‘We seem to forget and take for granted the role our friends play in our lives, they’re important, in fact they’re vital to surviving this motherhood gig and getting out of it not only alive but thriving. ‘
There is so much emphasis around relationships being put to the test in the first year of becoming parents, of becoming a Mother. But what about friendships – where do they fit in?
I know as a sole parent I value these more than I ever imagined I would but I wonder is it really that different for Mums with partners, after all there is a certain bond formed with women who have been and are where you are, going through the same motions, the same feelings. I think we take for granted that friendships are a relationship, sure without the sex but you share so many more intimate details and moments with your friends, I dare say more than with anyone else in the world.
With friendships there are so many less insecurities. There’s no endless questions of am I too needy or am I enough? There is an unspoken permission to just be yourself. We enter friendships with less self-doubt than we do with relationships but I feel like sometimes we also take this unspoken agreement for granted and don’t take the time to work through things the way we would a ‘partnership’ which is odd when you think about it.
When I decided to give this Solo Mum gig a go the primary reason was because when I looked around at the people I called my friends I knew without a shadow of a doubt that that I could totally do this. Especially with such a bunch of legends in my corner who had my back. If you had of told me that most of them wouldn’t be in my life now, that the ones I held closest wouldn’t be there when I needed them most I would have passionately disagreed. It’s not something I ever anticipated but it should have been, I mean why wouldn’t it be?
It’s something we’re not really prepped for because it’s not openly spoken about but upon entering Motherhood you’re about to go through one hell of a bumpy ride with all your relationships as your life changes and some of these changes will break your heart. A lot of my friendships didn’t survive this. What I need from my friends now has changed as drastically as my priorities and has proven to be too much for the majority. Leaving behind a trail of hurt, upset and heartbreak. If you think relationships with the opposite sex are difficult to maintain when the going gets tough, friendships are a whole new kettle of fish. Mainly, I feel, because we’re not actually ever really taught to deal with them.
The mundane-ness of what Mum life actually is has been something I grapple with constantly and at times it gets me, like really gets me down and it was during one of these times that I looked around and noticed that the people I’d usually turn to were no longer responding to my messages, returning my calls or ever really available. I blamed myself. As a friend who was now a solo Mum I felt like I was expecting too much from them. After all people have their own shit going on, their own lives, and their own issues. Was I that person that when they saw my name pop up on the screen they were like oh here we go again, another drama, something else to whine about. But then I caught myself – ‘fucking really Amee? No, you’re not. If you can’t turn to your friends to get you through the hard times when what’s the actual point of having them there?’
It was in that moment that a solid few stepped forward, the friends of friends, family friends, acquaintances and the current friends I already had that became the closest, most special friendships I’ll ever know. Because they are there going through it with me and the friends that step up, well they are the ones who just really genuinely love us, so fucking much. They took my hand, they assured me it was ok, I was ok, no that I was amazing and everything was going to be amazing. Because they got it. They could see I was struggling, they could see it was temporary and they helped me keep my head afloat as I faced each challenge head on.
As I look around at my new tribe, my heart swells. I have found myself surrounded by people that are there, cheering us on, celebrating life by our side. Our joys and triumphs becomes each others joys and triumphs, the long nights and tears become each others long nights and tears, we have this feeling of connection in a way I have never experienced because I’m surrounded by people who give their heart and their trust wholeheartedly. We see a side of each other that not many others will see, we see each others vulnerabilities and find ourselves loving them, these people that were not so long ago strangers but now I just can’t even imagine life without.
The friendships I was so desperate to hold onto didn’t serve me anymore, my heart was broken and I was grieving them but like a desperate school girl trying so hard to hold onto them with everything I had instead of letting them go and being grateful for what was. They’re still there in my life, they just play a very different role now and if I’ve learnt anything during the last couple of years it’s that letting go of how you think things should be is so important, because that shit just bogs you down and blinds you to how truly wonderful your life actually is.