THE BLOG

The Loneliness of the Long-Serving Mother

29/11/2015 19:02 GMT | Updated 29/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Only boring people get bored. Which is true but then you've just had a baby so you are officially a boring person, because becoming a mother is not the time to start being exciting. Peeling down to your sexy underwear on a naughty weekend break before drunkenly deciding 'Let's make a baby!' is exciting. It was being exciting that got you into this mess. Being boring might be tedious but it rarely ends in childbirth.

The biggest irony of parenting is that, at a time when you are never alone, you can often feel quite lonely. Being lonely is a big part of being a mum. If you add the worry that everyone else is doing a better job than you - that's pretty much the whole first three years of parenting. There are things you can do to counteract the loneliness of motherhood, basically they all involve finding other people to talk to. Making friends is the key to survival, having someone to hang out with can make the day fly by instead of dragging on. And if you actually like that person that's even better! Here are a few ideas.

1. Make friends whenever you have the chance. Lots of friends, too many friends, make friends with people you have lots in common with, make friends with people you have nothing in common with, make friends who annoy you a little bit, make friends with people you don't really like at all. Swipe right, swipe right, swipe right again.

It all boils down to this: on a rainy November afternoon do you want to sit in and listen to your baby crying or would you rather be in someone else's front room drinking coffee and being annoyed by every single thing they say? Maybe you'll pick the staying at home alone option... but at least you'll have that choice.

2. Do things you wouldn't normally do. I'm not thinking hula-hooping through town naked although that definitely falls into the not boring category. I'm talking about more mundane stuff, the stuff you would never have dreamed of doing before you had a baby. Where once my evenings were filled with nights out, post-baby my social life became: The Great British Bake Off. And I don't even like baking.

So I did some things I wouldn't have dreamed of doing before I had kids: I joined the Pre School Committee, an all-girls MMA/ Kickboxing class, The W.I. (no laughing at the back) and I Morris danced seven miles over a bloody great hill for charity.

Hear me out on the committee: I know it's all a bit Charlotte from Sex And The City and you're more of a Carrie/ Miranda hybrid with the occasional dash of Samantha but committees are great fun! Honestly, stick with me. They involve meetings where you talk about stuff that has nothing to do with sleep routines, teething or cracked nipples, sometimes there is wine (who am I kidding - there's always wine at ours) plus it means getting out of bedtime at home.

See, told you! Never has contributing to society looked so appealing!

The kickboxing I mistakenly signed up for whilst drunk at a New Year's Eve party, but three years on and I LOVE it. Kicking and punching is the best way to end or start a day with small children, it's got everything - exercise, stress relief, and other people to talk to. We even have a Christmas party which is fabulous because when you're at home with a baby the Christmas party invites are thin on the ground.

As for the other two things, my partner is still convinced I'm joking every time I go to the W.I. and even bringing home a handmade decoupage Christmas bauble didn't persuade him I'm not actually having an affair. Let's just gloss over the whole Morris dancing episode, probably best forgotten.

3. Get Online. Social media is a double-edged sword; it can make you feel like crap but if you use it correctly it might just cheer you up. Facebook chat groups or texting sessions with friends are a great way to feel like you're still in contact with the real world, as long as it's not the only contact you have. I have a group of mum friends on Facebook who all live in different parts of the country that I can chat with honestly about how I'm feeling, whether I'm angry, exhausted or depressed (I know, sounds like a right laugh!). It works brilliantly as a support network, and there is something empowering in knowing that while I'm sat in the loo hiding from another stressful teatime there's another mum doing exactly the same in Birmingham. Both of us can exchange sympathy wine emojis before tackling the spaghetti sauce on the ceiling together.

4. Meet ups. It's become more acceptable to admit that having a baby can be boring and, with that in mind, some rather fantastic ladies have organised meet ups, where mums with babies congregate in the local park and just hang out. If there is one near you, they are worth checking out. Maybe everyone there will be a massive twat and you'll hate it, but it's more likely that there'll be at least one mum who has the potential to be a lifelong friend.

If there isn't a meet up near you then take a deep breath and consider setting one up yourself. Let's face it, meeting a group of random strangers under a tree in the park will not be the most bonkers thing you ever do. Yesterday I left the house dressed as a 'space pirate' (my son's choice of outfit not mine).

5. The Mum Code: Pass It On. The stars of reality shows like The Only Way Is Essex and Made in Chelsea always witter on about guy code and girl code and how you shouldn't drunkenly snog your best mate's ex but if you see your best friend snogging another best friend's ex you MUST tell them. Jesus, it's all so complicated. Why don't they just write the rules down and then people wouldn't keep making mistakes?

If you thought all that shit was behind you I've got some bad news. I'm setting up the mum code and I'm writing it down. Once you've built up your network of friends, and have people to hang out with, it's your duty to keep an eye out for other mums. I don't expect you to flag down everybody with a pram and start chatting with them but just to remember how lonely motherhood can be and when that nervous-looking mum walks into playgroup or the park for the first time try to make her welcome. Say hello. It's always easier to start up a conversation when you're in a group and the good news is every time you do this the Gods of good fortune will smile down upon you and the next time your baby has a terrible bottom explosion it'll be on Daddy's watch not yours.

This is an extract from Kirsty's first book How to Have a Baby and Not Lose Your Shit which is published on 30 November, 2015. Details can be found here