Do you have a mummy tribe?
Your mummy tribe are the women who are awake when you whatsapp them at 3am, because their baby hasn’t been to sleep either. The women who will gently take your baby from your arms and replace the void with strong coffee and a slab of cake, when you turn up at baby group with eye bags bigger than a Birkin tote. They are the women who will celebrate every parenting success with you, and ply you with gin to soften the blow of parenting fails. They are your safe place where you can admit how hard it *really* is to be a mum, without fear of judgement. They may not be your forever friends – lives change and children grow, but if you have young children, you need them.
But it’s not always easy to find a mummy tribe. Your own friends might not be on the same life page – either still partying their weekends away, or well past the newborn stage with rambunctious toddlers who leave them unable to finish a sentence (or hot drink) any time you meet up. The thought of making new adult friendships can be seriously anxiety inducing – worse than it ever was at school, and infinitely harder than your university days where you could bond over sambuca shots and mutual loathing of cleaning the communal bathroom. Getting out the door with baby can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task, and when you add in having to put on your best ‘please be my friend’ face, you’ll wonder if it’s worth the hassle.
It is, I promise. You might have a false start or two – having a baby doesn’t automatically mean you will like every other woman who has a baby – but if you can be brave, don your big girls pants, and seek out other mums, your mummy tribe will eventually flourish.
So where do you find other like minded mums? I’ve met so many mums through the following – some live in my computer, some have become my very closest friends, and I’m grateful for every single one!
Online – Facebook groups and forums
Meeting mums online is super easy – look on Facebook for local mums groups, find your due date club on Mumsnet or Babycentre, or post on Netmums Meet a Mum board. Being able to chat online first takes some of the fear out as you don’t actually have to physically talk to anyone (yet). You could be sporting the unwashed, puke covered pyjamas look and they will be none the wiser. It gives you a chance to get a feel of who they are and what you have in common (bar your babies) in advance of a meet up, meaning that *hopefully* you’d get along great in person too.
And if there isn’t a mums Facebook group for your area – why not set one up? You might be surprised at how well it takes off – our local one now has over 7000 members!
Admit it, you probably have one of two preconceived notions about the NCT (National Childbirth Trust).
Either that NCT groups are cliquey, yummy mummy hangouts for the middle class elite…
That they are inhabited by a bunch of armpit hair weaving crunchy hippies….
Neither is true! NCT are huge charity, and the families who volunteer or use their services are from all walks of life!
If you’re expecting, NCT antenatal classes are probably THE best way to meet other mums. You’re all in this massive life changing journey together, and having women who are going through exactly the same struggles, can make such a big difference to how much of your sanity you retain in the early days.
If the classes aren’t for you, then get in touch with your branch and see what else they offer. Depending on where you are, they could have anything from breastfeeding support groups, sling libraries, bumps and babies groups, buggy and sling walks, toddler groups, coffee dates, baby and childrens parties and events, nearly new sales, book groups and much more. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, why not offer yourself up as a volunteer? Volunteer roles can range from helping out with the branch Facebook page, getting stuck in at an event, or doing some admin – lots can be done from home, and babies are always welcome! It looks great on your CV, you’ll meet so many new people, and you’re helping a charity at the same time – win win all round.
So for this one, I mean organised baby classes, such as baby massage, swimming or a music class. These are great because there is an actual focus to you all being there, and it gives you a natural lead in to chatting about the class, and how much your little one is enjoying (or not enjoying) them. After a few weeks, why not suggest you all go for a coffee afterward? Yes, I know it’s scary, but to be honest, if there’s caffeine to be had, they are going to say yes. Go somewhere with cake and you’re winning.
No, I haven’t lost the plot, promise. I know sweating in front of a bunch of strangers initially isn’t going to be overly appealing. But by joining a mum and baby exercise group/class (buggyfit, prams in the park, mum and baby yoga, sling swing, buggy and babywearing walks), you’ll get all the benefits of working out (endorphins, calorie burning, setting a good example to your child about the importance of taking care of yourself) as well as the potential to make new friends. The camaraderie that occurs while you mutually die after a burpee and squat set, or enjoy a brisk walk in the sunshine (or pouring rain) seems to bring people together naturally. And if not, at least you’ve earned that cupcake….
Putting yourself out there isn’t always easy, and you can’t start blogging and find friends instantly. But there is such a strong community of parent bloggers and instagrammers who are there by your side while you document the ups and downs of parenting, that friendships flourish. You might be surprised by how many bloggers and vloggers there are locally too. Plus it means that you have a fabulous record of your childrens early years, in your own words, to remind you of moments that may otherwise be forgotten. Free blogs are easy to set up, and if you really catch the bug, you could start to earn income from your blog too
It can be really overwhelming making that first step to reach out and make friends, but most mums feel exactly like you do and will welcome you with open arms. Let me know if any of these work/worked for you!