A Lonely Mums Friendaversary

Wednesday, 1 October 2014 10 comments

A year ago today was sat here, at my laptop, doing nothing. All of a sudden a facebook message popped up saying this:

Am feeling proud of myself. Just made chutney from apple's and tomatoes from the garden.
Anyway was wondering if you and family would like to come to us on the night of the bonfire which I think is the 2nd Nov. We can go to the green or if weather and or kids not up to it watch from mine. Probably do things like hot dogs etc if ok with that?
In the meantime maybe one morning or afternoon you might want to come for cake and tea. Kids can play.
See you both soon.xx”

This was from a lady called Rosemary, sent to me and another lady, called Jill. I’d met Rosemary occasionally at our local toddlers group, and although not a very familiar face on the ‘baby circuit’ we’d both (for our sins) signed up to the toddlers committee, as had Jill, who I wasn’t overly familiar with either. We’d had a couple of committee meetings, and one evening toywash, where I’d interrogated Rosemary on where she sourced her friends.

Here I shall tell you that I have no friends. Well, now I need to change that statement to “HAD no friends” but at the time of the message I certainly did not have any 'real life' bestie type friends. I’d moved to the rural Scottish Borders from inner city Birmingham when pregnant with my first child, simultaneously going from full time employed...to unemployed...and man alive I was lonely. Time ticked on, my son was born and I made some friends who had babies the same age as him, all of us thrown together based upon the lottery of our child’s birth date. It was great getting out the house with these other mums to playdates and baby activities. Then everything went a bit tits up on the friend front, when my first born was 3 months old I fell pregnant again.

Nine months later, all our babies started to turn one, and all these mummies I’d got to know went back to work, whilst I gave birth. And my fairly sparse yet essential social ‘life’ ended. My existing mummy friends were either working, or doing toddler things, and I couldn’t make a new circle of mummy friends, because all those things like PEEP babies, baby massage, tiny toes under 12m group etc, you can’t go to with a toddler in tow. ohh and you can’t go to toddler things, because you have a baby attached to you, and it’s a NIGHTMARE - so no sporty kids or toddler tennis either. I stayed home, I survived, I told myself ‘who needs friends anyway right?’, I’ve got my babies, who wouldn’t want to spend week after week mopping up poo and vomit, seeing no one but your husband. I made the best of it, occasionally cried myself to sleep, forced myself to go to the local toddler group ‘for the good of my children’, where my eldest (who didn’t speak a word till he was almost three) screamed in frustration the whole time, and made me constantly feel ashamed and alone. I went home feeling worse than when I’d gone, and cried in the car outside my house, wishing the day would end, only to think I would then have another day tomorrow doing just the same, then another then another then another... so why bother. Yes I got on with it, and yes I found the joy in playing with my children and devising things for us to do, but occasionally that tumble weed would blow through and I'd realise I was living in a ghost town, where there wern't even any ghosts. Anyway, you get the picture - Fiona = sad and lonely.

So we had this toy wash, Rosemary was there, I made some moves on her, trying to woo her into telling me where she sourced her friends, see, usually, if you’ve got friends you don’t feel like you need or want to share them, and if you haven’t, you pretend like you have, so no one knows you haven’t. But by this point I was so desperate I was happy to just shout “ANYONE WANNA PLAY WITH ME – I HAVE NO FRIENDS”, but that doesn’t work either, because then people start to edge away from you nervously, looking the other way. They think; ‘why doesn’t she have friends....there must be something wrong with her, she’s not being my friend, loneliness might be catching after all, and that’s a disease no one wants’.

Then ... the facebook message. I was convinced it was an error, no one would be asking me to do something with them, after all, I am a worthless excuse for a human being that no one even likes, let alone wants to be friends with. She must have sent it to the wrong Fiona, how embarrassing! how to respond without making things more awkward?! I deliberated. I asked Ben for assistance. He said – ‘She means you, just say yes and we’ll go’. Only a man can make this seem so simple. I broke out in a sweat. I nipped into my online group of virtual pals (my besties – you know I love you forever my nattering little hottentots) and told them what happened and asked what they thought I should do...all the while time is ticking, I need to reply, and she knows I’ve seen the message (damn you facebook messenger!).

They said “don’t be stupid, of course she means you, say yes”. But if I say yes, and she didn’t mean me, I’ll have to face the shame of her saying “ooops sorry, didn’t mean you”, or, even worse, she didn’t mean me, but she’s too embarrassed to say, so we go along and its even more awkward in a real life awkward situation. And her and Jill will be looking at each other thinking “oh my god, where did this weirdo come from?” Arghhhh. See? Arghhh. stressstressdeepbreath.

Anyway, after much thinking, pondering and panicking I came up with this totally awesome reply... wait for it... I said:

“who? me?! If so then we would totally LOVE to do that!!”

See. I played it cool. Not. Although I did throw her a bone with the “who? Me?” part, in case she needed a get out clause.

Anyway, 365 days, 7000 facebook messages, 200 cups of tea, 170 slices of cake, two additional babies and three house moves later, Rosemary, Jill and I are firm pals. We are actual pals, not just “hello how are you? alright yeah, you? Yeah good thanks!” pals. Rosemary has driven me to hospital and listened to me vomit whilst Jill has stepped in and looked after my boys and her own daughter single handedly – a task no one else has done! 

I don’t want to crack out the sopp bucket here but thank you Jill and Rosemary, thank you my pals, for being my pals, for reaching out to me when I didn't even know I needed you. I survived without you, but I love being with you. If you're reading this, make sure next time you are at baby massage, or totsgocrazy (soft play) make sure you have a chat to someone you don't normally chat to, someone who maybe often sits alone, show them some friend love, coz maybe they're just wanting a pal, like I was. And you never know, they could even turn out to be awesome, just like me, ermm I mean Rosemary and Jill...

Happy Friendaversary! Here's to the next year girls!


  • Jennifer Dixon said...

    Aww this brought a tear to my eye Fiona! As one of the hidden away online friends I remember your panic over the message and knowing how fabulous you are was of course certain she meant you! I'm so glad that you have built up such a fab friendship that you totally deserve, It's so hard when you have children, it can seem like parents already have their little cliques and it's so easy to be lonely in the corner. I have have been so lucky to also develop some fabulous new friendships over the past year or so starting online and now firmly based in real life! Here's to friends!

  • Fiona @ Mamas Little Baby Loves... said...

    Thank you ladies, reading these comments make me rememeber that my online friends are just as important to me as any real life friends, more so in some ways as we're not tied together by geographical location, we can take out friendship where ever we go! Thank you for taking the time to read x

  • Jo Laybourn said...

    Awe, so get this and you! My eyes are leaking. Proud of you for going out there and making friends, happy for you, Rosemary and Jill and also totally with you on the 'how hard is it and how awkward is it to make friends once you've moved, left work and had babies!' You rock Fiona! Great post x

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