This is an ode to the joy that is my fabulous mum friends. My fellow pram-pushers, nose-wipers, burp-bringer-uppers. I have got to know these incredible women over the past six years, ever since my firstborn started nursery, and they are a constant source of joy, inspiration, compassion and laughter. I feel incredibly lucky that I can make friends like this amidst the madness of modern motherhood.
Gate mates, mum mates, mum friends, whatever you call them, these are the people that can act like a lifeline in the constantly changing demands of life and new parenthood. In a few snatched minutes of the morning and afternoon, they are often the people who can become most acquainted with events in your life.
This relationship can be a slow burn, but close your eyes and six years have passed and these are the friends who have shared seminal moments of your life.
From a new haircut, cancer scares and house moves to child ailments, pre-birth wax arrangements, parental bereavement, redundancy and homework, to vasectomy timing, depression and what constitutes a decent Cesar salad. Together we can deal with all of this and more.
Topics we have discussed include do pubes go grey? When is the best time and how do you tell your children the facts of life? Catchment areas for schools!!! How to juggle a career and parenthood? The merits of a gamine haircut.
Contrary to the myth that seems to pitch stay-at-home mums against working mums, I have never found this to be an obstacle to friendship. I just want up-for-a-laugh mum, tell-it-how-it-is mum and I-trust-you-with-my-child-and-therefore-my-life-mum.
In many ways it does feel a bit funny making new friends at this stage of your life. Probably the last time you experienced this kind of social pressure/experimentation was when you were a child yourself in the school playground or maybe at university. It can feel quite daunting entering a playground where you know no one and playdates can feel like mini dates for the adults too.
But in many ways this is a great time in your life to make friends. By your thirties you have hopefully worked out your style, taste in music and basic moral compass. You have shed a lot of youthful bullshit and appreciate time spent with good people. I love that my Mum is still making friends in her sixties.
Inspired by my daughter’s recent homework I have written a Kennings poem, rather than an ode, for my fabulous mum mates. A Kennings poem is a riddle made up of several lines of kennings to describe something or someone.
NB It sounds like I am ignoring my very dear childhood friends, school friends and university friends, but they are sensible enough to know that a Kennings ditty is also due to them. Now there’s something to look forward to…