Become a mum.
There is a cartoon doing its rounds on Facebook this week that made me chuckle showing a harassed mum answering a phone and asking a friend to call them back in five years.
That mum is certainly me. The only difference is that I'm into my seventh year of motherhood and there are some friends that I still haven't called back.
It also made me think of another incident that happened this week. One old mucker defriended me on Facebook. Boo hoo me, right! I know. In the grand scheme of things this is not the end of the world. But I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel a little stung (even if it's guilt). I had to then eat Galaxy Counters and everything to feel better. Poor little old me.
Alright, so I hadn't even spoken to them for four years – not even a "like" of any of their poxy photos (I am not bitter). Nor had I even noticed I'd been ditched, to tell you the truth, but I was nosing at someone else's friends list the other day and Facebook invited me to become friends (re-friends) with them. How very dare them!
It occurred to me that my friendship groups have definitely diminished since my single days. Surely, it's more about the quality not the quantity. There used to be a lot more fringey friends floating around. Gals that I giggled with in bars on a regular basis. Wonderful ex-flatmates that I shared many a bottle of wine with after long days at work. But that's okay. I know with a lot of them, I can just pick up the pieces where we left off (even if it has been six years). Others though have disappeared into the ether. They won't be coming back....
You see another phenomenon happens when you become a mum. You can become a bit of a dick. And some people don't (won't) tolerate dicks (no matter how fabulous you used be).
And here is why:
1. You don't go out anymore.
Seven years ago I used to go out with a big band of girls. We were awesome in our awesomeness. Dressed up to the nines, tanked up to the tens, we would hit the clubs and bars en masse and probably terrify the crap out of any men in the nearest vicinity (no wonder no one pulled). We had a laugh. They were my disco buddies.
But, if the truth be told there was probably only five that I actually spoke to outside of a dance floor – the rest I kind of just shouted bar orders at and clinked drinks with. These girls were the first casualties of the mummy- afflicted cull.
As my nights out grew less with the arrival of my first baby (not aided by the fact that I lived far away), so did my points of reference with this crowd. I would be out the loop and struggle to make conversation. I'd latch on to huge events that I'd heard through the grapevine instead of just chewing the fat. I'd blurt out stuff like: "Hey I hear you were mugged, your Nan died and your man ran away with your hairdresser. Happy days. Shall we dance?"
*they run off sobbing*
2. You will lose all your social filters
See above as well. You forget all the rules. Like never ever mention to Tamsin that you saw Phil with his new girlfriend yesterday. Don't bring up to Melanie (on the pain of death) that Susie Doyle has the same dress on and is on the other side of the bar. And certainly don't say to two friends who spent hours getting a curly blow dry that day and burst into the bar looking for compliments: "Is it raining outside?"
Your time with adults drops to dangerous levels when you have a baby. You forget how to converse appropriately. Unless you count shouting at Mr Tumble. People don't want to hear: "I love your top. I have one similar but the baby shat all over it. It seeped like sludge out of her nappy down my arms. Poo-ageddon. So smelly. Can't get the stain out. Another drink?"
*friend gags and excuses herself*
3. You will be boring
Oh man alive. Yes you will. I will probably find you fascinating and pull up a chair (clicking fingers to order another round of cocktails), but your friends with no children DON'T want the birth story or the minutiae of your day wiping bums, watching the Zingzillas and how the baby (it was so funny) stuck out his tongue and licked his lip. Listen, you will say, I found a freckle on the baby's knee. And there is one behind her ear.
Believe me you are even more boring when you have a child with a development delay.
"Is he walking yet?"
"Not yet, but guess what he did. He put my cardigan in his mouth and he held a piece of paper. Plus he touched my finger nail – twice."
"Wow, that's erm..... super."
**friend downs drink in painful despair and looks for an escape route*
4. You will suffer fools badly
I remember going on a hen do when my eldest boy was two and my daughter was just five months old and I witnessed some friends being mean about another girl on the trip and being horrified. They probably used to do this lots and I probably giggled along nonchalantly. Hell – I am no angel – I probably instigated a few piss takes.
But as a mum you don't like mean people because you don't want the world to be mean. That might mean that some day someone might be mean to your babies (do you know what I mean?). I was slightly wary of these girls after that. Not because I thought that they might gossip about me behind my back (I went to an all-girls convent school and if I cared about that crap I'd be a blubbering wreck), but because I realised that I didn't really know them.
Mean girl: "Did you catch the kip of her? Did you see her shoes? Hooker heels are beyond last year."
Me: "I know what you mean."
*nodding meekly while hiding same hooker heels under the table*
5. You will never call/text people back
My friends have a running joke (and they have even roped in my sisters on it now) that I have a one text a month contract on my phone. I'll reply to one text but then you won't hear back from me for a month. Ha, bloody ha. I am not that bad. But close.
I do get the texts and enjoy them, am delighted when I see the missed calls, but usually the reason I missed them is because I am knee deep in poo or carrying a floppy boy down the stairs and can't get there in time. Or worse, your call has awakened the beast and I'm doing my best to stop a wailing, flailing boy from waking the whole road while shooting death glares at the phone.
I do intend to call/text back but then another poo will occur or children will cat fight over a remaining Haribo and I'll forget. Until I get another text. And repeat ad infinitum.
*friend hangs up in a huff and flicks two fingers at phone*
6. You will become loyal
You don't want to sit on the fence any more. The fence is for losers. You are not a loser. You are a mum. If you can't make a stand and be a warrior, who can? With amazing clarity you can see who is worth it and who isn't.
When my disco buddies had a gargantuan fall out over boys (there's a surprise) I could have opted out. There had been lots of spats in the past that I just didn't get involved in (when maybe I should have stood up for certain people more – sorry!) Sometimes in life you have to say "hang on; you are being out of order." And stand firm next to someone. Even when it is not the popular vote. Stuff it.
I did try and stay out of the disco diva drama and say plenty of nothing but ahem... (see point 1 and 2), I couldn't help myself. A combination of too much drink and people being way too mean, made me get involved. A few people turned me into a pantomime baddie as a result (just who does she think she is!? In her hooker heels!) A role you can't shake off when you don't see some people anymore (well that and the boring talk of freckles, poo and asking people about their malignant wart as they waltz to Beyoncé). If people don't see you on a regular basis then they forget just how stupendous you really are.
*ex-friends snigger and guffaw from the disco dance floor*
I have to add that for the fair-weathered few that I have lost along the way, I have retained and gained friends worth a billion times more. I am finally part of the cool gang at school (who cares that it is not my school) and Gabe has led me into a whole new world where I have met the most empathic, generous people on the planet (SWAN UK let's have a Mexican wave). I care not a jot that some of my new buddies are all stuck in my computer and Lesley from Lincoln might actually be 58 old Trevor from Plymouth who has a thing for mums of kids with floppy muscles. It is a strange old world after all.
There you go. My guide to losing friends and alienating people. So, who wants to go out drinking and dancing with me on Saturday?
Hello, hello.... Where have you gone... come baccccck? I've got a funny story about Gabe throwing a pen lid........
Bugger.......Ya know you can run but you can't hide forever. And I'm not that fast in these hooker heels.
I am lucky enough to have the most gorgeous little boy who has global development delay caused by hypotonia (floppy muscles) and food intolerances.
Blogs at: Complicated Gorgeousness