17 October 2012

Friends.






Most mornings, even when my little one is at Nursery school, when I could be getting on with my writing work, or enjoying time without any children for the first time in years, I meet a mate for a cuppa.

It could be construed as a complete waste of time and I'm forever moaning about how little gets done at home, but, honestly, is it?  We chat about every day things, everything and nothing, just for an hour or so and then we get on with our day.

It can be very frustrating with two little ones - she has two girls amost the same age as my two boys - they are all firm friends - and we are able to air tantrums - hers / mine/ theirs - and turn it all into a laugh.  Such things can be otherwise traumatising, take their toll and affect us for quite a while after they've passed.

It is very healing, is what I'm saying. 

Lately, my ex-husband has been one of the subjects and it has been an enormous help to complain about discuss his failings as a father outside of my present relationship, although that can't be escaped entirely.  Yet we all have issues from time to time, so this is definitely a two way street. .

My friend and our ritual came about by accident.  We knew each other through Sarah, someone we're both still close to and, when after dropping our eldest kids off at school, would both wander off in the direction of the shops and get chatting, as you do.

They say the more you talk, the more you have to say, so our chats ended up over sit-downs and enjoyable cuppas in the Co-op cafe, rather than standing around outside it for 45 minutes!

There's no end of a subject that's not fodder and other mums we know come and go, but we are steadfast in our avoidance of housework for just that little bit longer.

Girlfriends have held me together over the years, particularly since my marriage breakdown, but before that, they have always been my life blood.  Living away from family has created a need for like minded company through the good times too and as I get older, so my friendships age as well.

Debbie and I were neighbours growing up - that's nigh on 40 years we've been friends.  She married young and while I was working in London or travelling the world, she was stuck at home with a (now Ex) husband away in the Royal Navy and two young children.  The tables have now truly turned and it's me on the other end of those postcards.  [Grrr!].

Others are in Jersey and New Zealand (roughly 30 years standing), Australia, Essex and Hampshire (25 years), plus those who've read her dating exploits will already have heard of my friend Sheila, who has been around seemingly forever, but during these last few years has really come into her own, guiding me back towards my old self and helping out in every conceivable way, with me rarely having to ask.

Considering her journey to us takes a good two hours, this is no mean feat and I worry that I won't ever be able to repay her.  But she reminds me of the times when I have helped her, travelled to her and supported her and it's taken as a matter of course that this is what women do.  And, naturally, we do.

My other friends say the same and I am honoured to be blessed with mutually respectful relationships that have seen our fair share of ups and downs all round.

Considering the intimacies shared between us all, a split can yield an enormously painful and devastating impact, something those of us who have regrettably experienced it can testify to.  And yet this is something we could share and try to get over with our other girlfriends.  (My heart still occasionally aches for two women I used to know, more so than for any man).

It's important to have people around you who know who you really are - before you became a wife / mum and might have lost yourself for a while.  Indeed, it is they who will help renew you.

So even though my friend locally and I didn't know each other pre-kids, nor the other mums we mix with, as all our children get a little more hands-off and we spend that bit more time over a relaxing coffee, the women behind the motherhood are quietly emerging and this is pure joy.

Surely, there is nothing wrong with that?  Sooner or later, we'll all be heading back to the workplace and this precious time will be lost.  I, for one, will be too.

Happy Birthday Claire!

Who are your girlfriends?

34 comments:

  1. I have a couple of friends from school, but most are current friends where I live or nearby. I couldn't do without them even if we don't see each other that often although I now see one twice a week as we do zumba together. :)

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  2. I know what you mean and Zumba sounds like a perfect combination!

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  3. Great post. I know exactly what you mean. I met a wonderful new friend through the hospital ante-natal classes when I had my first son. She's so bright and bubbly, always good fun, and we've laughed our way through many a parenting crisis, over many cups of tea, and the odd glass of wine..or two!

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  4. Thank you - It makes such a difference to share that every day stuff, no matter the method!

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  5. That was such a lovely post - I only have one or two friends from years, and years ago - H being my best friend. Most of my current friends, I've made over the last decade, and now my new on-line friends! And you are so right, falling out with a close female friend, can feel a lot worse, far, far more painful than falling out with a partner.

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    1. Thank you. I've always loved it when you;ve written about H. And yes, it's utterly heartbreaking, but Hey Ho! We make new ones, don't we? ;)

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  6. So great to read this post.

    Aside from the female friendship side... I have been out of work (redundant) since 5th July and I kept Aaron in nursery 3 days a week as I cannot lose it in case I get a job (as back in 2011 I waited 9 months for that place).

    Anyway my ritual is to get a coffee and chat to the owner of said coffee making facilities for anything from 10 mins to an hour on the way back from dropping Aaron. I ALWAYS chastise myself that it is a "waste" of time, but on some level I need that chat, and adult talk...

    For that reason I could really relate to this post.

    But on the other element of the post, I really now want to get back in touch with some of my friends that I lost touch with as a result of having a baby...

    Liska xxx

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    1. I completely understand. It doesn't really hurt - and it will change. Glad to hear you'll get hold of some old mates. They'll appreciate it too XX

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  7. I've known my best friend for over 30 years - our mums were best friends since the age of 15. We've got closer and closer the older we've got, and she's the only one that really knows the crap that goes on in my head. Wouldn't be without her x

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    1. That's like my friend Debbie I grew up with - our mums were mates and then so we became friends too. Sometimes they know you better than you know yourself!

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  8. I must say that post really warms my cockles. Having good girlfriends is a must for me too. I must say I've had some bad times with one very good friend of mine and I find it really difficult to deal with. However, apart from her I have a lovely group of friends but I don't get to see them as much as I would like. I have a coffee with a fellow 'mum' once a week and go out as much as I can. I miss having someone next door that I could nip round and see everyday. I tend to rely on communicating with them via email and facebook as I hate phone conversations. I have a few friends who I go away with for a weekend once a year and we pick off immediately from where we left off. Sounds like you have some very lovely friends but that you've (subconsciously or not) reciprocated friendship to them in some very generous ways, which knowing you, does not surprise me. Lovely post Anya. xx

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  9. Thank you Michelle. I know what you mean about picking up where you left off. That annual thing sounds a blast. Good idea X

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  10. Mine are all over the place - Australia, L.A., NYC, Dublin, Bucks, Surrey and newer friends just down the bottom of my road.
    Distance may keep me from seeing my oldest friends every day of the week but they are always in my heart and nothing ever changes when I see them again.
    x

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  11. I'd have no doubt you've friends everywhere, you're lovely! And it's great to just carry on like you saw them yesteday - a true sign, I believe XXX

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  12. You describe something I would so like to have. I find myself isolated in a new town tryng to work out ways to meet people and make friends without looking too desperate.
    I look forward to the day I can write a post like yours.

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  13. But you're lovely - down to earth, friendly and compassionate - stuff I've learned from a distance and listening to you speak at the Britmums conf, so I'm sure it won't be too long and I'll look fwd to that post X

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  14. Like you I couldn't be without my close girl friends. I have a stack of work but I have just done the school run and been out for a run and a coffee with one of my close firends before now heading back to "knuckle down" for a few hours. Me time, friendship time, call it what you will, it is important.

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    1. Yes it gets you through the day! I miss running - that's also v healing. No wonder you're in such great shape Fiona! X

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  15. I completely agree, time to chat and share and just have a giggle with a friend is priceless. Even calling and speaking to a friend on the phone, I think, can really lift your mood. They are an essential ingredient to life, especially when children are in the mix! Only another Mother can understand how important your child pooing regularly and eating well can be! :-) xxx

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    1. yes!. Well put. The sharing changes everything. X

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  16. I don't have a big circle of girl friends but the ones I do have are true friends. They are always there for me and I for them (I hope) even if we don't see each other for months. It's important to have someone to talk to occasionally. Especially about exes!!

    CJ x

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    1. That made me laugh. Too true, all of it. X

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  17. wonderful post that celebrates great women. Isn't it wonderful when you find people you click with?
    I don't mention friends on my blog but possibly you have inspired me.

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    1. Thank you Gemma. I can tell you're a proper girlfriend. I'll look forward to possibly reading about them then!

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  18. I totally agree with you, my girlfriends are most definitely my lifeline and if I don't have at least 1 coffee + a natter booked in my diary of a week, I feel out of sorts - do you know what I mean? Husbands don't understand and probably never will. I have learnt to accept that but do it anyway! I feel very blessed and you obviously are too :)

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  19. Ooh they are a blessing, our girlfriends. Men just don't have the stamina! ;)

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  20. The friends you make while you're going through intense periods of your life are the closest, best and longest-lasting, in my experience. That's why my best friends are mums with kids the same age as mine, and university friends.

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    1. And you never forget who supported you at those times - ever. The closeness never goes away even after months / years of not speaking. It's there at the drop of a hat! Am so glad I wrote this post!

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  21. Making time for friends is one of the most important things you can do -and something most of us, in this age of technology, neglect rather too much. You and your friend are to be congratulated.

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  22. thank you. I do wrestle with my conscience, but that's what I tell myself (without the congratulations bit!) because it's all too easy to lose sight of in the power of social media.

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  23. Brilliant post, so well said. Spending time with friends is never a waste of time. I thought I didn't need any new friends when I got pregnant, but I've been amazed by the wonderful, strong and supportive friendships I've made as a result of starting a family - and that includes some brilliant friendships forged through the wonderful world of blogging - and I've learnt a lesson as a result - you can never have too many friends xx

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    1. Thank you Luci. I'm glad you agree and different friends seem to fit different parts of ourselves, you're right.

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  24. A lovely ode to your friends, girlfriends are so important and I need to make more time for mine to be honest. It is so hard to fit everything in working 4 days and having 3 kids!

    Mich x

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  25. I can believe that! I just drag the kids with me now or try to catch up on the 'phone when they're in front of a film / in bed.

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