To all my mum friends this Mother’s Day,
I never dreamed when I got pregnant that I’d meet so many wonderful women along my motherhood journey.
In fact, I initially approached the women I met in antenatal classes and pregnancy yoga with a little bit of trepidation. This was because before I got pregnant, I read an article in a glossy magazine where the writer made a passing comment that the friends you make when you become a mum are never going to be proper friends because, she’d written, the only things you’ll have in common are offspring born around the same time.
And yes, having kids the same age may have been the starting point for our friendships, and yes, comparing notes on our respective children might have been all we talked about to begin with. But these friendships have come to mean so much more to me.
In the nine years since I became a mum, I have met so many amazing women who have enriched my life in so many ways. I don’t know where I would be without them. Some of these mums have become close friends; some came into and out of my life as our paths crossed and separated.
But all of them have helped me become the mum I am today. And while I’m not perfect, I know I’m a much stronger person because of them.
I’d like to take this opportunity ahead of this Mother’s Day to say thank you.
Thank you to the mums who were there in the early days and helped me find my way when I was clueless about motherhood. Thank you for helping me navigate the newborn fog, for reassuring me, for advising me, for humouring me with tales of projectile poo and vomit and the rest of it. Those long nights when we were all up every couple of hours feeding and soothing our babies were demanding but your constant messages in our chat groups helped me so much.
Thank you to the mums who helped me survive the toddler tantrums and meltdowns, the potty training, the logistics of balancing two and then three children. Thank you to the mums who would hold my baby at toddler groups and soft plays so I could take an older child to the toilet. Or who would play with my toddler while I fed my baby. I hope you know how much these little gestures meant.
Thank you to the mums who have taken me for cake every time one of my children started school and I could barely speak through my tears.
Thank you to the mums who listen to me every time things get too much, and not just on child-related issues either. The ones who are there with a listening ear and advice on the tough times and who never make me feel stupid when I share the things that have upset and annoyed me.
Thank you to the mums who talk to me at the school gate. As a work-at-home mum of school-age children, sometimes you are the only conversation I have all day. Thank you to the ‘coffee shop mums’ – our weekly post drop off meet-up is one of the highlights of my week, and feels like therapy in so many ways.
Thank you to the mums who pick my children up from school when I’m poorly or when my husband and I have childcare issues.
Thank you to the mums who invite my children to their houses for playdates and sleepovers. Thank you to the mums who have trusted me to look after their children too.
Thank you, to all my mum friends, for supporting me through the difficult bits and reassuring me that I’m not the only one who struggles or who feels like she hasn’t got a clue and that she is winging it. Thank you for offering practical support and advice with my children and thank you for trusting me enough to let me offer my advice to you too.
Thank you for taking a chance on our friendships away from our children, for going to the pub, or out for food, for being willing to see if we have more in common than simply having children of the same age. Thank you for steering the conversation away from nappies and sleepless nights and helping me feel like ‘me’ again. Thank you wine and gin-fuelled nights that are oh-so-needed every so often. Thank you for making me laugh until I have tears running down my cheeks.
Mum life is busy. It can be relentless as we try to juggle it all. I don’t see any of you nearly as often as I would like. Often it takes weeks to arrange a date to meet up. And even then chances are one of us will have to cancel because a child is sick or a partner has to work late and we don’t have childcare.
But I know you are there for me and I am there for you.
And sometimes that’s enough.