While you may not have been The Popular Kid at school, the chances are you’ve made it in to adulthood with a good collection of girlfriends. You’ve no doubt got a few old friends from school, and you’ve picked up some other amazing ones along the way, whether that’s college, university or work.
Finding someone to go out for a drink with on a Friday night has never been difficult, nor has striking up conversation with a stranger before bonding over the latest celebrity gossip or the season finale of your favourite show.
Then you went and had a baby.
Suddenly everything has changed.
If you are the first in your friendship circle to procreate it might not take long for you to feel out of the loop. Or, to put it more accurately, completely isolated and shut off from the life you once knew.
The reality is becoming a parent changes you, and everything about you. Ultimately it changes your relationships as well. That’s not to say you can’t maintain the same relationships you once had, of course you can, but it tends to require a bit more work. Besides, with a baby in tow you’re likely to be working on a completely different timetable to your social group.
While you want to head out for a coffee and a walk around the park, they are still sat behind a desk. When they’re getting ready for pre-dinner or movie drinks you’re sat in your PJ’s trying to wipe baby puke out of your hair. The struggles are real.
If you have any hopes of staying vaguely sane it’s essential you find yourself a new group of friends. Mummy friends. No, they aren’t there to replace your longstanding girlfriends, but they do add a support network to your new life that you’re one day going to realise you couldn’t live without. But where are these Mums? Where do they hang out and how can you get in on the action?
While it may seem obvious the key to making Mummy friends is putting yourself out there. It’s a bit like getting back on the dating scene – you have to be in it, to win it. No matter where you live there is bound to be some kind of baby-related event taking place, whether it’s the local Sure Start Centre or the village hall. Get to it and get mingling.
One of the hardest things for adults about making friends is that they’re out of practice. Once upon a time it was the most natural thing in the world to talk to someone you didn’t know in the park, but you’re not 6 years old anymore and suddenly you’re consumed by self-consciousness and a huge desire to impress. The good news though is that when it comes to engaging other Mums in conversation you have an immediate conversation starter – their kids.
Enquiries about age, name, milestones or favourite TV shows will no doubt have you both commiserating over lost sleep and waxing lyrical about the insanity of Paw Patrol and Mayor Goodways over reliance on her pet chicken. Of course, just because you are both parents, or your children are a similar age, does not mean you will hit it off immediately, but persevere. As with all new relationships occasionally you have to kiss a few frogs to get your prince.
Here are some great mother and baby groups around Chesterfield:
Wingerworth Monday play group – based at the church centre every Monday during term time from 9.30am
Fidgets – Thursday’s 10:00am and 11:00am at Hasland Baptist Church Hall on the corner of Eyre Street and Kent Street, Hasland, Chesterfield.
Please feel free to comment with any other locations of groups.