Motherhood can be pretty lonely, especially in the first few years. Just keeping a whole tiny person loved, safe, fed and dressed can seem like the most monumental of tasks, let alone attempting it all AND leaving the house at the same time. It’s easy to slip into a routine of naps and feeds and realise you haven’t worn real clothes for five days, or that the only person you have spoken to that week is your spouse, or maybe even the baby.
The comments will start as soon as your bundle arrives, sometimes even sooner, and especially if you are the first in your friendship group or generation to have kids, like I was.
You need to get some mum friends.
People will suggest that you need to ‘get out there’ to mum and baby groups and meet some people who are in the same position as you. And at first, it seems like a good idea. You need people who are living through those rough early days with you, friends who are also on maternity leave, friends who you can have coffee with and go shopping with, people who you can begin to rely on and swap babysitting favours with occasionally.
And so, when the newborn fog starts to lift after the first month or two, you look up the best groups near you, pack a bag with four changes of baby clothes and an item for every possible eventuality, and off you go, full of hope that this will be the beginning of some beautiful, life-long friendships.
Except they lied.
Mum and baby groups, toddler groups, bumps and buggies, stay-and-play – whatever the names of the groups in your area, they are the most impossible places to find new friends ever.
For a start, all the people there are either new and shy, like you, or they are in established friendship groups and not as fussed about meeting new friends.
Then, add in the fact that the church, town hall, children’s centre, wherever, will be filled with approximately half as many again babies and children as there are adults. And they all need A LOT of care and attention. If by chance, you manage to strike up a conversation with a mum you like the look of, you will barely have exchanged how old your children are before one of you has run off to feed/change/calm/prevent a toddler from doing something dangerous to himself or another child.
The room is scattered with abandoned tea and coffee cups, above toddler reach, because no one has the time to stay and chat for extended periods, especially with people they don’t know that well.
Finally, groups usually last for between one and two hours each week. If you add up the time you have had for meaningful conversations during that time, it will take about ten years before you have chatted enough to form a friendship in the traditional way.
You are still feeling a bit raw and emotional. Motherhood affects us all in unpredictable ways and the adjustment period is a long one. It is just so hard to march up to an individual or crowd at a baby group and start chatting, and even harder to suggest that you could meet up with someone outside of the group.
I went to mum and baby groups for a full nine months while I was on maternity leave with my son, and a full year while on maternity leave with my daughter. And, do you know what? I don’t have a single mum friend nearby. Not one. I have no one to have coffee with, no one to shop with, no one to talk to about sleepless nights, no one to swap babysitting favours with.
And I am lonely.
Introducing the Momzie App
BUT, there is hope. Modern technology is a wonderful thing and there are now ways that lonely mums can reach out to other mums in their areas. Momzie is a new mobile app where mums and mums-to-be can meet and make new friends in their local area, in an easy and fun way. Momzie came to be when its founder Hanna realised that it was really hard to be a supportive friend to the new mums she knew as she did not have children of her own. She also noticed that her mum friends did not have a supportive group of friends to help them through this challenging time. During the day when stay-at-home most needed company most of their friends without children were at work.
Momzie is a bit like Tinder for mums – you are connected with like-minded mums in your area and you simply swipe right to show you would be interested in meeting (much easier than lurking in a crowded town hall, nursing cold tea for two hours). If they swipe to say they would like to meet you too, you are put in contact with one another.
I have been trying out Momzie over the last few weeks and it is extremely user-friendly and simple. I have already found a few mums that I would love to meet up with. The only downside at the moment is that the app is new and there are not many mums registered yet. That’s where you come in. You can download Momzie now – it’s free. I really wish something like this had been more established a few years ago. If it had been, I might already be enjoying some of those life-long mummy friendships I have been dreaming about.
*Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with the Momzie App All words and opinions are my own*