8 January 2018

New Friends

Over Christmas Barack Obama was interviewed by Prince Harry (google it, its very good), lots of talk about social media and many insightful parts but the one that caught my attention was Obamas opinion that with all the conversations we have via social media what we must now do is bring it back round again and meet people face to face. I think he has a great point but actually it is something that us mummas have been doing for a while now.

Social media is brilliant for us mums, its somewhere we can share countless pics of our little bundles of joy at every stage and the bits in-between. We can also let off steam after a sleepless night, a panic over whether they have chicken pox or just the general day to day guilt that all mums carry round their necks 24/7. Yet many of us still feel incredibly lonely, I have been a mum now for 12 years and have seen how positive social media and the internet has been for the parenting communities, there are groups and support networks out there for nearly everything and I know many of these groups have meets ups and link local mums and dads. There are also amazing events created by some super mums, simply allowing us to socialise like a normal person and even better many now involve real nights out and a few cheeky vinos (the pictures from Mrs Haywards recent PIZZUP event rival our pre kid social lives).

More and more of us are taking the plunge and are actually getting out there and meeting new people, its fantastic. Only this week I made a new friend, she got in touch because she related to my first ever blog and felt she was in the same situation a year ago, we are local, she suggested a coffee, and just like that us mums have united.

You may read all of this and think its sounds great but you don’t feel confident enough to put yourself out there, and I completely relate. As I have said I am 12 years into my mummy journey and the first 3 were the loneliest of my life, I was young (22) and moved away from home and my parents (I had been at University but thats not really moving out). I couldn’t cope with the baby groups because everyone else seemed to know each other (I am sure we have all experience the clique that happens in these places) and bit by bit I lost my confidence (I was suffering from PND but thats another story), thus making it harder to introduce myself when at a stay and play or an NCT class. I had my friends from home and would see them when I could but none of them had kids and though they will always be my best friends you also need local friends too.

My first taste of an online meet up was via Mumsnet about 9 years ago, I went on a few playdates (I was incredibly nervous before hand) and most didn’t work out but one did, and really that made all the difference to me. It helped my confidence grow and we did things together and met other new people. Fast forward to now and I am still not the most confident person but I do understand how important it is as a new mum (or an experienced mum) to be social. I try my hardest at groups I attend to talk to new people and if I am sat at a coffee shop and there is another mum on her own I will talk to them. We probably won’t become best friends and maybe our only common interest will be the fact we both have children but with long days filled with only little people for company, just a snippet of adult interaction can remind us of who we are. So if you are sat today reading this on your phone, put it down for a minute and look around, if you see someone who you think is in a similar situation, smile at them, and if you are chatting online with someone maybe suggest a coffee, it can't hurt. 

Written by Jo Johnson

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