I always imagined that having a baby would unlock a whole new pipeline of friend-making opportunities. I mean me and the other mom’s would have a pretty obvious thing in common, right?
But it is never that easy. Well not for me anyway.
Problem number one: I am a little weird, a little awks.
Making friends has never been my strong point, I am great at being mouthy, making people laugh when I am histrionic, being a bit high strung, I am excellent at being fiercely loyal and generally good at not being a complete dickhead.
Surely I would be a catch for anyone on the hunt for a friend?
All I want is someone who gets me, someone who doesn’t judge me unless I have momentarily fallen into said dickhead mode, who is always honest and will tell me when I have done great and when I have not done so great. I want someone who laughs at my jokes, even when their dirty and even more when they’re cheesy. I need someone brave, brave enough to admit when her kids are being assholes and brave enough to tell me when mine are being assholes. I need someone who doesn’t care if my hair is dirty or I am wearing holey (not holy) yoga pants in public.
This is all fine and well – find your tribe all the headlines say and I get it, but when and how?
Enter problem number two: Moms are woefully under-resourced in the time and energy department.
But if I want to make momates, I need to stop making excuses, I need to stop moaning about all the things that make it hard and start finding solutions. Because if a friend is what I want, unless Father Christmas (whom I do not believe exists) delivers a human-shaped box down the chimney this year (which I am sure constitutes human trafficking and thus Saint Nic should be placed in handcuffs and sent down for a few decades to think about what he has done), anyway as usual I digress. Unless the above fantasy/nightmare happens, if I really truly want to find my momates, if I really truly want to build a village, then I need to get off my arse, stop bitching and go out and do something about it.
I need to put myself out there, be vulnerable, join something, leave the house, I HAVE to find the time – perhaps that time I spend crying in the shower, or the time I spend staring at the ceiling contemplating Shaun the Sheep’s backstory – because friendships need time and energy. Even if it’s just the spare change time and energy you are able to scrape from underneath the couch cushions. You best believe the other mom is busy digging in the bottom of her bag of time and energy for whatever scraps she can cobble together so she can meet you too.
But herein lies the key to successful momate relationships – once you have located that precious scrap of time and energy use it, do not flake at the last minute or at all. Cause the other mom is also using her last cent to be there and now you have forced her to waste it on your ungrateful ass.
Also sometimes you need to initiate stuff, sometimes you need to do randomly kind things for that person. You need to be thoughtful, you need to show you care, genuinely care about that other person’s wellbeing and experience of life.
And Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” turns out to be quite handy in this regard.
- Words of Affirmation – give your momate encouragement, affirmation, appreciation, empathise with her and let her know she is not alone. And most importantly when she talks, really listen to her, actively hear what she is saying. These words do not have to be given face-to-face, it can be a WhatsApp, an emoji text, or even a Facebook post.
- Physical Touch – Give her a hug, use your body language and physical gestures to emphasise your love. Unless, she is a person who despises touch, in which case this is not her language of love, more like her language of torture. But if you are anything like me you will still chase her around the coffee table trying to hug her into submission (come to think of it maybe I am starting to see why I don’t have too many friends).
- Receiving Gifts – this is about showing that you are thinking about your momate, it is about thoughtfulness, the gestures – big and small. Picking up your momate’s favourite Starbucks order – No-Fun Flat White – when you get your own – Hazelnut Latte Extra Foam and two sugars. Or it could be a slab of chocolate after she has had a tough week. Or remembering she wanted that scarf from Poetry and getting it for her birthday.
- Quality Time – This means making time dedicated just to your momate, no interruptions, no distractions. It is one-on-one time. This could be doing the Park Walk together, breakfast before work, a weekly skype chat or organising a mani-pedi with her on a Saturday morning while the kids are with the dads.
- Acts of Service – This is an important one for fostering strong relationships with other moms and building that village. This love is demonstrated through help and support. When she is in a jam, taking her kids for a couple of hours, when she is sick bringing her a meal or when she has been running around like a blue-arsed fly all week you offer to pick up some things for her while you are at the supermarket.
There is also a trick in not trying to build your village overnight because, like Rome, it cannot be built in a day. Start with one momate, and like a rare butterfly collector, add over time to your collective.
Try looking for the other weirdo mom, the other mom that also has an aroma of desperation on her, the other mother who also seems to not quite fit in, the other mother whose yoga pants have holes in them and whose hair is not quite passing off the messy bun, look for the other mom who seems just as tired and lost as you.
And adopt her.
But first get her consent, otherwise, that is actually just abduction, which is illegal and you will get sent down alongside Santa Claus and your new momate will be a lady who shares little in common with you other than a shared occupation of a 6 by 8-foot room without a view.
Because one friend means you are part of a pair, you don’t reek of desperation, you no longer care if others initiate a conversation so you can stop talking to yourself, you have a real live person to natter away with. Now you are a pair of moms who just happen to be making small talk with the other moms. No longer are you that lonely ass weirdo who tries to flirt with the mothers of similarly aged kids at the playground.
Being that mom suxs, trust me I know.
P.S. If you want to be my friend please DM me.