The Friend Zone: Catching Mums

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“I’m just really loving life, reallllly loving it. I’m just looking forward to everything you know? Everything!”

Ok, I admit it, I was being a little bit enthusiastic about life this afternoon. And the bounce in my step as I brought the jug of water to the dinner table, forcing some of the watery contents to spill over the side was just unfortunate timing, making me look a little crazy. Isn’t a girl allowed to be chipper?

Unfortunately for me, this time last week I was in such serious doldrums that I declared “Nobody loved me” and I couldn’t possibly see how I would get through the year.  This paired with the slightly manic bouncing with said jug of water resulted in the rather sobering response from the Toolman, “Mmm Hmm” which is husband speak for “Don’t take this seriously, her mood is likely to change with the wind”.

Ok, fair call. I have been known to be a little unstable in the past but I’m telling you, I’m on the up and up. But in order to be up, one must be down.

Enter the doldrums of last week…

Being in the southern hemisphere and therefore approaching the ass end of summer (not including the randomly hot days we get in March), it’s fair to say my friends around me have started to settle back into their normal routines and are far less, “Sure lets meet in the park tomorrow, sounds delightful!”. The Toolman was back to normal working hours by mid Jan and by the end of last week I was feeling lonely and isolated. No amount of positive reinforcement was going to help, I needed some extra company.

Mothers love to tell newly pregnant woman all of their tips and tricks of how to do things. Don’t fight it ladies, it seems to be some sort of strange biological imperative. It’s usually about bottle warmers or prams or maybe on a particularly bad day about “storing sleep”. Just nod politely at these ones and listen close to this one word of advice that I guarantee will get you through. It’s a real cracker …

As soon as you find that test to be positive, con as many amiable women around you to fall pregnant as quickly as possible. A best friend would be great, a work colleague will do, just make sure you cast your net really wide. You’re going to need them. But don’t need them so much they can smell your desperation…

You see, in the last year I realise now I have been focussing my attentions on people around me who are not available. Nice, loving but for whatever reason, not available.

“Why don’t they call?” I’d ask the Toolman. I foolishly thought that when I had a baby people would constantly be visiting (and lets face it, bringing me cake). And some did and for that I am so bone grateful I could cry. Others didn’t and I suppose for some silly reason that I haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of yet, I thought they would. I assumed it was my turn to be visited. But mainly, I’m just too darn young to have any girlfriends who have started their families and women who have gone before me into motherhood have moved on. My sister had to go and get a silly job last year and my dear cousin is now returning back to work. So I’m existing in a bit of a vacuum.

But you know what I’ve realised. People are busy with their own lives. They’re just getting by themselves, needing the people in their life to make allowances too. And you know what? I’m not that damn important!

So I decided to pull myself together. If I couldn’t find anyone to play with, I’d just get on out there, just Bella and I. So I’ve been walking and walking and walking some more. I walk everywhere. And this morning, a friend with a bub met me for a walk. And then when I was walking home, another friend with a bub saw me and “yoo hoo-ed” out her window and asked me to have a coffee. And then this arvo, another girlfriend with a bub invited me to the zoo. You see what just happened there? It’s taken me a while to figure it out I know.

And you know the best thing about all this? My face was make up free, I was in my “gym gear” throughout it all (P.s. Stay at home mums rarely go to the gym. Stretchy pants are just really comfy) and not one of these other mums bat an eyelid.

It’s ok to talk about teething and raspberry stains unselfconsciously. It’s absolutely normal to stop half way through a conversation to attend to a child only to pick it up again immediately without offending someone. And best of all, other mums understand that when you say you’re going to sneeze, it’s perfectly normal to all stop mid walk and cross your legs.

So yes Toolman, I am really loving life today. I’m more optimistic about the coming year, even if no one is around for coffee next week. I feel good today simply because I’ve spoken with friends and felt understood. Chatted around the proverbial water cooler.

We may be the boring people in the supermarket aisle, with dollops of yoghurt on our stretchy pants or the over animated mums at music class but inside we’re the amusing people of yesteryear. Don’t let the appearance fool you, we may even be quite good company.

And just like I have learnt in recent times, there just might be a special friendship in the making…

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