The friends yet to come
I've grumbled about stupid advice before now.
Sam actually got some really great advice a few weeks back. Whilst weighing up all the various pros and cons of differing baby classes in the Surrey area, he told me something one of his really rather well-respected colleagues told him. He said that antenatal baby prep classes weren't the be all and end all of learning everything there is to know about having a kid. He said the thing that he and his wife benefited the most from the two classes they attended was the people they met and the friendships that consequently followed. Which got me thinking. And I can't wait to meet those people. I've joked to our friends that they'll never see me as one of those super organised, militant mummies with a Tupperware full of carrot sticks in her bag ready to be smugly deployed as soon as anyone within a three mile radius opens a tube of Rolos.
The idea of going to mummy and toddler group doesn't fill me with confidence either - the gentle mockery I make of pregnancy and the strange, beautiful but altogether frightening creatures it produces might not necessarily go down too well with the die-hard Supermum brigade. I can openly tell my mother that I prefer puppies to babies. I can joke with Sam that I really REALLY hope we don't have an ugly baby that looks like a melting waxwork of Winston Churchill. I fear these are musings that, if expressed aloud over a plastic cup of orange squash and a curiously soft ginger biscuit, would make me the pariah of baby group. I got the evils from my Girl Guide leader when I was 10 for not being overly comfortable in vowing to 'love my God' and Sherlock got us kicked out of puppy socialisation class early; I'm not fucking this one up and being the one a village hall full of people stare at again.
I'm downright terrified of a lot of mums out there. I'm a young mum with a love of irony and innate tendency to fill every awkward silence with, well, whatever crap springs to mind really. They're going to eat me alive. But what I'm hoping for, desperately hoping for, is one couple who gets us. One couple who's going through the same first-time feelings of exhaustion, delirium and frustration that we are. I don't want any woman who has birthed her third child and claims to be knackered whilst simultaneously breast-feeding her baby, praising her toddler for sharing his toys and teaching her eldest 'Frère Jacques' on the recorder like Mary twatting Poppins in a soft play area. I know bitches like that exist and I don't need that kind of positivity in my life. I want a raw, grey-faced couple, in dire need of sleep and on the brink of committing a mass homicide in the middle of a coffee date in Starbucks if they have to quietly sing 'Twinkle Twinkle' one more time. I'm exaggerating, of course. I'm actually more of a Costa fan. Sam and I have a wide range of friends who we love. But presently, we're the only ones doing this and I have to say, at times it's been pretty lonely for us. Sure, we have friends with children and we have family with young children, but we don't have a single mate who is going through the same experiences we are, and that can be hard. Some of our friends are grateful that they're not the ones having children. Some of our friends have openly said they don't know what they'd do if it were them. Some of our friends may well get pissed off later down the line when we can't do the things we used to because we've got a screaming little alien to contend with on two hours of sleep.
For me, I've felt a real lack of a close friend to talk to about this stuff. I've got wonderful friends who I meet for coffee, friends we have over for dinner and friends we (used to) get gently rat-arsed with, but when I read an article the other day suggesting asking a good friend to be your back up birthing partner in case yours is held up somewhere, family aside, I couldn't think of a single person who I'd ask. And think about it - how many of your friends would you actually want in the room with you when, excuse the pun, push comes to shove? If you have a person in mind, text her (or him) now and share some love because that is a friendship that will stand the test of time.
I'm not getting out my violin, I feel socially fulfilled and everything but pregnancy is a different kettle of fish.
So I'm excited and optimistic that at some stage before the year is out, we're going to meet a couple with whom we'll stay very good friends. Let's get something straight, I'm not walking around singing 'Haven't Met You Yet' by Michael Buble and building a best friend bucket list of all the parent-y things we'll do together, but I really love meeting new people and I'm looking forward to being around people that are in the same boat.
What I'm looking forward to is meeting another exhausted couple, who when our baby starts to scream like the spawn of satan, shoot us a look that says simply 'I know.'.