I’ve never been one for making many friends. Aquanintences yes. I’m polite, I can do a little chit chat, but then if I’m perfectly honest I’m usually pretty happy in my own company.
My three oldest (yes, ok, I know at least one of them is likely to read this, so I’d better clarify that they aren’t that old) friends are girls I met at university. They were my first real friends, and over the years we have grown up together. We have seen each other through parental strife, failed relationships, classroom dramas and mummyhood.
We don’t speak every day, in fact there have been times we’ve gone months, but we always know that if we need each other, one or all of the others will be there for us. We have cried together, laughed together and worked out the meaning of life together. We’ve washed each others’ underwear and talked men together. We’ve gone from being girls to being women. And without them, if I’m honest I’m not sure I’d have survived life as unscathed as I have. There aren’t many people who would drive five hours to be with you if you needed them, but I know without hesitation that any one of these three would, and that has always meant a lot.
Having met such incredible friends so early in life, I think I just stopped looking for more. I accepted that my friends were scattered from one end of the country to the other, and relished the fact that although we no longer lived down a corridor from each other we very firmly had each others’ backs.
But this year quite unexpectedly I have been lucky enough to meet another set of friends, who I trust and who I hope trust me in the same way. Six women all with babies the same age as mine, six women who a year ago I had never met, six women with whom I sat today at our babies’ Christmas party and wondered how without them I would ever have got through the last year.
You see despite the drama of the last year, through everything that has happened, I have known I have back up of the best kind. I have known that no matter what these women would be there for me, and I have never once worried. These are women who have grown to love my baby, and whose babies I have grown to love, women who treat my daughter as though she was their own, women with whom I instantly felt accepted. There is a rarely a day that goes by where messages don’t fly back and forth; happy ones, sad ones, excited ones and worried ones; from the colour of poo to renegotiating relationships post children, there’s little we haven’t talked about at some point or other.
I have come to realise that not only do I enjoy their friendship, but that I need it. My son is lucky to have their children to grow up with and I am beyond lucky to have these women to share our experiences and navigate the world of parenting with.
We often spend so much of our lives rushing from one thing to the next, it can be hard to make time for others. We get caught in the mundane; work, shopping, cleaning. And yes that is important, they are parts of life we cannot avoid, we need to do them in order to function. But sometimes we really need to make time for us, time to build friendships, to work on old ones and to grow new ones. After all, we spend so much time arranging play dates for our children, so we do know the benefits of friendship. We just have to remember it applies to us as mummies too.
So if you haven’t met up with friends in a while, why not pick up your phone and make a plan now. After all a happy mummy means happy children…