Becoming a Supermum; the importance of a support network

I already fessed up on my hideous first attempt to make ‘mummy friends’ (cringe, I hate that term, sorry) : (the sausage roll mum) . It’s three and a half years on, and I’d hate for you to be imagining me still sitting home alone (with the kids obv), sobbing into a sweaty pastry. So here’s the rest of the story.

I didn’t always crave ‘maternity leave buddies’. I have a vivid memory of telling people pre-baby that I didn’t need new friends – I barely had time to catch up with the ones I already had. Yes, maternity leave would be a time for me to catch up on missed socialising with the pattering of existing friends who had already made the leap into parenthood. Days would roll happily from one coffee morning to the next, and all would be wonderful.

And initially, that is what I did. And my wonderful friends were amazing – especially in that first few weeks daze when I needed someone to cuddle the baby and make me a decent cup of tea, or let me have a shower. But, what I came to learn is that having children 2 years apart, 6 months apart, 4 months apart doesn’t equate to going through things together. It’s not much fun taking a newborn to soft play. Mums with their second kids were busy doing nursery runs, and after school clubs. Lots of them worked various days of the week. It’s hard to join in with conversations about weaning when you’re still battling with breastfeeding throughout the night. Most of the questions I asked them were answered with ‘I can’t really remember, it seems so long ago’.

So, I started to think about venturing outside of my comfort zone.

I never signed up to NCT classes, so the obvious place to start was the local Surestart centre. I was fairly familiar with it as I was walking to get baby weighed every week (how I laugh now – every week! I must have been bored…). I would sit in the waiting room, no where else to be, happy to be 15th in the queue, making small talk with other tired looking mums. Yet, none of those friendships blossomed to second base. Language barriers were often an issue, but I still to this day see the same lovely Eastern European Mum I saw so often, who spoke no word of English, and we are still as excited to see how much our girls have grown; A friendship formed in silence.

When little teeny TG was about three months, I signed up to the free baby massage course. I met a nice group of Mums there, we giggled over our naked babies weeing everywhere and exchanged stories of feeding, sleepless nights and of course, the births.

As the 4 week course grew to a close, I realised I’d miss it, so decided to see what else was on offer. I showed up to a weaning talk (3 months too early, standard MMT) and as always plucked up the courage to chat to anyone else looking as lonely as I felt.

That was where it began. Supermum number 1 and I arranged to check out the local Babytalk session that Friday. It was a date.

Not sure what to expect, I gingerly arrived and spotted a familiar face – a friend of a friend who’d been due near me. We sat down together and as my date walked in, we both said hello in unison. It turned out they were also friends of friends. At that moment, supermums became 3.

The babytalk crowd weren’t all everyones cup of tea. We made a few frenemies (we are girls at heart after all) and we sort of liked being on the outside of the in crowd. Our little group was however always open to all misfits, and it wasn’t long before we became friends with another mum, who was a little nervous and feeling too old to fit in with the others. She’d almost given up on making friends at these shindigs, but was chuffed to bits to meet us.

She introduced us to her neighbour, whos little lad was the same age as our tots. We immediately bonded over a heartfelt discussion on when to start weaning. It was friendship at first sight.

And so we grew, an eclectic bunch, often found at the local park if weather anything other than freezing or torrential. Occasionally opening up our doors to allow our houses to be trashed. Summer outings a plenty. Lots of big ideas which never happen. Always there for each other on the end of a whatsapp group. A clique? Probably? Exclusive? Never.

Supermums features all sorts of women, from all walks of life. Lawyers, stay at home mums, reluctant supermarket workers and city chicks. Mums of one, two (not yet three!); with between us stories of IVF, traumatic births, miscarriage, stillbirth. Our children have become firm friends, as have the ‘SuperDads’. We have managed a few nights out, but most of the bottles consumed have been by the juniors of the group, of the white variety.

None of us have replaced our existing friendship circles with each other, but if becoming a Mum taught me one thing, it is that your children will bring you new opportunities and happy times, if you are open to them.

If you are reading this, and feeling lonely as hell, don’t give up. Check out your local surestart centre activities – they’re free and you might just find one person you connect with. Maybe not the first time you go, but don’t give up. If you are a bit daunted, try and find someone you know to go with – maybe a friend of a friend had a baby the same time as you? Get a message to them, ask them out on a date, they might just turn out to be the start of something wonderful.

Did I ditch all my old friends? Of course I didn’t. They were always there, but the Supermums certainly plugged the gaps (which there were many of, mostly midweek mornings). As our kids have grown from newborns to small people, that gap I originally talked about (4 months, 6 months, 2 years) seems to have disappeared between them, they’re just a bunch of children who will all happily wrestle each other regardless of age. I am so very grateful to be sharing family memories with my lifelong friends, who have and will always be there for me and vice versa.

But, I will also always be eternally grateful for the Supermums, for helping me not feel isolated in my anxieties as a new mum. For sharing those special firsts with me; first teeth, first steps, first day back at work. For letting us be a part of their lives, and being so very welcome in ours. As our kids all venture off to new schools and meet new friends, I sincerely hope we might hold on to the bonds we have formed.

Once a supermum, always a supermum.

x MMT

Thank you so much to Sure Start, a fantastic resource, changing the lives of families for the better throughout the UK.

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28 thoughts on “Becoming a Supermum; the importance of a support network

  1. wonderfulandaverage Reply

    Love this! I felt so sad for you reading the sausage roll story, it’s good to read the happy ending. Supermums sounds a lot like our ‘baby club’ group of mummy friends (I hate that term too!). They’re planning to close the vast majority of the children’s centres where we are, it’s so sad to think that other mums are going to be denied the chance to form a support network.

  2. helen gandy Reply

    Such a lovely post, I went to a few groups with my 1st but haven’t been to any this time around, I never really gelled with any of the mums previously so wasn’t overly fussed this time and plus trying to get out to what is such a mission! Sounds like you are doing great and I have to agree about the surestart centres, such a wonderful resource. Thanks for linking up! #bestandworst hope to see you again.

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      Second time is sooo different isn’t it?! Lucky for me the aforementioned #coolmumclub / supermums had already started dropping sprog #2s so we had a ready made set of friends for dangermouse! x MMT

  3. Harps Reply

    So glad you found that support network. We signed up to NCT before Arj was born and are still in touch with most. I was lucky enough to have lots of friends at a similar stage to us too. It can still get lonely though! #coolmumclun x

  4. Mama Reply

    I was so glad to find my mum friends. I think I bore them less than my single, childless friends. I found them, and a big group at that, on Facebook. I was really glad too as the Mum groups tend to be in the city and cost a small fortune. Free coffee and afternoons at the park are much more my scene.

    Thanks for hosting #coolmumsclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      That is spot on – I found the void between me and my not-mum-mates became like the grand canyon when we tried to make small talk…The fact they never asked about my kids, and the fact I struggled to remember anything outside of raising my kids was awkward to say the least!

      1. Mama Reply

        Haha, agreed.

  5. bloodsugarecmomagik Reply

    That’s a lovely post. I ventured out my comfort friend zone too and think I would’ve gone a bit barmy had I not. ☺️ #coolmumclub x

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      Me too…need to be busy and maternity leave brings alot of free time and unaswered questions! x

  6. The Anxious Dragon Reply

    I never had the confidence when my boys were younger to approach other mums in the hope of making friends. I wish I had because they were some lonely years. Its such a shame so many surestart centres are closing now too. (this is really a rather negitive comment isnt it, sorry) #coolmumsclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      You are so right – what a shame to lose such a valuable resource. Getting kids everywhere away from the TV! And mums away from their smartphones (me included) x

  7. laurajanewrites Reply

    I’ve struggled to understand why I can’t get to grips with organised mummy gatherings. I’ve tried (with questionable conviction admittedly) but I just have zero motivation to get involved in my local mummy circles. Although I’m confident that I’m a great mum to my girls, I’m less self assured when it comes to my role in these circles. So I’ve had to find my own way. It’s not that I don’t have mummy friends – since having Poppy and Milly I’ve made some great relationships with a handful of lovely ladies with similar aged offspring – and I’ve found this is what worls for me. #coolmumclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      I’m absolutely on the same page as that – the organised smarmy mummy groups didn’t last long once we became a bunch of mums in need of company and trips out of the house…pretentious people aren’t my thing, but luckily through fate I found some nice people who keep my feet on the floor. Thanks for coming back to #coolmumclub x MMT

  8. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    To be honest I have really struggled on this front too – I have a couple of cool mum friends but I could really do with some more – please can we be friends?!! x #coolmumclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      We are friends! And we are definitely cool…. x MMT

  9. nightwisprav3n Reply

    I’ve known a fellow Autism mom for years now. We met when my our 13 year olds started Kindergarten and just this week, we finally had time to get coffee and have real conversation without kids around. It was awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! Visiting from #coolmumsclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      Now theres a thought! xxx Thanks lovely x

  10. agentspitback Reply

    What a lovely post! I was very very nervous when I became a new mum. First, I was one of the first of my friends and second, I was already nervous because I didn’t even know if I was handling my baby right! So I think I must have scared everyone off. But it’s true when you realise that everyone, well, some are just as nervous as you and all you need to do is to smile first and say hello. I’ve made lifelong friends through my children.

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      I didn’t think I was a particularly anxious person until I had my first baby! I think (?) I have chilled a little now I’m on round number two, it’s all a total head wobbler. Glad my pals kept me sane! Thanks for joining in today – great to have you on board x

  11. helen gandy Reply

    Stopping by to add a comment from the #coolmumsclub thanks for hosting lovely X

  12. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) Reply

    It’s wonderful that you have such a great support network. If I’m honest I hate baby and toddler groups because I just don’t fit in and I find them rather cliquey. Probably more to do with my self-confidence rather than them as people but it does make forming friendships difficult. Sadly I really don’t make new friends very easily and the friends I do have I met years ago in school. I really should venture out more and open myself up to new opportunities but sometimes it feels safer just to live in my bubble but after reading this I’m really going to get out and about more next week. I really have no rescue that my middle child is in pre-school. You may have well given me the kick up the bum that I needed.

    Thanks for hosting #cool mum club 🙂

  13. A Moment with Franca Reply

    How lucky you are to have this group of mums. I have never been part of anything like that. With my eldest daughter I never tried to do that. I felt very shy I think. Now with my second one I haven’t done it either but I’m seriously thinking to start joining a group because it will be good for me. I have some mums that I met from Bella’s school but they are not necessary in the same page than me. Great post! Thanks for hosting! 🙂 x #coolmumsclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      It’s never too late Franca. I’m sure you will find someone you really click with, if you keep trying. I know what you mean with the second one though – days are so busy its easy to get caught up in everything else to do baby groups. xx

  14. Laura's Lovely Blog Reply

    I actually did pay for the NCT classes and I did an ante natal and post natal group and I remember at the time thinking it was a lot of money, but now I say to any of my friends when they get pregnant to do it as those mums have been awesome friends to me and we’ve all seen each other through tricky times. Mums friends are awesome #coolmumclub

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      It certainly seems the NCT route is a safe bet on making friends with like minded mums. I took a gamble on the free way but hit jackpot. Phew! X

  15. chrisps Reply

    I liked the honesty of this post and I can’t remember reading a similar piece about making friends as a parent. It brought back some memories and reminded me of how much I have to thank my kids for the friends I now have.

    Touchline Dad

  16. Becky Pink Reply

    Lovely post and really rang true to me. Sometimes going to baby and toddler groups can be so daunting. I was really lucky as I met a mum to be at my antenatal classes and we bonded instantly, and then we each had sometime to go to things with. And we added to our friendship group when we went to a baby yoga class. Someone thought of handing out a notebook so we could all add our emails and we still meet up most weeks, over 4 years later. They are my best mum friend and I couldn’t cope without them! So glad you have a similar group! Becky xx #bestandworst

  17. Mummyandmonkeys Reply

    Oh wow it was like you were describing me when I had Kyle! I turned 23 a week after I had him and I had a few friends who had children but most didn’t! I had met a couple of Mums at pregnancy swimming who I am now still really close with. I remember trying to make local friends and managed too and had great support network. I found it a lot harder with baby no 2 as I had a toddler in tow so missed out on the baby, baby groups. Then with no 3 she hardly has any baby friends! #coolmumclub

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