Lonely is a word often used when describing being a new mum but a word is just a word. Often I think “lonely” doesn’t do it justice.
I thought that having a child would mean my lonely days would be over. I have a partner too! All the things we assume will make us “whole”. We won’t be singing “all by myself” into a vodka bottle on a Friday night now will we? Because partner plus baby = the antonym of lonely.
So what a horrific assault it was to my cranium that once the baby was here I had never felt so utterly “alone” in the entire thirty years of my only child life. And not just alone – isolated. No one to talk to. No one to see what I dealt with all day. No one to feel how tired I was. No one to tap me on my back for the tiny, tiny accomplishments like having a wash or getting out of bed. The people I thought would be there for me vanished. I felt abandoned. I felt bereft. I spent my days in mourning for my old life, my old social circle. I kept the curtains closed. I retreated into myself. I became the worst version of myself. And the only person to pour my negative feelings into was my partner: who would continually plead:
Go out and make friends!
It’s not that easy is it? I hadn’t had to “make friends” since my first day of secondary school. My confidence was at an all time low. It took me months… a year to interact with others. I dragged myself to toddler groups and even attended a uni class and met people. But something was missing. What I really was searching for was a mummy soulmate. I began to think it would never happen.
Then it happened. One November day I took my son who was nearly two to a tiny park next to me. It was a split second decision as I was feeling oddly energised and bubbly that day. I was doing my usual look at your kid and sometimes roll your eyes at the kids with another parent thing when my son ran up to a little girl and started playing with her, passing his football back and forth. She picked up the ball and ran and I watched as he ran after her, completely smitten.
I looked to her parents where I clocked eyes on my soulmate. Of course, I didn’t know she was my mummy soul mate at that moment. Just another mum in the park – but I chatted to her and she told me about a mum group in the area where we saw each other again and awkwardly exchanged digits.
You might not know instantly that someone is your mummy soul mate. But you can spot her by:
- her list of complaints about being a mum. She’s speaking your language! Someone else understands – someone else has days just like yours. Someone else unashamedly tells you that sometimes being a mum is fucking tough and lonely.
- She knows how to use her child and yours to “occupy” each other while you can have a good old chin wag.
- She’s not judgemental about the food choices for your child and happily goes along with sugary child bribes to buy you a few more minutes of peace.
- She knows how to block out the inane sounds of peppa pig while you drink proper coffee and she sometimes brings baked goods.
- She watches you cry when you’re pregnant and never makes you feel like a prat.
- She listens to your moans about your relationship but never suggests “leave the bastard” and offers mature, sensible “have you tried this approach” advice.
- She completely understands if you ever have to cancel plans at the last second as she understands what it’s like to have an unpredictable toddler mum life.
- She never makes you feel like you need to go on an episode of extreme hoarders or reports you to the council because of your untidy house. Her house is similar.
- She sends you hilarious text messages with naughty emojis.
- You have a catchphrase and “in” jokes.
- She introduces you to other mum friends! So you suddenly feel like you have a … dare I say it… Social circle.
- When you’re pregnant with your second baby and about to give birth she drops round a care package including chocolate teacakes which makes you let go of the upset you always felt at never having a baby shower with your first born.
- She “gets you” though you’re entirely odd.
- Her kid loves your kid and you feel they’ll be friends for years to come.
She is the Tina Fey to my Amy Poehler and she knows who she is. Once you’ve found your partner in crime it’s crazy how much your mum life can improve.
If you’re looking for a mummy soulmate please don’t give up hope. She’s out there – you’ll find her when you least expect it.
Don’t try to force it, the woman you accosted in the co-op in the crisp aisle and tried to have a 40 minute conversation about how crisps ain’t what they used to be is probably not her. Remember the fear in her eyes? Don’t make the mistake of jumping on the first fresh body you come across because you’re so lonely (we’ve all been there!).
Just relax and get out of the house.
However hard it is – get out there and hope that like the dogs in 101 Dalmations – your children’s reigns will get tangled together and before you know it, a year has passed and having this friend has saved your relationship, saved your sanity and quite possibly saved your life.
There is probably a whole new batch of new mums in the park right now… hoping to meet their mummy soulmate. Shall I get your coat?
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