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This thread has been prompted by a few things.
Firstly I’ve just read “The Mask of Motherhood” again and it has affected me deeply. I’ve realised how much ‘oneupmanship’ there can be amongst mothers and how sometimes we all struggle with circumstances but don’t necessarily share them with other mothers for lots of reasons. (On the positive side I’ve felt there is a pleasant and lovely lack of oneupwomanship on this forum..which is to be cherished, I feel).
Secondly, around Christmas…and friendships. I’m becoming increasingly distanced to someone I know who I don’t hear anything from for months and then suddenly I’m invited round…with some sadness (and relief…?) I’m feeling that I don’t have much time for these sorts of ‘friendships’. It might be the age I am…but if I share things with people I really would like them to mean something…otherwise I’m feeling as if I can’t be bothered and would rather spend my precious ‘free’ time on my own… catching up with myself? Any thoughts on these, are they of interest at all to anyone? Does anyone have the foggiest what I am on about?
Thanks for your reply Becks. I suppose I am starting to feel in the direction you described. On a positive note - my allotment friendships feel quite comfortable (and real). Although of course don’t see much of those people during this season. Perhaps they are more ‘down to earth’ to use a pun…
No doubt we’ve been over some of this ground before on the forum. Begs the question ...what a friendship really is. I’d always thought it had something to do with helping each other…(not in an extreme way, just on a week to week level with some sort of reciprocal thing…). So if you don’t see someone who lives in the same city as you for months on end, how can you possibly do that?
Also I suppose it has to do with paths crossing…you know routines and such. Some routines maybe take one away from certaing groups of people at certain times…gosh my spelling is going downhill today, the house is warm, but somehow cold fingers…
Becks, you could be writing about me - my first ‘old’ friend is expecting a baby in May, aprt from that all the mother friends I have met through the children, like you a lot are older than me, and mostly on a completely different wavelength. We are lucky in that there are quite a lot of other home ed families around, but somehow don’t seem to quite fit in there either - again mostly a lot older than me, there are a few groups of families who all go to the same church, and also there are quite a lot of people who go to home ed activities 3/4 days a week, which neither appeals to me, nor can I justify the cost.
On the other hand, I have never quite ‘fit in’ really and haven’t ever had a BBF, always felt a bit of a spare part and also quite enjoy my own company and sometimes being sociable feels like a chore, although I do enjoy meeting up now and then not sure if I would want or even know how to have a very ‘active’ (iyswim) friendship.
I do find the oneupwomanship a tad odd.
I’m finding a many of the dualities of parenthood odd actually. The animosity that can exist between:
formula/mixfeeding and breast feeding mums
cloth nappies / disposables
AP/gentle type parenting style / mainstream parenting.
And so forth. I feel sad that as mothers we can’t share how we live our lives, how we parent without offense being taken. Ok sometimes, offense being taken is justified because of the way something has been intentionally presented, or, also quite often, unintentionally presented. It saddes me too that ideals can sometimes mean others are wary of discussing topics where the ideal was not achieved and perhaps even not wanted - be it a vaginal birth at home in a pool with the sounds of dolphins on the musci centre, vaginal birth in a hospital, c’section etc. We are all mothers, we all love our children dearly and we all have fantastic days when we achieve our own ideals of how we’d like to parent.. and we have (and more often) those days when we don’t acheive those ideals but still the majority is good..a nd then those gawd awful days when the bug eyed screaming monster appears. And we feel guilty? For what? being human?
I can’t be doing with the competitiveness. It’s a waste of energy.
I think friendships are a funny ole business. I have a few friends that I only actually speak to once in a blue moon… one of those friends I haven’t seen for at least 15 years. We tend to talk on the phone, and now occasionally email maybe twice a year - in part because she’s a blah, forgotten the name… she’s a rock person IYKWIM, so is often off at various remote places in the world testing rocks for whatever reason. Another friend, well we chat quite often on facebook, text, have phone calls - but we are very different people in very different places…but I think the friendship works because we are so different and we don’t see much of each other - in fact she’s the friend I generally only see at Christmas and we have a fabulous time. I have another friend from Uni, who I see on facebook and sometimes text and ocassionally call, last visited about 5 years ago. In some ways such friendships suit me because I like time to myself, I like spending time on my own with Rye.. but at the same time, its nice to know I can pick the phone up and have a lovely chat (and vice versa) if I feel in the mood.
But I think the difference is thse are mutual friendships in which the occasionality of the friendship works both ways. What you’re describing WW is duty, a forced friendship - and frankly I don’t see the point. In life there are too many things we HAVE to do, without weighing ourselves down with friendships that do not bring joy. If the friendship feels a chore,well I’d hazard a guess that it’s not really a friendship.
I think perhaps much of this is a realisation we have as we get older and less concerned with how we appear to others etc.. we get that sense of what is truly important to us.. some come to this realisation later than others… but I think when we do, and embrace it, we will be happier and our lives richer.
Thanks so much for sharing everyone. Yes, I think Joxy, I’m probably going through some sort of a process..as you do.
keep warm everyone
I have made various “mummy” friends over the 6 years I have been a mummy, most of them pretty transient. I think it is hard to base a friendship just on the fact you both have children, and things easily change - many friendships have fizzled out when one goes to work etc.
Now I am happy with the friends I have - some old friends I see rarely, others I see on a more regular basis. Recently I have become much better friends with someone, but this has certainly been a slow burner! I actually think facebook is a great way to do that “small talk” without the pressure of being face to face!
I think I know what you mean WW. I find friendships with women (mothers included) very tricky sometimes. When it comes to oneupmanship, I’m sure women are far more competitive than men, the ones’ I’ve experienced have been anyway.
Becks - your post describes how my friendships have gone totally!! Married before any of my friends were and soon a mum, which meant that I was at home with babies while they were still travelling/working/partying etc. Friends that I have met through the children have been ok, but as you said, the minute the friendship gets close, the differences and prejudices surface and the friendship slips away. Like you, I love being with my family, my DH is my best friend and when he takes a day off, I don’t want to dump him with the children and spend the day with girlfriends, I want to spend it with him and I know that friends have thought this was a bit pathetic in the past. Home educating means that the children are very often with me too, DH has one day off most weeks, but I never know which day it will be until very short notice, so it’s almost impossible to plan. I do find that friends overlook me a lot, presuming that because I’m always at home, then I won’t be interested in certain things which is hurtful. The friend that I’m closest to lives a few hundred miles away and has no internet, so we write lovely long letters. We were friends loooong before boyfriends, husbands and children came along and when we do get a chance to be together (once a year usually), it’s like the years are stripped away and we’re children again, giggling at silly things. I get so upset when she’s gone, she’s the only person bar my husband who I don’t have to tiptoe around and who doesn’t judge me and yet we have many differences that you would think would cause problems. I love this forum, because although it’s not the same as face-to-face friendships, it reassures me that there ARE lovely people out there, who sound a bit like me and maybe I might find one of them living nearby one day!
Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!
MY ETSY SHOP!
well I’m about to reveal something I feel really embarrassed about. I decided one of my new years resolutions would be to make friends with a woman (don’t know who yet LOL!) . I’m really lonely - I have no ‘real life’ women friends. I have a lovely friend who I see every couple of months ago, but nothing like I used to have as a teenager. no one I know I could call at 2am, no one I can call on when I’m having a shit day, no one I can leave DD with at a moments notice and I feel desperate about it.
Truth is, I’m not good at making friends and I think it gets harder the older you are. You realise as a Mum that other mums are really busy too and I don’t like to burden people. Also, the irony is, I actually like a lot of time on my own. In groups I’m terrible; I’m far too self conscious, so I don’t mingle and therefore don’t get the chance to meet with people and forge friendships. I’m more of an observer and I can’t stand small talk, but I know I need to get through the small talk to get somewhere deeper <sigh>
But you know what? Here’s the sad bit - I watch old episodes of Sex and the City and I’m so jealous - so envious that they call each other up, cry with each other, share their lives and meet up for a laugh. I really miss it and can only thank God for the internet. It means a lot to me to be able to write to people and feel a connection, but it’s not the same as the physical - someone in your home sitting having a natter on the sofa with you.
Thanks for raising this important topic ww - I worry about DD too because she has so few friends; everyone here is so ‘different’ to us; much more mainstream and the simple truth is, we don’t fit in :(
how the hell do you make new friends as an adult I love how kids wander up to one another in the park “Hi I’m Sarah and I’m 8, shall we play?” and off they go LOL! I wish I could do that now, but I come across as either desperate or aloof depending on my mood…
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Starchild Im with you…Im going to try this year to take a few friendships that are currently ‘chat on the steet’ a bit further…I get lonely sometimes and also worry that dd is the same…I have a few friends I talk to on the phone but hardly see because they are quite a way away…and find the whole friends thing quite hard myself, like you said it seems easy for children in the park…I dont mind if people have different ideas to me, my closest friend since school doesnt want children as she values her career and free time too much….maybe its because I dont have a partner and am not close to my family that the few close friends I do have are everything to me…if something terrible happened thats who Id be on the phone to…
Oh, Starchild, thanks for sharing that. I do hope someone comes along for you soon…
best from us
Wow, Starchild, Im really touched by your honesty. I think you must speak for a great many people on here. Having moved to a new area and being cut off from pre-motherhood interests and vocations and not able to indulge in new interests due to lack of childcare, Ive made a similar new years resolution. Good Luck!
I have quite a lot of friendships, at lots of different levels. There is my sister who I speak to for hours a week and mull over ‘life’ and any problems and know that the vast majority of the time she is on my side and will say what I need to hear and vice versa. But we see each other every 2 - 3 months ish normally.
There is 1 friend who I have known for about 8 years now who I see at least weekly but rarely speak to in between. I can talk to her about anything , though she parents differently to me in a lot of ways. Our children are friends and we get on very well socially.
There are a lot of newer friends (mainly met through being on my courses) who I see regularly and have fun chatting to and doing things together. Mainly on a similar parenting wavelength though vastly different in ages of kids.
Then there are the friends I feel close to but don’t speak to for weeks/months but when we get together we chat excitedly as if we saw each other last week and feel very comfortable with them. I know that if I needed anything they’d be round in a shot and vice versa.
Then there are the aquaintances who I see ad hoc but enjoy seeing and don’t feel beholden to or bad about not being in contact in between.
I guess the common thread is that the friendship terms are mutual and nobody feels put out or upset by what they are. Also they are variable, and friends come and go in different ‘catagories’ iykwim according to life circumstances: where we live/commitments blah blah.
Most of all, if a friendship isn’t working I let it go with no bad feelings. And I find it incredibly easy to ‘just chat’ with people. The hard thing is going to the next level of feeling you can talk about anything/rely on for anything. Mainly this just takes time (a long time!) in my experience but very occasionally it happens really fast when you have a rapport
Needless to say, the only competitive/oneupmanship friends on my lists are firmly in the ‘aquaintance’ or ‘dropped’ catagories! LOL I feel lucky in the friends and aquaintances I have, but when I moved here 10 years ago I didn’t know *anybody* at all. All of my friends are through NCT coffee groups or NCT antenatal courses (and some starting out through home ed). Otherwise it would just be my sister! Thank god for the NCT
I guess if I wanted to meet likeminded people now I might consider doing a course in something that I really enjoyed and if there was someone there who I felt a connection to I would ask if they fancied meeting up for coffee with the kids. Also ask around. My old NCT coffee group now has a walking group, a book club and goes on walking holidays as well as annual family camping and regular meals/drinks out. I rarely go to any, just pop in when I can but am always welcome. Most of them have older children now and would welcome someone new coming in.
Join a book club!!! Or start one My MIL put an advert in a bookshop and was inundated with responses. You could start a ‘mums’ book club or something like that.
I guess when it gets down to it, you just have to be bold and expect some knock backs or for things not to work out but hopefully you will make a few good friendships along the way too
Sorry, bit long and rambling!
Mummy to four little ones
Right I nominate Becky to be our friendship guru! lol
I have problems in real life making friends too. Never know what the heck to say. lol.
Starchild, I’d be your friend, if we lived closer! And what about burning encyclopedias. It is apparently what all the old ladies are doing as it works out cheaper than wood (OT - sorry)
DD1 - Nov 04
DD2 - Aug 07