Why you need mum friends in those early days of new parenthood
Because when you find yourself a group of mum friends that are down-to-earth, non-judgey, and who don’t apologise for the state of their house when you traipse in with your stinky baby saying, ‘Can I use your change mat? We’ve got a category 3 over here,’ it’s like you’ve got mates to be in the trenches with.
I remember when I was home with my firstborn, before we moved back home to Torquay, and I was trying to make mum friends. I was lucky that many of my fellow teachers at the boarding school where lived and worked also had babies around the same time as me. But parents’ groups weren’t really a thing during those early pando days. And most of my closest long-term friends were still in Melbourne and Geelong.
But the friends I did have through our school community made this time not just survivable, but MAGICAL. Because when you find yourself a group of mum friends that are down-to-earth, non-judgey, and who don’t apologise for the state of their house when you traipse in with your stinky baby saying, ‘Can I use your change mat? We’ve got a category 3 over here,’ it’s like you’ve got mates to be in the trenches with. One time I went to my friend Christina’s house, and my three month old son had gone through seven outfits by 11am. (SEVEN. NOT JOKING). None of us had dressed up. We sat on the living room rug, letting the babies roll around with each other and stick their fingers in each other’s mouths (gross, I know, but babies just do it allll the time). We ate muffins from the local bakery and talked about everything from crap naps to cloth nappies to sore boobs in the stilted, interrupted, staccato-way of keeping a conversation going that only mums of littles truly understand. If I talked about these topics with friends who weren’t parents… actually, I probably wouldn’t. Which is kind of my point. If I didn’t have these mum friends, I would have had these topics on a thought loop in my brain day in, day out while I was home with my baby. But I could talk about them in what felt like an open-hearted therapy session, let them go, and then enjoy this time more.
Having a neighbour to text and say, ‘I know it’s early, but you’re probably up – fancy some fresh air and a pram walk?’ means no one has to get in the car and drive. No ones has to have clean hair. But you get sunshine, fresh air, your kid gets outside and you get nice human mum chat.
Mama Club: The best new way to make mum friends in Torquay
I recently attended a Mama Club event at Sou’West Brewery in Torquay, Victoria (a pretty great location for meeting bigger groups with small kids, since there’s an indoor playground with a fence!). Since moving back to Torquay from Canada, I’ve noticed that there are so many young families in our stage of life – parents in their thirties with a toddler and a baby or newborn. Hence why there are so many playgrounds in Torquay now! I’m in the mood to make local mum friends on the Surf Coast, and Chelsea’s creation of Mama Club is bringing together so many mums who want to build a sense of community. She’s based out of Armstrong Creek but regularly hosts events in Geelong and Waurn Ponds too. They are usually at a great cafe or brewery and you are encouraged to bring your little ones (or come alone if you need a breather!), and there’s always good food and coffee or wine. She even organises goodie bags from mama-owned local businesses. Go Chelsea!
At our last event, I offered to photograph all of our mums and their babies and toddlers as a type of Motherhood Mini photoshoot. There’s a great pink painted wall and some lovely eucalyptus trees nearby, so we grabbed our fifteen rain-free minutes and spent two minutes snappily snapping away to capture one beautiful photo of each mum and her child.
Mums, get in the photos! #proofofmum
So often, we are the ones behind the camera, taking photos of our partners with our kids. We notice how sweet our kids look, how nice the light is, and then our phones are full of thousands of quick snaps of our children and our partner. But when we are in them, it’s usually a quick selfie! And for me at least, I never really print those ones. And I often feel awkward asking my husband to take a photo of me and the kids (why? Am I self-conscious? Feeling bad for asking for what I want? Not sure. But I think it’s a feeling a lot of mums have). So while some of us may have had a studio-style newborn photoshoot in those early days, as our baby gets a little older we often want some beautiful family photographs that have the whole family playing and interacting with the baby. This type of session is my jam. We play play play and as you can see here, the personalities and expressions really come out.
So to this end, we worded up the mums attending this event that we’d be hosting a mini motherhood photo session so that they’d throw on something nice and brush their hair, and everyone received a lovely photo the following week in their own gallery for download.
The other idea here was that phone photos, while they look decent on your small screen, don’t actually print up well if you want them larger. That’s where you need a professional! Our cameras capture so much more data when taking a photo, and we carefully edit your photos rather than slapping on a quick filter (ewwww), so when you go to print them, they look so good framed on your wall!
Here are a few photos from our afternoon. If we could capture these moments inside of fifteen minutes total (seriously – that was our window of time for all of these!), imagine what beauties we could capture of your whole family if we did a full 90 minute session together, either in your home or on a beautiful beach along the Surf Coast at sunset. Mmmmmm.
Want to get in touch with Kristen about getting some photos of your family, with you actually in them? Click here!