play/adventure park, who have introduced a morning/afternoon tea. For a very reasonable price, you get to sit down, have a munch, drink copious amounts of tea, and watch the kids play in the soft play. I immediately suggested it to them as a little Christmas treat to us. All three of us are stay at home mum’s, we don’t have Christmas parties to go to, and so I thought it would be really nice to give ourselves a bit of fun. And so on Tuesday we went. And we had a blast.
Not only was the food lovely, not only did the boys have a whale of a time playing together, but we had a ball too – chatting, and chatting, and laughing, and chatting. And sitting there with them made me realise that I now class these two lovely ladies (the other one is Sarah just for the record), as my really good friends. I think that each of us would help the other out in a heartbeat. The boys are all confident with each and every one of us. Oscar takes a while to get used to new people, but he will happily play with Zoe and Sarah and happily give them a cuddle on their laps. Over time, he has come to know them as friends, just like I have.
And they aren’t the only friends I’ve made. At the various groups that I go to, there are a number of other acquaintances who I chat to all the time and get on really well with. We have all gotten to know each other, all gotten to know each other’s kids, and always, always, have something to say to each other. In fact, a bunch of them went out for Christmas drinks a week ago. I couldn’t because you know, Oscar doesn’t let me out at night – but I was invited, I could have gone.
I am such a different person than the one I was after I had Zach. Going out to work not only stopped me from from spending time with my boy, it also stopped me from forming friendships with other Mums. Being at home can be incredibly hard, incredibly isolating. I love the fact that playgroups are there for my boy to have fun and bond with other children, and I love that they have given me this little community that I have never really had before.
And one of the really lovely things, in particular with the three of us – is watching our boys grow up together. Because not only have we formed a friendship – they have too. Oscar gets super excited when we are going to see Kane and Billy. He gets excited when we bump into Kane in the middle of Sainsbury’s. And Zoe (Billy’s Mum) has told us that on the days we don’t see each other, Billy is always asking to see them!
I see these ladies at least three times a week now. We have groups on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. And honestly, they make the weeks so much easier than they would be. Knowing that I’ll get to sit down, have a cuppa and a chat with them while our boys play – it really is the best feeling.
Do you have a group of Mum friends that get you through your weeks?
If you like this post, I would love it if you’d give it a little pin for me 🙂