My name is Alex and in 2013, I became a mother to my very beautiful, and very cheeky daughter Lily. I was 20 years old and if I’m honest, felt a bit out of my depth!
Society portrays this view that your twenties is all about ‘being out there’ and socialising at all hours of the day and night, but when you have a young child to care for, this isn’t exactly top of the priority list. When you’re a young mum, the friendships you had previously can be hard to maintain, especially if your friends don’t have any children. It’s an experience they don’t wholly understand – and one I can’t expect them to.
Most people in their twenties spend their Friday and Saturday nights out in clubs, bars, at parties, just out in town doing something. Although I love being a mum, it’s sometimes hard to sit there at home with my mountain of ironing, looking at my friend’s selfies in a bar, drinking, dancing and so on. I always feel worse when it’s someone’s birthday. There is a huge sense of guilt that you’re not there celebrating with them like a friend ‘should’ be. When all my friends were turning 21 and having parties, I was at home, praying my baby would fall asleep so I could too!
So what can you do to keep those treasured friendships alive?
BE OPEN AND HONEST!
Take this from someone who has made the mistake of saying to my friends that I would try to make it to things, knowing full well that I probably wouldn’t be able to. It gives your friends false hope and leaves you feeling quite low and miserable, which isn’t good for you or your friends… By being open and honest, your friends will understand. I have learnt that those who are true friends will stick around when you can’t attend every night out, and the rest are probably not.
Okay so going out is tough and involves an enormous amount of forward planning and logistical challenges, but every now and then, getting out and letting your hair down is needed! Being a parent is stressful and you can’t just drop your responsibilities and leave, but escaping for an hour or two really helps the mind unwind. I had one experience where I went out for a meal with some friends and found it such a relief to hear music instead of songs from “In The Night Garden” or “Topsy and Tim”! If you can get the childcare go out and enjoy yourself just for one night!
DON’T FEEL SCARED TO CALL!
I drifted apart from a few friends due to one small, but vital point, communication. I used to think that my friends wouldn’t want to be bothered with my news of Lily. I thought in their midst of university, work ventures and nightlife scandals (we all have those!). I was wrong. No other word for it, just wrong. I left it so long that when I did get in touch, we had nothing to really talk about. Don’t forget your friends. Take a couple of minutes out of that nap time and text them, a simple text can mean the world to people.
Last, but probably the most important…
DON’T HIDE AWAY!
Being a young Mum has so many advantages and I am proud to be a great, young mum, but there are still some in society that label us as the ‘Vicky Pollard’ type. I hated being pregnant and hid away from the world. There were no Facebook statuses, bump pictures or anything. I was petrified of someone judging me and thinking I was ‘some tart that slept around’. I was scared to the point where I hid from everyone, even my friends! It’s the only thing I would change. I think to some of my old friends, I was there one day, disappeared for nine months, then suddenly showed up again! If I had stayed with them, maybe the whole process wouldn’t have been as scary..
“Most of all, embrace the role of being a mum, but keep a bit of your old spirit alive. It helps you with gaining energy, enthusiasm and also make sure you keep those close, one-of-a-kind friends you love the most in your life!”
PHOTO: Myself and Lily, 2013 aged 20. Copyright Alexandra Hurton