Having a child makes you feel like you’re in college all over again. You go to mother toddler classes or take them to school, and moms everywhere are out to make friends- in inverse proportion to the amount their children want to befriend each other. As we mommies plan play dates so “the kids can get to know each other”, the kids exchange wary looks while the mommies connect over bottle-weaning and baby woes.
Some people dismiss these interactions as “socializing” or trying to expand your mommy network but I see this as a very crucial part of a mom’s life. Women, innately, feel the need to talk and share. Mommyhood is a huge change in any woman’s life, and it’s a very confusing time as you grapple with a newborn who is suddenly
completely dependent on you, a husband who now has to deal with being second best, and your own roller coaster of emotions wherein it feels like your identity has been robbed by this seemingly innocent angel of God. It is a time when you need advice (are those explosive, trucker farts that this little human is capable of emanating, normal?), camaraderie (do you also pee a little, nowadays, when you laugh too hard or wait too long?) and a shoulder to cry on (does it mean I’m a bad mom if I lock myself in the bathroom and read Vogue, while my baby cries outside for the umpteenth time?). We need someone to talk to- someone who truly understands.
That’s why mommy friendships are important, and shouldn’t be disregarded as frivolous. They are what keep you sane at times when you’re sure you should be checked in at The Mental Hospital of Mommies. Through mommy socializing, I have made a group of friends who are my lifelines. I share my deepest, murkiest secrets with this group of people I recently got to know, and they empathize because they are going through the same.
My best friend and I got pregnant at the same time, and I find that our friendship has reached a new level of closeness because of our two little monsters: BabaV and BabyA. From laughing about our protruding bellied-summer ready bodies to crying about our inability to control our hyperactive toddlers (who do WWE moves on us all day), we share everything. Our bodies were so delicate before we had them and now, an otherwise killing karate chop to the vagus nerve behind the ear, doesn’t even result in a raised eye brow. We are fearless as we feel that we have lived through all the unintentional physical abuse our body is capable of taking. It’s only the teenage years that can frighten us now!
Our husbands don’t understand mommyhood, just the way we probably don’t get daddyhood. For the Stay-at-Home-Mums, we are constantly encountered with a look of disgust, and questioned every evening about what it is that we do the whole day. Our men think we sit around sipping on cocktails while our kids diligently play on their own, pick up after themselves and feed themselves. The truth would be closer to the fact that I wish I had a bottle of Sauza stashed in my cupboard so I could take shots while I lived the enslaved life of a mum. The hubbies themselves feel exhausted at having spent ten minutes with these imps on a Sunday. Nandy needs two hours of sleep after every half an hour spent with BabyA. Men seem to understand their own need to socially network for business but dismiss our mommy networks as unnecessary.
It’s so hard to know if you’re doing the right thing: after all, no one offers Mommyhood 101 classes, otherwise I’d have been the first one to enroll. It’s my friends that teach me, soothe me and heal me. When I landed up smacking my daughter because I was sick and she was being very demanding, it was my mommy friends who told me it was ok… to be human. They also gave me alternatives to how I could have handled it better, but only after I had stopped crying. It’s refreshing to have them when all my hubby maybe doing is telling me how out-of-control I am.
It’s important to have friends who know, love and don’t judge– but serve as your confidantes, counsellors and anchors. After all, we all need an anchor since we feel completely at sea (drowning, most of the time!) while bringing up these multi-limbed, freakishly lovable creatures.