You need to find new friends
Maternity leave isn’t looking exactly like you’d expected it to, is it? It is tough making friends when you’re still recovering from an episiotomy, you haven’t slept in months, and the only common ground you have is the fact you both managed to get fertilised around the same time.
I know, you’re big on friends. Through the years they’ve helped you sharpen up the idea you have of yourself, challenging your views until you’re steadfast, backing you up when you’re unsure and showing you how to be compassionate, fun and not a totally lame drinker. But this isn’t Sex and The City, mate! Your friends are still living it up, they’re still very SATC, but you’re now moving into Mr Tumble territory. Cocktail hour will clash with your bedtime routine unless they bring it forward to noon. They’ll be at work all day and by the time they’re done, you’ll be fighting off a 5pm coma with biscuits, as you enter the cluster-feed zone.
I know – some of your old friends are amazing, bringing you food and support. But they can’t do it everyday – they’ve got jobs and partners and Homeland on series link.
So you need to find new friends for the endless weekdays, kid. But the most important thing to remember is: be patient. Because you are going to meet a LOT of potential mum mates. Rather than throwing yourself at them all without question, pause for a moment. Take it slow.
Some mums will try to engage you in the kind of mumming they’re keen to make into a competitive sport. Some will offer veiled criticism of the way you feed or where you live. Some will leave you feeling incapable when you struggle with the carseat, or puerile for not being able to imagine going back to work yet.
“I can’t wait to use my brain again,” they’ll say, while you’re thinking, Shit, my brain’s never had to work this hard before.
You don’t have the capacity for critical thought right now, girl, so just step back and watch a bit of Mad Men, with a nice Hobnob, and wait. You’re not a dick, you’re not a terrible mother, you’re just tired and not so hot at talking or listening right now.
One day very soon, she’ll arrive. She’ll turn up to that baby group you hate, where you feel so lonely in a room full of chattering women. That friend who will celebrate each tiny victory with you, hand you a fresh breast pad when you’re firing hot milk out of both boobs in Costa. She’ll hold your hands when it gets really tough, tell you you’re doing OK, and she’ll love your baby so hard. Then your old friends will come back, in time. And before you know it, you’ll be beating them off with a stick – good ones you and your baby like. You’ll be back to nights out, working with great women and even holidays, and you’ll soon forget it was ever any other way.
So hang tight, mama. It’ll happen soon.