The Luxury of a Village and The Friendless Mother
Bio: Jemima Keys is a first time mother, raising toddler twins and cleaning up all the messes along the way. She lives in beautiful East Sussex, England
Public Service Announcement
If you are at a playgroup/baby group/class or at the park, or wherever you may be and another mum strikes up conversation with you, don’t be a total cow about it!
Especially if you are with your mates, and she’s sat on her own. Especially if you know everyone in the room, but she’s clearly new and nervous.
If she asks about your child, ask her something about hers. Talk about the weather. It doesn’t matter what you say just say something. Be NICE.
I don’t care if you don’t like the look of her or she doesn’t look like your kind of person. Don’t be rude. Make an effort.
Because for all you know that mum has been in tears all morning trying to get her and her kids to that baby group just so she can feel like she’s achieved something today. For all you know, getting to the park today was the first time she’s left the house in 48 hours and she’s desperate to talk to anyone. For all you know, that mum doesn’t have a single friend in the area, no family to call on, and her husband works long hours…and she’s just trying to make a bloody friend. For all you know, she’s been trying for 18 months to make friends with other mums only to find everyone already has a “tribe” and they don’t need new members. So it took a lot of balls to say hello to you.
And yes, I know it’s awkward. I know you don’t need any more friends. I know it’s a bit like dating and she doesn’t look like she showered today (or yesterday) and…wtf is that on her leggings??
I am not asking you to be her best friend.
But can you just make a teeny, tiny bit of effort? Include that woman in your conversation, ask her name, and say hi next time you see her. It might actually make a huge, HUGE difference to someone’s life. It literally could pull that mum out of her depression, make her feel seen. Like she’s not a total loser, and maybe she’s worth talking to, worth being friends with, has value as an adult and not just an invisible appendage to her child. And maybe next week she’ll come back to that playgroup, feeling a bit more confident and not worrying that she’s going to be sat by herself again.
Not everyone has the luxury of a village.
I know we are all exhausted, and busy, and just terribly, awfully British but there are so many women out there, like me, who have found themselves completely alone in motherhood, wondering where those amazing mummy friends are that we were promised.
At the end of the day if we can’t extend a hand of friendship to our fellow mums, what are we teaching our children about kindness, community and sisterhood?
Author: Jemima Keys