You’re not a bad mum if you don’t have mum friends

You’re not a bad mum if you don’t have mum friends

I suck at making Mum friends. There, I’ve said it. I have friends, I have friends that are also mums but the whole going to a baby group or chatting at the school gates and making a new mummy bestie, yea, I suck at that. When Leo was small I met a quite a lot of mums at various groups, being a first time Mum I really valued those conversations with other women who just got how tough having a baby was (plus, it was always useful knowing I could ask someone for a baby wipe or two if a poonami happened and my nappy bag was empty). I was braver then, naïve and not scared of judgement, twenty two and thought making Mum friends was going to be easy. Through some kind of magic I did make a few close friends but I have a very annoying habit of befriending people who will later go on to move miles away. My best mum friend relocated when our boys were one and then when Leo was two I moved away and making new Mum friends at baby groups when I had an extremely chaotic toddler was more than difficult, it was impossible. I spent a long time feeling lonely and that I was a bad Mum because I didn’t have a big group of other Mum friends and their babies around to go to soft play with, ask over for play dates or to invite to the boys birthday parties. I’m out the other side of those feelings now though and I’m here to tell you this, if you don’t have mum friends that does NOT make you a bad Mum.

You’re not a bad mum if you don’t have mum friends

Some may find it bizarre that a parent can judge themselves so harshly simply on the number of other Mums they are friends with. It happens though. When you overhear mums arranging play dates at the school gates and you know your child will just be coming home with you and not having anyone over to play again, it makes you feel rubbish. Leo has asked me when he can go over to his friends houses for play dates and it really makes me feel like a failure when I have to give a half hearted “we’ll see” as a response, knowing full well it’s not going to happen because I don’t even recognise the name of the child, let alone know who their parent is. Please don’t think I’m rude, going about my day ignoring everyone around me and missing out on opportunities to connect, I’m just not too great with small talk. I can do it, but I get anxious of how the other person is perceiving me and if they even care about what I’m saying.

To give myself some credit though, we are still fairly new to Leo’s new school, we arrived at a time in the term where everyone else had already made their friend groups and had probably been on the kids birthday party circuit together for over a year. No one has really tried to talk to me, some have but I don’t know most of the parents names or which child in Leo’s class is theirs. I would love to get to know them all, I just feel like my time for bonding was on the first day of reception when no one really knew each other and we were all standing aboard the same nervous and emotional boat together.

Leo asking to go on a play date when I know it’s unlikely to happen makes me feel like the worse Mum ever. After all, all his friends are swapping to and thro from each other’s houses most weeks after school, so why can’t he too? It’s the same for Alex, although not so bad as he’s still young enough to enjoy playing on his own and he will mix with all the other kids at the baby groups we go to, he’s much braver than his mummy. It’s just when I see a pair of mums I recognise from a baby group out in the local cafe for coffee and their babies seem like best buddies, that makes me feel like Alex is missing out on something and it’s my fault. I have a couple of Mum friends at baby groups but if there’s a week that goes by when they can’t make it, I have literally spent the whole couple of hours speaking to no one and hovering around Alex like a pesky fly, just so I don’t have to sit on my own and feel like an utter loser. When Alex’s birthday rolled around I had no baby friends of his I could invite around to celebrate, because of my rubbish friend making skills I don’t know anyone with kids who could become a potential BFF for Alex.

mum friends

When we were down in Hampshire I did find a few women I really connected with and we became good friends, the kids all knew each other and (mostly) enjoyed playing together, we’d go to each other’s houses and out for coffee and all that stuff, but then I moved away. Now we are back in Swansea and I love being back here, I have connected with some old friends which is so lovely but I can’t help but feeling every Mum and her child has a big group of other mums and their kids around them and me and my boys are always stood on the sidelines by ourselves.

My experience of making Mum friends hasn’t been great, I’ve tried but I seem to need more in common with someone than just having kids the same age to be able to go from very casual acquaintances to actual friends. It’s lonely sometimes, you can end up feeling pretty rubbish when everyone else at the baby group is talking to someone and you’re sat on your own, or when you smile at a mum on the school run and she looks straight past you and walks up to the Mum stood behind you and launches into a full on chat before asking her to pop over later for a cuppa. I’m not letting it bother me anymore though, god knows I’ll keep trying, me and Alex will keep going to baby groups, trying out new groups and being brave and saying something to the Mum pushing her baby on the swing next to us. I’ll keep saying a friendly good morning and smiling at mums on the school run, I’ll try to make conversation at the birthday parties Leo gets invited to. I’ll keep trying but I refuse to let myself feel rubbish anymore because I don’t have a mama tribe.

Yes, it would be lovely if I had more friends so by proxy the boys could have more friends too, but is it really my responsibility as a Mum to source their friendships for them? Leo has pals in his class and Alex is only 2, he makes friends with a toy dinosaur and is more than happy with that. From my experience, toddlers aren’t that great at being friends with each other anyway! I know it’s not all about the boys, it would be nice for me to have a group of Mum friends I could rely on for anything from someone to rant to about the latest school based drama to someone to ask over for a coffee so we didn’t have to venture out to soft play, we could sit at the table and chat and the kids could keep each other entertained in the playroom. I have a couple of friends I can do this with but we struggle to find time between school/nursery pick ups and work to do anything other than optimistically text each other something along the lines of “We have to meet up soon, it’s been ages!”.

lonely mum friends

Old friends live far away, friends I’ve made in recent years all live far away (remember when I said I have a habit of making friends with people who like relocating?) and whilst I miss them, it would be nice to have a new group of friends around me. I’m not failing my kids though and I need to work harder to remember this. Does Alex care that he doesn’t have loads of toddlers coming over and playing with all his toys? No. Does Leo care that he hasn’t got friends coming over instead of watching TV or playing Lego when he comes home from school? I don’t think he does, not really, he’s sees them all day in school and he’s usually shattered when I pick him up at twenty past three.

I love my boys, they have everything they could possibly need and I’m sure Leo has friends in school and Alex will make his own when he’s ready. When I was a little girl, I made my friends, my mum didn’t make them for me so I need to stop putting this pressure on myself to be friends with people so my boys have someone to play with. Not having lots of Mum friends does not make me a bad Mum. I’m a good Mum, but I’m also a woman who sucks at small talk and has anxiety. Guess what? That’s ok. I’ll hold on hope that one day I’ll find my tribe and if I don’t, I’ve got my two little boys, a wonderful husband, family around me and friends scattered all over the country that I can rely on for love, support, laughs and memories.

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Do you struggle to make Mum friends? Do you ever feel like you’re failing your kids because you don’t have many Mum friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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you're not a bad mum if you don't have mum friends

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23 Comments

  1. November 28, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    This is Something I’ve really had to remind myself of. When i had my second baby I was ostracised from my ‘mum friend’ group because my first was struggling with his behaviour and when I let them know that their treatment of me wasn’t kind, a few of them took it upon themselves to pretty much ‘canvas’ every mum/aquaintance I knew and do some ridiculous ‘whose side are you on’ /who’s group are you in’ thing. As a result I was left without any friends and i has to start again from scratch – except this time I’m mindful of where I find friends. I’ve met a small group of mums at my local PND support group, and although I do feel guilty that Charlotte doesn’t really have any friends for herself, I know that will come in time when she is old enough to go to preschool. It’s not a popularity contest and quality is better over quantity any day of the week. X
    Sarah – Arthurwears recently posted…EYFS activities using rainbow test tubes and pipette droppersMy Profile

  2. Vicky
    November 28, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    Im a first time mum and suffered with bad anxiety through my pregnancy and it has got worse since i had my baby boy. I have received a lot of pressure to go to groups and make mummy friends and i have been made to feel like a bad mum because im not socialising my child (who is only 4 months old) with other children. Ive never found it easy making friends and have found the mums i do speak to really judgemental and it puts me off. It was so nice to read this post and not feel alone

  3. November 29, 2018 / 8:58 am

    I suppose I’m thinking here maybe make that extra effort on behalf of your son, he gets to benefit. You don’t have to be bessies, just enough to clear the way for your lad. #ABloggingGoodTime
    Enda Sheppard recently posted…Time to defrost those frozen narrativesMy Profile

  4. November 29, 2018 / 9:43 am

    I think that I feel the same to be honest. It’s a hard one. Hopefully you’ll get to chat more with some of the other mums at some point. Maybe Christmas concert? #ABloggingGoodTime

  5. November 29, 2018 / 10:17 am

    Interesting post. I’m not a mum yet, but I’m aware of some of these concerns. I currently have moved away from all of my friends and family to set up home with my husband in a new area very far away. I’ve come to realise that I’m not the best at making new friendships – or it just may be that I don’t feel the need to. I the type of person that prefers friendships to form organically instead of out of a sense of obligation. Maybe I might be like this when I start motherhood. Who knows!

    Victoria | http://www.spokenreveries.co.uk
    Victoria recently posted…ZeroWater 7 Cup | The ‘secret’ to drinking more waterMy Profile

  6. November 29, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    I think having one friend who you really click with is so much more important than having lots of “mum” friends. I much prefer that than being in a group.
    Sabina Green recently posted…A Queensgate Festive FeastivalMy Profile

  7. November 29, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    I am with you on this and it is something I find really hard. I was very lucky with my daughters school class and three or four of us became really close, but I’ve not made “mum” friends here in Sweden
    Sonia Cave recently posted…14 Ways Living Abroad Changes YouMy Profile

  8. November 29, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    I don’t have many mum friends either but I’d rather have a proper friendship than forced ones that don’t really work out. Being friendly doesn’t automatically being friends, if that makes sense. ablogginggoodtime

  9. November 30, 2018 / 2:18 pm

    I don’t have that many mum friends and do feel pretty lonely most of the time but I don’t think it affects the kids as they are always having their friends round to play. It does get harder to make friends as you get older and as the kids get older as you get less chance to socialise with them. Having friends really doesn’t make a difference to whether you are a good mum or not but it helps with our happiness I guess and that really does make a difference. We need to look after ourselves x

  10. November 30, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    I don’t really have any mum friends either. We moved house so many times, we’ve never been at a nursery or school long enough. Maybe when my youngest starts school, now that we’re settled.
    Jenni recently posted…Our Top 50 Christmas Picture BooksMy Profile

  11. November 30, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    I don’t think it matters if you don’t have any mum friends, it doesn’t make you a bad mum. I have got a small group of really close friends and we help each other out whenever we can. I never used to get involved with the cliques you sometimes get at the school gates. Too much drama llama going on for me! 🙂 x
    Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs recently posted…Beasts Of Balance Interactive Building GameMy Profile

  12. November 30, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    It definitely doesn’t matter if you don’t have close mum friends. It’s hard enough balancing everything in general – let alone having to worry about that too. Mum packs can be hard to reach out to.. but i’m sure before you know it party invites or play dates will be landing on your door step. xx
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…We are getting ready to jingle with #Blogmas 2018My Profile

  13. November 30, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    I struggled at the school gates when my son first started, feeling quite awkward about it all. But slowly I started to make friends and chat to people at the gates but it did take time.

  14. December 1, 2018 / 9:36 am

    I’ve never made any Mum friends in the almost 5 years of being a mum and it’s a very lonely existence. It’s been made even more lonely since we moved to Portugal. I say hello to mums in passing at the school gate but know they’ll never be friends as I can’t speak enough of the language. I long to moved to an English-speaking country so I can try.

  15. December 1, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    you’re not alone in this – I hear it often from my pals with little kids. There are some awful cruel mums too, bullies when they were at school and same when older. I’m sending you a big hug xx xx
    I hope as your boys get older they’ll find their friends too. I found new friends in my 40s when I joined my city WI – im not a much of a baker, or the ‘traditional’ WI. and some people say it’s like brownies for grown ups. You are a brill mum – big hug love bec xx
    Bec Jones recently posted…#BigBurnleyClothesSwap Burnley, LancashireMy Profile

  16. December 1, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    Ahh I felt quite emotional reading this. I think finding friends as a grown up can be really tough. I have had the same friends since I was young and we have remained close as a group. I do have some amazing mum friends though but I know many who just didnt click with the school mums either.
    Laura Dove recently posted…Tommys: Big Give Christmas ChallengeMy Profile

  17. December 1, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    I can relate to this! I had a big group of ‘mum friends’ & something happened & they all fell out & now it’s just a couple of us that still talk, it’s so sad & now I’ve had my 2nd I feel bad but I just don’t feel like making the effort & it all happening again! It certainly doesn’t make us bad mums though x

  18. December 2, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    I struggle to make friends as an adult it’s horrible to think mums are judged for not having mum friends? Can’t we all just live in peace the way we want to?!

  19. December 3, 2018 / 2:36 am

    Of course it does not mean you are a bad mum if you don’t have many mum friends. As toddlers my kids disliked playing with other toddlers, I am not even joking they would hide, cry, or just cuddle me instead of having to play with another child their age. I was worried by kinder as all 3 of mine were so introverted. Somehow Aspen and Adam came through kinder ok and with friends, April did not talk to another child until term 4, which here in Australia is the last term of kinder. I actually had a child say to me when he heard April speak “oh wow she can speak, she has a voice’ and he was serious he actually believed she could not speak! So when she started school, here we start in Feb, I forced myself to go to the school mothers group to show her that I had to make friends too, I was so anxious, I felt sick! But it turned out great for both of us. I think it helps not necessarily to make other mum reminds but at least to find out who the child is that your child is asking to have a playdate with and then see if you can at least met the parent and introduce yourself, give your phone number and ask if you can organise a play. It is so much easier as they get older as you just have to say hi at the door and parents don’t stay for playdates. Now Adam is 9 I just drop him off, or if the playdate is here they just drop their child, maybe a quick coffee, but it makes it so much easier that the kids are old enough to amuse themselves and the mum leaves. Once they are around 6 or 7 it gets so much better! And now for Aspen at 14 they organise their own get togethers and then ask us to be the taxi lol. We cannot force connections, we click with who we click with. Your boys are still so young it won’t hurt them. I know too having anxiety sucks, it really makes the social part of parenting so much harder, sending love xx Thanks for sharing this post with us for #AbloggingGoodTime
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…the questions us parents ask ourselvesMy Profile

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