Melanie's Motherhood Story - Don't forget about your friend who just became a Mum
Everyone needs a Carly.
I’m finding as I get older my friend circle is getting smaller and smaller. It' totally fine - all our priorities changed the minute we became parents. It’s hard to make plans, especially with 4 kids, 5 years and under. Hey, I have some friends who have 1 child and struggle to make plans.
For me it’s a combination of the kids and my husband’s working hours, that and trying to make time for ourselves.
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We moved away from our home town on the Mornington Peninsula before we had kids. We had a big circle of friends and moving so far away put a strain on some of our relationships.
As we grew older most of us focused less on partying and more on work and careers. My career was the reason we moved. My career was the main bread winner at the time so it felt like the right thing to do - to help further my career. With the support of my husband and our families, we packed up our lives and moved to a small town on the outskirts of Wonthaggi. It was challenging, tiring, rewarding and friendship testing, but also new friendships were found.
A year went by and I found myself pregnant with our first child. It was such an exciting time for us! 9 months later, our first born came into the world.
We had a handful of friends come to visit. We also had a handful of friends disappointed that we had not brought our son to meet them.
This confused me.
My social circle began to diminish with each pregnancy, as if to suggest that having kids means you can no longer be social. You no longer get invited out for dinner, coffee, weekends away, the movies etc. this took a huge toll on me emotionally and I started to resent certain people. There were times where some people would lie about what they were doing so that they didn’t ‘hurt’ my feelings as to why I wasn’t invited. I would get upset and talk to my husband about it, he would say 1 of 2 things to me - speak up and confront them or stop letting it get to you. I had trouble doing both. Which is strange as I’m a pretty honest person and tell it like it is, but the worry of some friends ‘leaving’ because I can be too honest, scared the hell out of me.
When our twins came along the feeling of being left behind came back again. I didn’t take it too seriously to begin with because I was busy tending to 2 babies (Holy Moly, that’s hard work in itself!) and a toddler (nappies, vomit, snot noses, toilet training urrggg).
Though there were times when I wasn’t bothered because I wasn’t sure how I would fit anything in (add in the lack of sleep too!). But it would have been nice if some just called or sent a text to see how I was, to see how WE were.
Not long before we fell pregnant with the twins we moved again (umm at 34 weeks preggo, working full time!). This time about 45 minutes closer to our home town. Closer to our friends and family. Whilst I was pregnant, everyone continued to offer help for when the twins were born, cook meals and help with the housework (YES PLEASE!). Yet when they were born, they all seemed to run the other way. Initially I took it with a grain of salt, they have lives too, some have children also and I understood that twins may be confronting to some (hell it was confronting for me!). But it was disappointing that there were so many that were so excited for us to be having twins, then nothing - apparently a comment on a Facebook post is enough these days. It was at this time I had to let it go. I had to come to terms with the fact some friends just were not going to come back. One of them being one of my best friends. Cracks started to show whilst I was pregnant with my 4th. By the time my baby was 4 weeks old that friendship ended.
I’ve come to terms with the end of that particular friendship, though my 5 year old has not. He often asks about this person, and for some time I just said she was busy. Last week when he asked me about her I told him the truth. I told him we had a falling out and that even though I tried to make the friendship work, she didn’t want to put the work in.
It killed me knowing how upset he got (but - resilience!!). But sometimes you just know when it’s time to tell the truth. He hasn’t asked about her since, but I’m sure he will again at some point. Kids have better memories than we realise, sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. Friendships come and go. Some stay forever, some for a short time, and some come in and out of your life. I always imagined my life with a close circle of life-long friendships. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few of those (and the best most amazing husband ever), but I use to have more. It’s taken me many tears and questions over the years but I think I’m ok now. I guess all I can ask, is that if you have a friend who has become a parent for the first time, third or fifth time even, don’t walk away from them. Invite them to dinner, beer, movies. They might say no 4/5 times (hey, I’m that Mumma!) but it’s not because they don’t want to. They probably can’t wait to get out and have adult conversation (omg adult talk is the best), hearing about your life, telling you about what they’ve been up too (and in my case talking about true crime and reality TV ha!). Parenting is hard, and at times it’s not fun. It’s tiring, relationship testing and sometimes full of doubt. Your phone call or text might just be what they need today. Tomorrow. Next week.
They may appear to you, to not want to leave the house or be social, but I can assure you they do. They need you and they need your encouragement.
Your friends are your memories, good and bad. The ones who really care will stick around, support your decisions, be honest, pull you back in line and love you. The ones who don’t - well from my experience they aren’t worth the worry. Like most things in life, what’s meant to be will be. I’m lucky enough to have a small group of close friends now. Some who I talk to every day, some who I talk to once or twice a week, some who I talk to when life isn’t so hectic. Most of them have kids so we all know how busy life can be, and all my mum friends are working Mumma’s who work there butts off.
But I have this one friend - this one friend who doesn’t have kids, this one friend who battles a chronic illness, who works full time, who studies full time, who has a new boyfriend, who has a side business, this one friend who my kids call Aunty Carly. I’ve spoken about Carly in the past (see earlier posts) and I can’t talk this chick up enough.
Everyone needs a Carly.
Most of my friends have their own version of a Carly and I think it’s important to have one. That one person you can turn too, that one person who you have a chat going with on all platforms of social media (lol), that one person who takes your kid to the toilet and stands there while they piss all over the toilet wall and door whilst trying to aim for the bowl, and simply laughing. That one person who couldn’t care less how messy your house is or how much washing you have, that one person who always brings wine, who understands your obsession with true crime, who messages you to ask if you managed to shave both legs today, who notices your new glasses, and reminds you that you’re ok! That one person who waits for the kids to go to bed, then suggests a drive to Krispy Kreme and late night coffee. Find yourself a Carly, find that one person who apart from your significant other, is your other. They will know everything about you. They will care about your family, your dog, they will bring snacks, play with the kids, but most importantly they will let you be YOU. You won’t need to hold back in front of this person ever, and if you need to hold back then they aren’t your Carly. You need to find a new one. But if you find one, hold on to them. Good, kind, long lasting friends are hard to come by. Treat them with kindness and respect. It’s a bit like a marital relationship really. You need to work hard to make it work. But once it works, it’s amazing. Friendships are important. It’s quality not quantity. You will put in the hard work if it’s the right person, and in return you will make amazing memories.
I'm just a Mumma who’s winging this thing called life! I also live for reality TV. Especially Real Housewives, Teen Mom and Married at first sight. My husband hates reality TV - haha.
Hood: South East Melbourne
Children: 4 boys
Motherhood in 5 words: Chaotic, full, loud, loved, laughter
Fav family friendly place: Melbourne Aquarium
Coffee order: Vanilla Latte
Biz: Concreters Wife
A blog where I share my life as a wifey and Mum of 4 boys.
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