I'm a Londoner born and raised. I'm proud of my city, it has made me tough and resilient, hard working and hard drinking. Respectful of other cultures, and a little bit spoilt.
It has also made me a wee bit unfriendly. Granted, a bit of this is just my personality, but quite a lot comes with the self-preservation of living in a city. The well-honed skill of avoiding eye contact and interaction with strangers serves to protect us from weirdo's or worse still, awkward small talk with strangers.
So having a baby has been a real paradigm shift for me. Suddenly and for the first time in my life, I'm speaking to strangers on a daily basis. Neighbours I never knew, children, the elderly, married men (actually a lot of married men, but they are sweet mostly wanting to help me carry a buggy up stairs because their wives struggled) all stop and chat random baby talk. And you know what, it's actually quite nice and surprisingly welcomed.
But while I may be partial to the odd chit-chat with strangers, it doesn't mean I want a whole new circle of 'Mummy friends'. God no.
Yet there seems to be some odd expectation that just because I'm a new Mum, I surely must want to. People at work ask me how 'making friends' is going, relatives question how many coffee mornings I go to - and each time I tell them - I see my 'real friends' as often as I can. I mean, you wouldn't ask a gay person if they just had gay friends would you!?
I blame my (real) friends for this. I've always been selective about who I spend my precious time with, and while I don't have tens of them, the few I have are amazing individuals. A funny, witty, considerate, honest and genuine bunch of carefully curated mates and people I actually want to spend time with. It's very hard to suddenly start forging friendships with others that don't meet these high standards.
While I whole-heartedly appreciate that for some women the necessity of just getting out of the house and meeting someone is crucial, for me enjoying someone's company is just as important.
Take the NCT crew for instance. I was put with a nice group of inoffensive women, who love nothing better than to meet up every week and clog up the local Starbucks with buggies and baby talk. I gave it a try, but it wasn't for me. There was no natural chemistry between any of us, yet they still meet weekly - in my opinion just to kill time.
In the same way that I used to avoid eye contact on the tube, I now dodge baby clubs, mother's mornings, baby classes and coffee shops, because if a friendship doesn't come naturally to me, then it's not one I can invest in. It has taken me some time to come to terms with this. I thought I should be meeting lots of people and drinking copious amounts of warm liquids whilst chatting about cracked nipples, but turns out, it really was never for me. And you know - that's cool.
Friendship is a gift, it's not something you can have with just anyone. I'm basically operating a 'one in one out' policy these days!
Yet, I still can't avoid them. Only earlier this week Judy at no 42 came knocking on the door for some post I had collected for her. No sooner had Boo cried than she barged her way in, realising I had a baby, and insisted that I would come to her weekly Mother's coffee mornings that she hosts with other breeding neighbours. I smiled and said definitely, knowing that I'd be installing some heavy-duty curtains the next day.
Then just the other day I was in Toys R Us making perfectly excellent use of my free time, when I bumped in to a girl I used to go to school with. Although we hadn't talked in a million years, now I'm with child she thought we should meet up. So I gave her a wrong number and said I couldn't wait!
Look, here's the thing. I'm not the meanie I may sound, and I'm not dismissive of anyone that benefits from others company in any way. I've just been privileged to have the world's most amazing friends and very uncompromising in who I now spend my time with.
There's a strange pressure that you should always be 'doing something', going somewhere, meeting someone, filling your time when you have a baby. Well, I'm doing just that. I'm writing this post and planning my next night out with my friends. My real friends that is!
Am I alone in thinking this? Please share your stories with me, I promise I won't ask to be your friend, although you can always be mine at: @milkdrunkdiary and facebook.com/milkdrunkdiary and instagram.com/milkdrunkdiary
Sophia is the Editor of the Milk Drunk Diary - a blogzine for new parents.Suggest a correction