17 February 2010


This time last year I sent a text message to my friend Sue.

"Hi Sue, haven't heard from you for a while. I hope everything is okay. Take care, love Sx".

This was the third message I had sent Sue and it turned out to be the last. I never heard from her again.

I was disappointed, but not surprised. We had become friends at the Baby Signing class I took Presley to. I was heavily pregnant with Cash and Sue texted me regularly asking how I'd got on at the antenatal clinic. We started to meet at each other's houses for coffee. We went to her son's first birthday party in the November, with baby Cash. Then I didn't hear from her. 

I sent a few texts and a Christmas card and had nothing back. She finally sent me a Happy New Year text as if nothing had happened and we picked up where we left off. We met weekly, taking our boys for walks in an attempt to get fit. We got on well. One day I even stayed in her house to feed Cash when she went out. I posted the keys through the front door when I left. She texted me when she got home to thank me for locking up.

I never heard from her again.

The significance of this story is that Sue is the only mummy friend I have made in two years living in Lancashire.

We moved here when Presley was three months old to be near Andy's family. We left behind, down South, our old friends and our new NCT friends. I met a few mums at our local Children's Centre, but stopped going when Presley started weaning. This was a bit silly, but at the time I felt I couldn't do both!

Baby Signing was the only other group I took Presley to. I wanted to make friends. I suppose when I became friendly with Sue I stopped trying to make other friends. I've never been comfortable with large groups of friends, preferring the company of one person at a time.

Mrs Scruff at She was not at all Domestic wrote a poignant post this week It's lonely being a mum. She describes so well how isolating motherhood can be.

As I had both babies within a year of each other I found it difficult to go out with both of them, but I knew I needed to bite the bullet. Once Cash could sit up and Presley could walk confidently and follow instructions, this was last Summer, we started going to our local playgroup and Bounce and Rhyme at the library. I now know a lot of mums. I know them to say hello to and to chat to, but I don't feel I've made friends with any of them. I haven't been invited round for coffee. 

Perhaps this is my fault. Perhaps there are others who feel like me. Perhaps I should invite someone round for a coffee. What if they say no? We're planning to move back down South this year, so there's probably not much point making friends now. Deary me, I'm making myself depressed just typing this! Snap out of it woman!

Another thing happened this time last year though. A Good Thing. I joined Twitter and three months later I started blogging. All of a sudden I had adult company during the day. I could chat to other mothers. I could ask for advice and offer it too.

In the last year I have made more virtual friends than I have ever made in real life. I love reading about people's lives. I love the connection. It's so easy.

Yes, there are occasionally arguments, there's bitching and upset, but that's life.

I love my virtual friends and I think that some of them are becoming real life friends too. We're like minded. We're open. We support each other.

Some people don't understand this virtual world. They think we're mad or sad. Crystal Jigsaw wrote a brilliant post this week we are what we are on this subject. Now I'm online I can't understand what anyone gets out of watching television all night every night, but I wouldn't make the judgement that they are mad or sad.

I have made real life friends through my creative writing group, courses and workshops. Some of these people are parents, but that is incidental. I found these friends because of the internet. I will miss them when we move.

Am I lonely? I suppose the answer is yes and no.

This post was written for the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop. This week I chose prompt no.4 - What were you doing this time last year?



  1. Your post resonated. Before I got into blogging, I was very lonely without my own kind to mix with. I have a great bunch of pals on the blogs now, people I've met, and I'm even part of a group of bloggers who post weekly together and we've bonded, family style. Who would have thought it?

  2. what a heartfelt post. Life is what you make of it and you are not alone, a lot of people find it hard to make the first move, me included and like you have tended to go with online buddies rather than make offline ones recently. Be happy and do what makes you happy not what you think you should be doing x

  3. My husband, 1.5 year old and I moved towns to follow his job, I made a very small number of acquaintances/friends then he and I split up. I had no one apart from these few people I sort of knew. I had to make more effort.

    I started taking my daughter to nursery three half days a week so I could work part time. It sounds stalker-ish but i worked out which kids my daughter liked playing with best, then I worked out when their mums came to collect and I started 'bumping into them' regularly, then I started conversations, and to the ones who responded I suggested coffees, or play dates and I made a couple of good friends from there. Those friendships didnt last until today, but they lasted long enough until I made other friends.

    When my daughter started school is when I really started building a circle of friendships--because almost all the other mums were in the same position as me! I thought I was at a disadvantage because I am an expat with no family or no long term friends here, but everyone was experiencing the same lack of friends.

    Its hard work to 'pursue' friendships, but the hard-work ultimately pays off--if you can do it online you can certainly do it offline!! x

  4. First of all, thanks for the link.

    Coming from Lancashire I can only apologise for my county's lack of compassion. Not everyone is nice and not everyone is genuine. But sometimes we are able to meet that one person, or in the case of the internet, many people, who gel together and form friendships. Only you can say if you're lonely. That's for no one else to judge but you. I get very irritated when people think they have a right to judge someone just because they don't have the same interests as they do. I see it regularly with Amy's situation and even though I'm used to it now, there's still a part of me that hurts deep down.

    Sometimes I feel lonely; I want my mum and dad to be here, my dad usually is, but my mum lives in Manchester. My online friends have become some of my closest friends and I feel really honoured to be a part of a community which is always there for each other.

    I hope you manage to find a more welcoming group and happier people to share your life with when you move. Just being able to pop to a neighbour's for coffee can sometimes make all the difference.

    CJ xx

  5. I remember trying to go to toddler groups, creative writing groups and yoga classes in an attempt to make friends with people when Small Fry was much younger - there were a couple of years when I felt very isolated. It never really worked for me. I realised that the kind of people I get on with are people who are a bit like me, and they are generally not group-joiners and outing-makers but people who stay in a lot and potter on their computers. Once I started a blog I made some online friends, and then got the confidence to do other things, like reading nights. I totally know what you mean. :)

  6. I am sat in tears (yes I am very emotional today), but your post resonated with me, hell infact it could even be me. Yep I am starting to think you are my doppelganger and getting a bit scarred of you too.

    We relocated a month before Mini was Born and in all that time I have made 3 friends, 1 who turned out not to be a friend at all, just a user and as soon as I stopped lending or giving, she stopped calling.

    Now I have always seen this as a reflection of me, of how I find it hard to open up to people and also of the strength of my relationship with MadDad. He is my best friend, when I was working I didn't need anyone else. I had acquaintances at work and then I had him.

    I find it hard to find things in common with people apart from children and that doesn't make me like them!!

    I am hard and critical and would rather spend time with my family.

    Although a couple of really close would be great!

  7. A very poignant post.

    It is hard to make baby friends I've found unless you are pregnant or do tiny baby stuff together in the first instance. Even then it can be hard if you choose different parenting options.

  8. Well at least when you move back down South you know you've got Helen and me, and all the MTB ladies, and cake......You'll be sick of us inviting you round for coffee :-)

  9. This is a great post and probably describes how a lot of Mum's feel. It can be isolating and you sound like me in that you find big groups to be quite daunting. None of my friends had babies at the same time as me and although I've got a couple of friends I've made through the groups I know it can be really hard. I hope things get a bit better and if not we're all here!

  10. I can relate to this so much. the internet is such a life saver, isn't it?

  11. I think that it is easy to make acquaintances, you know, the people you meet at these groups and nod to or say hello to, but it is difficult to make real friends, the ones you will phone for a conversation or arrange to meet for lunch. You have to find someone that you hit it off with, who has the same sense of humour and values as you. It's as difficult as finding the right man!

    Thinking about it, most of my real friends are the wives of my husband's friends. Which kind of makes sense, because I'm kind of shy at making friends myself, but my husband is quite gregarious and his friends are a bit like him so their wives are a bit like me. Strange, but true!

  12. Completely understand where you're coming from Sandy. I find it very hard to make new friends, and didn't make friends with any other mums during both lots of ante-natal classes. I thought it was just me! I tend to hesitate about inviting people for coffee and suchlike, thinking - like you - that they might say no.

    Blogging and twitter does give you people the ability to converse with others and avoid the nervousness and social ineptitude, and I imagine it can be a lifesaver for some.

    Glad you're feeling a little less lonely. x

  13. Another one who can totally relate to all you've written. There is many a day when the Internet is my only adult conversation. ((hugs))

  14. Great post! It can be very lonely being a mummy and like you moving to a new place was hard for me. I left behind all of my school friends and whilst I wasn't pregnant or with children at the time, the few friends I have made haven't had any kids. I hear about all my school friends settling down and having a kid or 2 (some of them almost 5!!) and I realise if I hadn't moved then my kids would be growing up with them...Or would they, cause if I hadn't moved I wouldn't have met my hubby and so the story goes. I've chatted with loads of lovely people online and that does take the edge off the lonliness but it doesn't beat sitting down with a nice cuppa and having a good natter!

  15. I think we've been tweeting virtually from when I started using Twitter...Twitter truly saved my life. I have never felt so lonely as I do at the moment and that's with it as well. gawd knows how I'd feel without it.
    I can understand your reluctance to even bother making friends now you are moving....I have no energy to talk to the mothers at my childrens new school.
    When my first was born a lonely new mum set up a group which took place the same time every week, the health visitor put her in contact with other mum's feeling the same. We did this for years, people joining all the time and we took it in turns to have it at our houses. Perhaps you could do something like that? XX

  16. It is tough keeping friends when you have kids, they take over and have to come first. I have made some friends though classes, etc but like you have said I haven't kept them. I haven't moved but I hardly see any of my old friends anymore because they don't have kids and don't want to hang out with someone who does. It's tough but you have to be happy and get back out there. What a fantastic post. xx

  17. I think the internet has kept me on the right side of sanity. If it weren't for the mums I've met online I would've crumbled.

    I have a couple of friends (with children) I see twice a year or so locally. We're more acquaintances really. Aside from that my best friends live 100's of miles away.

    Your post totally resonates with me too.



  18. I can totally relate as can so many mums out there. I've got 3 boys and Im not the best at putting myself out there and making friends. In fact I cant say I've got any firm mummy friends I can rely on or talk to with ease. It can be a really lonely life being a mum. Life seems so hectic anyway though with not enough hours in the day I sometimes forget I dont get adult company til my hubby comes home at night!

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  20. I hope this comment goes through. What a heartfelt post and I understand what you're going through. We moved here on the day I was induced. We're about 15-30 mins away from the people I met at NCT. I kept up with them for a while but it was intense and uncomfortable and I don't like feeling like I have to pretend to be something I'm not. When the 'leader' made a 'borderline' racist comment, that was my line drawn. Despite people in real life thinking I'm an extrovert, I'm shy in certain types of situation and so whilst I went to some of the mum and baby groups, and got to know some people, I've done my own thing as I find these groups hardgoing, fickle, and competitive. Procreating around the same time isn't a guarantee of friendship or things in common I quickly discovered. The virtual side is great - I'm still shy in the mum group type situ but I haven't let my experience *burn* me and I have some genuine friends online. Thankfully you're moving and in the meantime, you know you've got your mates round here - cue The Golden Girls theme tune x

  21. I think it just gets harder to make good close friends as you get older. Friendship promoting things like lesuirely evenings over drinks, spending a nice day out with someone are not possible anymore, friendships take time to build and mums don't have time.
    I have made a few new good friends since having kids. Despite living close by we actually email each other quite a lot, and chat on facebook. Using internet media to cement "real world" friendships, kind of as a substitue for face to face time seems to help me get close to people. Best of luck with the move and with finding friends, you seem like a lovely person who would make a fantastic friend!

  22. Lonely but not alone. I guess that's how I think about it.

    I can relate to so much of this. I struggle to connect with other mothers sometimes, and have found my online friends to be an enormous source of support and connection that I have struggled to make 'out there'.

    I just wish you all lived closer! Sometimes it really upsets me that we can't all meet up for coffee and chat for real.

    When I am a millionaire I think I will have to set up a mummy blogger's compound...

  23. I can relate to this a lot. I never really got on with those Mum & Baby groups due to a total lack of confidence in groups of new people. But I would be willing to bet if you asked someone for a coffee they would be grateful. It always takes one person to make the first move.
    As for the internet and Twitter/blogging etc. I think it is a lifesaver... I call my computer my "window to the world".

  24. I actually read Mrs Scruff's post and thought it sad but didn't want to leave a message as I think I am one of the lucky ones. Since having my little girl I have managed to make lots of new and wonderful friends. I am lucky in my town that there are lots of baby and toddler classes and groups and right from the beginning I made sure I was out at something or other most days of the week.

    However, the more I have been thinking about these posts the more I realise I am worried about the future. What happens when all the little ones start different schools/nurseries etc. When everyone is on their second or third child or go back to work and their priorities change. I truely hope that my new friendships last the test of time and I must admit I am a little nervous about starting again trying to make friends at the school gates.

    My advice to all the new mummies out there feeling isolated is to bite the bullet and go to every single baby group going. Just remember you are not going alone. You have your little one with you. So if you start to feel a little uncomfortable just chat with, play with, coo over them.

    And to waffle on a bit more, I really think "internet friendships" are just as valuable as face-to-face ones.

  25. Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments. I'm quite overwhelmed. I will reply to you all individually when I have more time.
    As I've been saying on Twitter, I may be lonely, but I'm not alone :-) x

  26. I lost my previous comment in cyberspace, how annoying!

    I have had friends who have entered and left my life and others who are in for the long haul. Each person has given me something and I hope I in turn have given something back.
    My idea is, some are meant to stay, others are not.
    It's all about sharing and moving onwards and upwards in life. Once there's nothing more to share, it's time to move on.

  27. I understand your feelings too well. I moved her from NZ in August 2008 and I still haven't managed to make any real friends irl. It's strange because I'm outgoing and smiley and chatty. This is the fourth country I've lived in and by far the most difficult to resettle into. I'm grateful for the internet, blogging and Twitter communities they've saved my sanity.

  28. Ah so sorry about your friend. Being a mummy can be a very lonely, solitary existance at times. I'm emotional writing this as I can relate. Hugs xxx If you write about this again, I'll return with a more articulate comment I promise. Hugs. In fact, just move to the Midlands, I could do with someone like you right now.

  29. I think one of the things that no-one who hasn't been there realises about motherhood is just how isolating it can be. It's definitely true that I don't arrange playdates for the girls, i arrange them for me. For the adult company and the feeling that I'm not alone. I do know what it's like that sometimes you feel like you're the only one and there's no-one to talk to, but there are other likeminded mums out there and some of them will be friends. I promise. Now that we're thinking of moving I realise how many local mum friends I have. But this time last year? I had none. I can't tell you what the secret is. I go to the same groups, live in the same house, have the same children... but somehow I've found them. And in the meantime. You have us x

  30. It's tough isn't it? I wrote about it today - Mum Flirting! All I can say is that by reading posts like yours and everyone's comments it would seem that most mums are feeling lonely so maybe next time I'll just bite the bullet and start chatting and invite for coffee, rather than buggering about for months and feeling sorry for myself. Consider me another virtual friend in the meantime! x

  31. This post really struck a chord with me. I absolutely understand where you're coming from - I live in the middle of London in an area where there has been an acknowledged 'baby boom' in recent years, and I have no mummy friends at all round here. When the Bear was born I had a few but everyone has either moved away or is back to work full time. My husband was out of work for 15 months from when the Bear was four months old so I didn't make the effort I probably should have done to get out and meet people as it was so nice spending time as a family unit, and now he's back at work it's really come round to bite me on the bum!
    We are hopefully moving out to Hertfordshire in the next couple of months so I'm treating that as a fresh start and hopefully might start to meet some people soon. I hope the same goes for you! Whereabouts down south are you thinking of moving?

    I am rubbish on Twitter and haven't been blogging all that long but have been touched by the support that is out there from other mums.

  32. It is lonely. I put all my effort into 3 friends I met at a nursing moms group. I really thought the 3 of us bonded and were going to be life long friends, but not so sure anymore. Aren't other moms just as lonely and want to keep friendships?

  33. Gaelikaa, I like the idea of a big blogging family! All the bloggers I've met have been lovely too. Blogging must attract a certain type of person who is open to communicating and sharing with others.

    B, yes, life is what you make it. What if every one sat and waited for someone else to make the first move? "Be happy and do what makes you happy not what you think you should be doing" - I love that, thank you x

    Michelloui, thanks for all that wonderful advice. Yes, there's no reason why I can't make offline friendships in the same way that I've made online friendships. I think I need to try harder and realise that there are a lot of people in the same boat who are just waiting for someone to ask them round for a coffee x

    CJ, you're welcome for the link. There's no need to apologise on behalf of Lancashire ;-) I think I've been under the impression that everyone here already has friends and don't need any more. Of course that's silly! I wish you were my neighbour - you'd never get rid of me! x

    Jenn, hmm, I suppose you can join as many groups as you like, but if you're a quiet pottering sort of person you're less likely to strike up friendships than the chatty ones do. At toddler groups I always feel like an outsider. I think I'll stick to writing groups and not worry so much about Other Mothers :-)

  34. It can be quite hard to make friends as a mom. In some ways it is easier to start talking to people, you know, their kid is suddenly playing with their kid, but not all moms are interested in making new friends. I always try though.

  35. The Mad House, we MUST meet up one day, or perhaps bringing our parallel lives together may tear a hole in the universe!! I'm very close to Andy too and I suppose having that friendship means there's no so much room for other friendships. You're right though, having a couple of friends near by would be nice x

    Slim Lens, I think that has a lot to do with it. I'd imagine I'd still be seeing my NCT group if we still lived in Surrey. I find having children means you can chat away to a stranger for ages discussing weaning, sleeping etc, but it doesn't mean you're friends. Interesting.

    Sam, I can't wait! Mmm cake :-) xxx

    Carrot Hair Mum(!), I think I'd imagined that it would be easier to make friends with mums. Thank goodness for the internet!

    Heather, I know. What would we do without it?!

  36. Working Mum, you're absolutely right about the sense of humour part. I have a lot of acquaintances but few real friends. This has always been the case. I've only got a handful of best friends, but I can rely on them for anything. Perhaps I should be happy with that?!

    Not Supermum, I was going to say 'I'm glad it's not just me' but that would mean I'm glad you didn't make mummy friends either and of course I don't mean that!! See you can be socially inept online too ;-) The fear of rejection is a big part of why I hesitate to ask people round for a coffee. Perhaps I should bite the bullet. x

    Very Bored, thanks for the (((hugs))), sending them straight back x

    Laura, well I'm glad you did meet hubby, but I'm sorry you're struggling to make mummy friends too. It is more difficult that I imagined. I suppose I just remember when I was young my mum had a large circle of friends who all had small children and there was always someone at our house or we went to play somewhere else. Sending you a virtual cup of coffee and a slice of chocolate cake x

    Nova, yes, I think you were one of my first Twitter friends and it has been a lifesaver for me too. Setting up a new group sounds quite daunting, but what a lovely idea. I haven't seen a health visitor for ages, but they may have information on groups here (or I may just wait until we move)! x

  37. Susan, I hadn't realised how many people were in the same boat. I will make more of an effort, but I'll probably wait until we move now. x

    Insomniac Mummy, a big yay for the internet from me too! Being hundreds of miles away from friends is not much fun, that's why we're moving back. We hadn't realised how much we needed to have friends nearby, until we didn't have them. x

    Mummy Outnumbered, it's very easy to get tied up in family life. Before I went online I'd take my boys for a walk to the local shop just for a pint of milk so I could talk to the person on the checkout! I know how you feel! x

    Natalie, I'm so lucky to have my online mates *cue violins*! What a shame about your NCT group. I struck lucky with mine but moved away when P was 3 months old! I speak to them occasionally, but it's not the same as chatting face to face. x

    Geeky Mummy, I think you're spot on. It is harder to make friends when you're older, especially when you have children. Great idea to use Facebook etc to cement friendships, I'll try that if I get the chance. I like to think I'd make a good friend, but it's lovely of you to say that too x

  38. Josie, lonely but not alone, so true. I wish we all lived closer. It would be wonderful to sit and chat while our children play together. I'm liking the idea of a mummy blogger compound. I wonder how many of us would stay in our homes and converse online?! x

    Rebecca, I think you're on to something there. I bet there are loads of people all wishing someone would invite them round for a coffee. What would we do without the internet?! x

    Photo Puddle, how lovely that you'e made friends - it shows that it is possible! Our lives change and sometimes we no longer have anything in common with our old friends. I suppose this doesn't mean they weren't good friends, but that they belong to that time in our lives. I go to three mum and baby groups where there are people I chat to. When we move I'll have to start again! I'm so glad you said that internet friendships are valuable, that's how I feel x

    Marianne, I love your philosophy on friendship. I hadn't thought of it like that, but I think you're absolutely spot on. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to comment twice x

    Vegemitevix, what a shame you're struggling to make friends too. You come across online as chatty and friendly so I had assumed you were like that in real life! Hear hear, thank goodness for the internet and roll on the first Judith's Room meetup x

  39. Rosie, oh sweetie, I wish we lived closer too. Thanks for the (((hugs))), sending them straight back. xxx

    Plan B, aw, that's lovely. I'm so glad I have my online friends. What a great idea to suggest play dates. You can hide behind the idea that your children are playing and get to know the other mum at the same time - I like it! x

    Hot Cross Mum, I'm so far behind on my reader I haven't read about mum flirting yet! You're right, I need to bite the bullet and just ask someone if they fancy a coffee. Very happy to have you as a virtual friend x

    Baking Mad Mama, my husband works from home so I can understand how easy it is to spend time at home instead of getting out there. We haven't decided exactly where we'll move to but I expect it will be Hertfordshire. We'll have to keep in touch and see if we're going to live near each other. Bloggers are so supportive, the ones I have met in real life are just as lovely as they appear online x

    Amy, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm sure there are more mums out there to be friends with, we just need to make the first move (this applies to both of us) x

  40. Capital Mom, I guess we just have to keep trying new people until we find that person we connect with. If you reach out to enough people I'm sure you'll get something back. Love your blog by the way :-)

  41. What a great and very real post. Becoming a mother is so rewarding but can also be so isolating. I'm so glad you were able to get the friendship and support a new mother needs.

    PS We're all lovely in Yorkshire! Get yerself over there for a day!! =)

  42. If I could escape, thank you. I feel so much better for writing the post and reading all the lovely comments. I've haven't been to Yorkshire for ages... get that kettle on! :-)

  43. I have just discovered this post - I wanted to comment under the gripping railway post (now, honestly, I would have loved to be with Mad Mum and you!) when my eye caught the snippet of this post. I have been writing about it today, too. Motherhood can be bloody lonely. And I am more than graceful for the great people I have met online so far.

  44. Met Mum, sorry it took me so long to reply. I don't know what I'd have done without my online friends x


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