Being a new mum is an exciting but scary thing. Being an expatriate new mum brings a whole heap of additional challenges. Imagine being in a place where you don’t know many people, don’t have close family and friends nearby and the healthcare system is very different to home. This is where the Mum-Friends come in.
Athough a natural introvert, I’ve forced myself to get out and join a multitude of mum and baby groups. Heck, I even started one of my own. The friendships I’ve formed, some shallow and fleeting, some deep and long-lasting, have so far been a safety net through the trials and tribulations of motherhood.
When thrown together, clueless about our new roles as mothers, there’s always enough common ground to share tea and cake and have a good chit-chat. The beauty of parenthood is there’s always something to talk about.
I’ve been on the Abu Dhabi Mum-Friend ‘circuit’ for a while now. I estimate I’ve met a couple of hundred new mums over the last year or so. I’ve observed certain repeated characteristics. Here’s my run down of the top ten types of Mum-Friend I’ve encountered:
1. The Knowledgeable One
Who needs Dr. Google when this friend is around? Whether its feeding, weaning or sleeping, this friend has pearls of wisdom to share far and wide. This friend has their finger on the pulse of the Next Big Thing and is happy to share the intel. When it comes to your latest baby equipment purchase, one can bypass searching around review sites; this friend has already been there, done that and even has a plethora of discount codes to share.
2. The Flake
Agrees to every mummy meet-up invite only to cancel last-minute on the strength of a creative story involving keys, animals or household maintenance issues. A sick baby would be much too predictable. Thoroughly lovely but your chances of actually getting to spend time with this friend are sporadic and require persistence.
3. The Laid-Back One
When your shoulders are hunched up by your ears after the latest hellish night of teething horrors, go spend some time with the laid-back friend. This is the friend who actually oozes sunshine. To this friend, the world is a beautiful place and babies are to be taken in their stride. Their baby obviously smiles, coos and stays in one place. They stroll through life in an instagram-haze. The relaxing ambience and Jo-Malone scented bliss will rub off onto you and your little one. When visiting this friend, you may outstay your welcome as you don’t want to leave their blissful, Cath-Kidston decorated bubble.
4. The High-Achieving One
This friend manages to go to work, spend time with their baby, cook, do crafts, exercise, plan holidays, attend educational baby-classes, do charity work, read for pleasure, and renovate their home. Just thinking about what they cram into 24 hours is exhausting. Quite frankly, this friend is Wonder Woman. If we could all be half as organised as this friend we’d be grateful.
5. The Butterfly
A member of 7000 different baby groups and social networks, this friend knows everyone and is actually off to meet more people this afternoon. Unable to stay in one place for longer than approximately 15 minutes, the elusive butterfly straps their baby into a carrier and flutters off to the next gathering pretty sharpish, phone in hand.
6. The Cool One
No scraped back greasy hair, straight-legged pale mum-jeans or baby sick-patches here. This fashionista exudes confidence and has refused to leave behind the days of making an effort. You have no idea how this friend manages to perpetually look like they’ve just left a very cool magazine photo shoot and you are too in awe to ask. This friend is the friend you are aspiring to be when you’ve lost that final 10 pounds of mum-tum and have time to buy clothing that actually fits. No dieting pitfalls here. This friend is your hope at the end of the tunnel.
7. The Boaster
Your baby slept through the night? Mine has been doing that since they were 1 day old.
You struggled with breastfeeding? I didn’t even have to think about it.
Your baby has just learned to crawl? My baby has already been signed up for the Olympic figure-skating team.
Yes, we all know one of these. This friend is actually in the ‘departure lounge’ area of your friends list.
8. The Matronly One
A throwback to the days of a stiff upper lip, nerves of steel and firm parenting principles, the Matronly friend is a reassuring presence in times of uncertainty. Don’t expect tea and sympathy or a warm hug. The name of the game here is straight-talking, wise advice and a bit of a kick in the right direction. The Matronly friend is reliable, steady and likely to double up as the Knowledgeable One.
9. The Sorry One
This friend has the sorriest of sorry tales at all times. Makes your life seem like a walk in the park. Their baby is cute but ever so troublesome. This is the friend who needs to spend a lot of time in the company of The Laid-Back One. Join them and take plenty of cake. You’ll all leave this gathering feeling much better.
10. The Best One
The one you feel like you’ve known forever. A kindred spirit with whom you can totally be yourself, feel comfortable to discuss the good times and the worst times and not be embarrassed to turn up with dry-shampooed hair and patches of concrete Weetabix on your shoulder. They are likely to have Weetabix patches too. No front, no pretence, no need to be something you are not. This friend knows instinctively when to send a message telling you it will get better. This friend brings along the bubbly and cheers you on when you’ve survived the latest challenge. We all need at least one of these in our lives.
Which one is you?
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