Mummy mates – without doubt one of the best things about having children, if you ask me.
I’d be lost without my mummy mates. And when people ask me how I manage with 19 month old twins and a three year old, my answer is always that I have people who help me out – my own parents, and my mum friends.
I literally wouldn’t go anywhere if it wasn’t for either of them.
My mummy mates
I have always been lucky to have an amazing set of friends, some with kids, some without. But when you’re pregnant with your first child, you realise how nice it is to be able to talk to someone going through exactly the same as you at the same time.
Luckily enough one of my newsroom colleagues at the time was two months ahead of me in her pregnancy, so we used to bore all the men in our office (and no doubt the other women too to be fair) with tales of indigestion, V pillows, and what sized fruit our babies currently resembled that week – and wondered in awe whether we’d ever get to a ‘watermelon’? (You KNOW what I’m talking about, don’t you?)
We went through it together, and as a result, she’s now one of my very best mates.
I’ve met mummy mates at baby groups who have become good friends, I even met one of my best mum friends at the weigh-in clinic. I was Facebook friends with her partner having gone to the same school so had seen pictures of their baby, and I randomly started talking to her despite knowing she’d think I was a total stalker. We’re now brilliant mates, ended up in hospital together second time round and regularly exchange sweary text messages whinging about what dicks our three year olds are. She’s my kind of person.
I have mummy mates who are old school friends I’d not seen in 20 odd years, and having kids (and the joy of Facebook!) has meant we’ve been thrown back together which I love.
And some of my best mummy mates have come from doing an NCT antenatal course. Seven of us thrown together when we were just a few weeks off giving birth for the first time, all different ages, from different places, different backgrounds and with different potential parenting styles. But 3.5 years on, we’re still going strong and meet every week.
“Paid for” mummy mates
These are the mummy mates I openly admit I ‘bought’. I spent £220 to sit in a room for two weekends with ‘nice’ couples I basically hoped and prayed would become my friends. They all say the same – so I’m not a total loser. Okay, a few tips on how to deal with labour, what to expect that first poo to be like (both the baby’s and yours post-birth!) and the different positions you could find yourself in trying to push a baby out was all well and good. But I wanted the mum friends. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
And for me – and I’d like to think for my six ‘NCT’ mummy mates (or the Real Housewives of Devon as we sarcastically call ourselves on our Whatsapp group), it’s been worth every penny of that £220.
So here are 8 reasons every mum needs her mummy mates:
1. They keep you sane
When you’re a new mum you worry about everything (although not so much second time round and definitely not second time round with twins) so it’s great to have your mummy mates on hand to reassure you. They ‘get it’, and have no doubt had the exact same thoughts already. Despite having lots of friends who had already had kids, it’s so great to have mates who are going through the same thing at the exact same time. They could be the best mate in the world, but if they’re a year or two ahead of you, they don’t want to be woken up at 3am to be told your boobs are killing you or that you want to throw that noising f*cking breast pump out the window.
They also probably wouldn’t be that keen to see a screenshot of some absolute shite you’re ordering off Amazon (no doubt a miracle sleep-aid) in one of those middle of the night crap purchases. We’ve all been there. But the mummy mates who have babies the same age are awake too – so you can have a right old gossip on Whatsapp, including having a little whinge about your baby/husband/mother-in-law at the same time. Sorted!
2. Mummy mates can offer advice
Okay so your mummy mates might not be experts but they’re either doing it at the same time as you, or it’s already happened to their baby and they can help you out. In so many situations, there’s never a right or wrong answer (unless the question is should I buy my highchair from IKEA – then the answer is yes, YES YOU F*CKING SHOULD!) but it’s always worth hearing your friends’ own experiences and trying that out too. Plus you never know, you might be lucky like me and some of your best mates will be health professionals and teachers who know WAY more stuff than I do. I’m not sure my 100 words per minute shorthand and journalist qualifications are helping me right now. But my clever mates are!
3. Someone to whinge to
You can moan to your mummy mates. It’s all about surrounding yourself with people who ‘get it’. Whether you want to complain about having no sleep, the fact your toddler is doing your head in, or that you’re genuinely feeling overwhelmed, grumpy and generally shit, your mummy mates are always on hand to listen. And if they’re not, dump them and get yourself some new ones. Pronto.
4. Mummy mates offer practical help
For me this is one of the most important – selfish I know! It was all fine and dandy when we all just had one baby to deal with especially when they were tiny. Nice coffee shops, nice walks, nice lunches. We could do anything. Now there are considerably more children, and they’re all on the move, we all need help. Out of my seven ‘paid for’ NCT mates, bizarrely two of us have had twins second time round (what are the chances??) which now means we have 15 children between. FIFTEEN children under the age of 3.5 (plus 7 mums) trying to fit into a cafe for lunch doesn’t happen anymore surprisingly, so we’ve resorted to other tactics.
But one thing we do all do is help each other out. We are a collective of mums, looking after all 15 kids as if they are all our own. If one three year old needs a wee, the mummy mates look after their siblings. When a baby needs a nappy change, the mummy mates keep an eye on the preschooler. And if you need a wee yourself, you leave the lot of them and TAKE YOUR TIME!
One mum looks after two of mine, whilst I get the other from the car, one entertains the older kids with games and singing, whilst the others keep an eye on her youngest. One gets the coffees, whilst the others sort out highchairs. In the early days one would feed one of mine a bottle, whilst I did the other and sorted out the Toddler. We are all in this together and if we see one of us struggling (often me!) help is at hand. This goes for whichever of my mummy mates I’m out with. We all muck in, and I’d never go anywhere without them. Twins and a three year old is f*cking hard work when you’re out and about, so these girls are my heroes.
5. A shoulder to cry on
Mummy mates provide a shoulder to cry on. Okay so I’m not really one to sit and blub to my mates, (although I blub CONSTANTLY when I’m watching pointless tele) but I have been known to feel so sleep-deprived, frustrated and overwhelmed since having the twins that I’ve had a few rants to a couple of my best mum friends whilst my eyes fill up and my lip quivers. And back when the three year old was tiny and I was having a breastfeeding disaster, I think I cried a fair few times then. F*cking mum guilt is a bitch, isn’t it? Mummy mates know what you’re going through and have the best shoulders, tissues and biscuits. Even if they don’t have all the answers, they’re sure to make you feel better.
6. Mummy mates don’t judge you
Or at least they shouldn’t! In my circle of mummy mates, we literally have every single style of parenting there is. The full-time working mums, the stay at home mums, the breastfeeding a three year old mums, the co-sleeping mums, the ‘gentle-parenting’ mums, the strict no-nonsense ‘cry it out’ mums. But do you know what – who cares? I am friends with people who parent TOTALLY differently to how I do it, but nobody is right, nobody is better than anyone else. And nobody judges each other. Because what’s that hilarious meme say? We’ve all bumped our kids’ heads getting them in the car!
7. There are no limits
Nothing is off limits with your mummy mates. This might not be the case with ALL mum friends, but if like me, you have a few absolute crackers, then you can say what you like to them, tell them your most personal stuff, offload your rants, and swear like a trooper. Although on second thoughts, I think it might just be me who swears so much. I’m probably labelled as the ‘sweary’ one by my mates. (Who am I trying to kid, I’m DEFINITELY labelled as the sweary one!)
8. Girly get togethers
It might be just once a year at Christmas, once every few months in the pub, or once a fortnight for a takeaway curry, but child-free get togethers with your mummy mates are the best. My ‘paid for’ friends and I have done this a couple of times a year since we all met and it’s brilliant. Obviously we all still talk about kids a bit, but it’s great to able to have actual conversations about proper adult stuff without seeing to a small child every five seconds. We like to use our girly meet ups as an excuse to celebrate surviving this hardcore thing called motherhood, and often do so with prosecco. It would be rude not to, surely?
There you have it. A handful of reasons why mummy mates rock, and that I’d be lost without them. What would you add?
Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee
Did you enjoy this post? You might like my fellow blogger Shelley’s post about How to Make Mum Mates. Or why not read some of my others – 10 things I wish I’d known before having children or Why it’s okay to not LOVE every minute with young children.
Or if you fancy a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here, and I’ll get back to you during naptime/screentime (!)