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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Mum friends

Being the first of my friends to have babies and moving back to SW London I needed to find other mummies in my hood to hang out with. I thought that this would be easy living in a London borough that is a huge magnet to young families. Though when only a few mothers were smiling back in the streets and I failed at conversing in the weigh-in clinic I felt a bit disgruntled and stuck to my child-less mates enjoying the attention and cups of tea. I suppose I never really thought about how to meet other mums in the beginning - I just got on with the job in hand and enjoyed seeing people I already knew.
When I realised I wanted to meet others in the same boat - and to while away the week instead of eating my parents' food and shopping, I tried the local Netmums meet a mum board and went on a few mum 'dates'. This was brilliant and I met so many different people - my fears of socialising solely with old mumsy types was diminished. (My health visitor told me that the average age of first-time mums in my area was 42 and I must admit I was worried)

[For those thinking why I didn't meet others whilst preggers : I hadn't signed up to NCT as it seemed expensive and I dreaded the thought of hanging out with the stereotypical local mumsy thirty-something banker wives. The local ante-natal classes were cancelled in my area (thanks NHS) and I had to go to the hospital's very basic sessions. There were only two and although lovely - I didn't keep in touch with the 2 couples I met there)

A few months on, and I'm happy to have found a cool group of mums, all different in ages and personality, but with babes in 0-2yr range. Not a real clique, but a regular set who I've met a few times and have now become my friends :)

I'd like to try and help others do the same to avoid missing out on some mummy action. Living in a parent-zone I though there would be some mother camadarie but was disappointed at the lack of community. I'm no social recluse, and can talk to people on the bus, weigh-in clinic, exercise class - but sometimes organised meetups are the way to go. Check out these links if you're in the need to meet some others in the same baby-boat. You need to register for most of them.

Netmums has been a god-send- for one-on-one and group meet-ups
For Sanity's Sake is an excellent new initiative already serving more than 300 members in the local borough of Richmond Upon Thames. Think Netmums, Mumsnet, Babycentre etc without the forum discussions, and with detailed local calendar listings and meetups.

Some people have found NCT really useful so find out where your local group is when pregnant just in case. The formal ante-natal are fee-paying, but most bumps and babies meetups are open to all. I enjoy going to a nearby weekly NCT meetup at a nearby pub for a Friday afternoon drink ;)

In Twickenham in particular there is so much potential for locally-led community initiatives. Everyone's concerned about physical changes to the town, but I'm hoping to see all the services and local businesses work together to support each other and the local people to behave like a community. E.g. Councils putting pressure on local landlords to allow the use of empty-shops to be run as short-term hubs for people to come together to work, play, chill. Or more permanently like Grassroots in West Ham or The Hub community centre in Hounslow. But that's another blog post altogether.

Until then, happy mum-meeting!


  1. I have taken part in Netmums meetups too, they're fab arent they. I did find the group meetups more relaxing. I think I got into it too late though, when my son was nearly two, and most other mums had babies. Now he is at preschool, I dont really bother, but I have joined a netball team set up using netmums which is great. Good to see you have found mummy friends! Sometimes it is difficult making friends as a mum, especially as you say, if most mums are older in the area. Love the blog by the way :)

  2. Yes Netmums has been brill - so much so I've started organising the meetups ;) but it does take a big wedge of time... You're right in that it usually is mums with babies or up to 2/3yrs old. Perhaps those with older children find friends through the nurseries/schools etc? The netball team is brilliant! Would love to do that here. Thanks x

  3. Hi Mixed-up Mum, I like your story of being proactive in finding people in the same boat. Proactivity is my coaching theme and subject of my November 'flourishing female' column. You took action to shape your world and meet people when others might simply have stayed in the company of their 'original' friends and perhaps missed out. I hope you've inspired other mums who are feeling isolated.


  4. You know I had the same issue too. All my friends have no children so its hard to keep connections. I don't have many friends with children the same age as Ixchel thought!

  5. hello, thanks for your lovely comments on my blog! i love discovering new blogs, and i'm excited to get a full read of yours when i have more time this evening!

    i have found things to be similar to you re meeting people in my same position. I'm the first to have a baby out of all my friends/family and moved to a new area too. For the first few weeks (month or more) i was pretty down about it...but then I took the plunge and posted some sort of lonely heart type ad on mums net for bristol. a really nice women around the same age as me offered to meet up for a cup of tea, and we did and this did boost my confidence a bit! i've also started to chat to people at my antenatal swimming class and yoga, and seem to be making friends!

    our antenatal classes are full of the same mumsy types, all middle-class professional couples in their 30's. but we got chatting to the only couple who seemed vaguely our age, which was really nice!

    i think going to my classes and having my confidence slowly building up has helped me loads, as i feel a bit more independent and social!

    so all is getting better, and i hope after the baby is born i will continue to socailise with other mums! i will take your advise too!