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?
I don’t know.
Mum friends are amazing. They get it. They’re easy to talk to, they understand when you rock up to school and burst into tears. They carry spare wet wipes and they’re always up for coffee. But it doesn’t mean we don’t miss our old friends. We need you. We need you to connect us to the outside world. We want to hear about what you’re doing. We want to be there for you.
To those new mumma’s that are reading this:
I know everyone can feel distant. I know that sometimes you look around you and you have no idea whose life you are living in and how it changed so quickly.
I know how it’s possible to love your little person so much, you think you’re going to explode – but how you also miss your old life and your old friends.
Mums are amazing individuals but even more amazing as a collective. For the most part, other mums understand the struggle and there’s a certain bond amongst us. You need to find your tribe. They are out there waiting for you.
To those childless friends that are reading this:
PLEASE keep inviting your friends to events. Yep, sometimes they can’t go. Perhaps most of the time, the answer will be “Sorry, I can’t”. But please keep inviting them! They need you. They need to remember that they had a life before motherhood.
Don’t be that girl who takes Snapchat selfies with the baby for two minutes, then walks away. Love their child as much as you love them. Be the cool aunty. Write them funny letters in books that you get them for their birthdays. Pick them up and take them for milkshakes, just because. Tell them stories about how amazing their mum is and how much their mum loves them and how much you love her too.
I love myself so much more now that I am a mum. The extra 30kg and all. I have 100 per cent found my purpose in life and I have this new found sense of confidence and assertiveness. This is me now. But you know what? The old me is still in there too. One day – if you decide to have kids, I hope I can be there for you, watch you totally nail motherhood and hold your hand along the way.
Childless friends, please keep persisting with your mum friends. We promise that we are doing our best to juggle motherhood and the rest of our lives. We don’t nail it. But we’re trying. Don’t give up on us. We need you.
This post originally appeared on Sunday Soldiers and was republished here with full permission.