I’m sure a lot of people look at me and think “What the hell happened?”.
I get it. Trust me, I do.
Practically overnight, I went from a wardrobe full of stilettos, tiny dresses and late nights dancing – to being 30kg overweight, with unwashed hair and a handbag full of nappies and matchbox cars.
Recently, I went to the wedding of a close friend of mine. There were so many girls there from my younger years. I was really looking forward to catching up and having a rare night out to celebrate such a happy occasion. I actually cried a bit when I was invited, just felt so good to be remembered.
Imagine my surprise when no one came to say hello to me. It wasn’t until a few hours in, when I started approaching people to say hello myself, that I realised – they weren’t being rude, it was that no one recognised me. So many blank stares.
“It’s Elise…from Jenni’s place. Her housemate, yep”, “Ohhhhhh my gosh! I didn’t even realise it was you. You look so different”.
Everybody was lovely, they really were. It was just that they genuinely didn’t know who this random dishevelled girl was who was looking expectedly around the room.
My husband reassured me it was because it had been so many years, it wasn’t because of my appearance. Bless his heart. But I knew.
There’s no clocking off when you’ve got two kids and a dog to take care of. Post continues.
I was one of the first out of my group of friends to have kids. So theoretically, I should have lots of childless friends. But it’s actually the complete opposite.
You know how it goes.
“Hey girl, let’s go out tonight.”
“I’m in! Should we invite Pia?”
“Nah, she’s at home with the kids. She won’t be able to find a sitter.”
“Yeah you’re right. Let’s not worry about asking her.”
Meanwhile, Pia is scrolling Instagram and see’s her friends out partying. Poor Pia probably needed a damn break from those kids. Poor Pia is wondering what she did wrong and why her friends don’t invite her out anymore. Pia decides that it’s because she’s probably not cool enough, she’s got stretch marks, she talks about the kids too much, she doesn’t get as drunk anymore, she’s no fun, etc etc.
Pia pulls away from the childless friends because she’s upset. Childless friends think Pia is too busy. Friendship is fractured. I assure you, that every time you don’t invite your mum-friend to your childless event – they notice. And it hurts.
I’ve seen the same thing happen to someone close to me. She was also one of the first in her friendship group to have a baby. All of a sudden, she didn’t have a whole lot of friends who understood her life anymore.
But you know what she did have? A baby.
It didn’t take her long to form an entire new group of friends. Mum friends. Friends she made from mothers groups, online groups and even a mum that she met randomly at a coffee shop.
Can we just break that down for a moment please? What is that? WHY is that? Are we, as mums, like little friend-orphans? Do we give off ‘I’m lonely’ vibes? Do we recognise the tiredness in each other and think ‘Hey, I have a baby and I’m tired too. Let’s be tired together’? Or is it because the fundamentals of our lives change that dramatically when we have children, and we actually do not have that much in common with our childless friends anymore?