Think about it, friends are something that we’ve acquired through various social opportunities throughout our lives: our parents/carers may have taken us along to socialise with other children from an early age; then there’s friendships made during our school years; some of us may have even made some friends through sports or another extracurricular activities and then as we grow into adults, work gets added into the mix.
In all these situations it is natural that friendships evolve.
But becoming a mum, well, that’s a whole other story. Not only does it shift your life in ways you never knew possible, it puts you in a situation you most likely haven’t been faced with: and that is making a new friend outside of the usual institutions we listed above.
And in case you didn’t know this yet, having friends when you’re a mum is SO important. For our mental state as well as our emotional wellbeing. Author and acclaimed child expert, Maggie Dent, regularly addresses how much women need friends in all stages of their lives. Women operate differently to that of their male counterparts: they need interactions, connections, closeness and to feel a part of something. Men on the other hand don’t crave this the way women do.
When we have a child, we find ourselves adjusting into an entire new life. We like to think thing won’t change, but ultimately they do whether these changes are big or small. Because, lets be honest, when you have a new human to look after – things change.
And with that can come something you don’t expect: loneliness. If your friends don’t have children then it becomes hard to talk about the new things going on in your life (like the contents of your baby’s nappy, because who knew how much focus we’d put on how many times another little person has a bowel movement pre-baby days, right?); and if your friends do have children but they aren’t the same age then that’s also difficult because you have to fit around each other’s schedules. And children’s schedules become this whole other beast you knew nothing about pre-baby days! Not to mention the mums who have limited support around.
“HONESTLY, PLAYGROUP KEPT ME GOING IN TIMES I WAS STRUGGLING WITH PARENTING.
ESPECIALLY WHEN I HAD A TODDLER AND A NEW BORN.
I KNEW IF I TURNED UP SOMEONE WOULD OFFER TO HOLD MY BABY AND MY TODDLER WOULD HAPPILY PLAY WITH THE OTHER KIDS.”
Besides all the benefits of playgroup, it is also a place for us all to have the opportunity to leave the house, be able to have a coffee and be an adult for a few hours – and for most, that is motivation enough!
Having someone who is also going through what you’re going through (hello sleep deprivation and dealing with a teething bubs!!) somehow makes it a tiny bit easier to deal with.
Remember, playgroups come in all shapes and sizes. So if you need to, try a few to find the one that suits your style and your kid, it’s such a personal experience.
We’d love to hear about any positive experiences you had at your local playgroup!
Lisa is a mum to two spirited young boys who encourage her to beat the record of how many times someone can say “please don’t climb that” in one day. She loves getting together with friends, converses mainly in TV and movie quotes and feels she will never have achieved it all until every single sock in her house is paired.