When Mum Friends Stop Being Friends

A group of mum friends with children playing

Have you ever heard of the saying, “friends are either there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?”

There are some friendships in life where you automatically know which category they are going to fall into.

The childhood/teenage friendships that transition into adulthood usually last the long haul. The new ‘adult friendships’ when you’re young and childfree often wane if children come along for one and not the other.

Most of us could be forgiven for hoping that the ‘mum friends’ we make when our children are small will walk the journey of parenthood with us for many years to come.

If you’re like me, you may have even spent a small fortune on NCT classes when you fell pregnant with your first child, in the hope that it would secure you some mum friends in the same position who you could turn to for support.

Perhaps others of you waited in hope of meeting a fellow friend at the school gates once school started for your children (only to be met with the slew of lockdowns…thanks for that covid!).

Whatever route you found your parenting pals, it may come as a blow to discover that those connections are not necessarily the long-lasting lifeline you had hoped they would be.

My Experience

My own experience of a loss of friendships came at a point in my life when I really felt that I needed my friends the most. I had just given birth to my second child, my first being 2 years old, and I was struggling with PND and anxiety.

It was the summer holidays, so all routines were out of the window as preschool was closed for the summer – I was left to contend with a newborn and a very energetic toddler who didn’t nap and was toilet training to boot!

Recovery from post-labour surgery wasn’t going well, and my world became very small very quickly. Sleep deprivation took a huge toll and it wasn’t long before I felt like I was failing at everything.

Amid the chaos and change in dynamic, my 2-year-old was finding the changes so tricky. He started to snatch toys, hit, push and even attempted to bite (have a read of this Your Baby Club post all about why children bite if you’re struggling with this) seemingly contending for attention when visitors came to visit the new baby.

It wasn’t long before friends and their children decided to keep their distance and stopped inviting me to meet-ups, days out or playdates.

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At first, I thought this was my anxiety making me paranoid, but after a few weeks of no contact we eventually received a text message confirming our suspicions – we were no longer welcome because of my child’s ‘behaviour’.

The story didn’t stop there of course…I could go into much more detail about this time in our life, but I’m sure you can appreciate without explanation just what a blow this was. This period of time had a devastating effect on my mental health for a long time and I had many hours of therapy and attended support groups such as PANDAS in the hope of reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’ve ever been in a similar situation yourself, you will know how hard it can be when friends ditch you, no matter how old you are. You question everything and usually resort to putting yourself down, lowering your self-worth and self-esteem.

There are a few key things to remember, should you ever find yourself in this position:

These Friends Are Not Your People

Their departure from your life leaves room for true friends who accept you for your authentic self – just because you haven’t found them yet doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Be true to yourself and they will find you.

Pack Mentality Is Real

When an entire group of friends turn on an individual, it's usually led by one or two ‘queen bees’, with the rest taking on the role of ‘sheep'.

These sheep are usually able to see the wrong in the turn of events but they are too scared to upset the status quo and it is easier and safer for them to follow along.

Either way, Queen bees who sting, and the following sheep with no loyalty to you do NOT make good friends. You’re better without them.

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Who Stuck By You

It may be hard at the moment to see this, but hard times sort the wheat from the chaff.

Take note of the people who DID stick around, whether quietly or as a force of nature. Be thankful that you’ve now made room for more new mum friends who are like minded people and want to be your friend.

Find friends with whom you leave a meet-up feeling better about yourself, not worse. You’ll find them on your wavelength, not someone else’s.

Your mum friends should be there to lift you up and support you, and you deserve this love and care.

Put Yourself First

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

Other people and their opinions do not determine your worth – their judgements of you are none of your business, ignore them at all costs.

You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce. Walking away from those who treat you badly and judge you harshly lets them know that you do not approve of their behaviour towards you.

They will likely fight against this in defence, or perhaps even try to gaslight you - but this does not make you wrong for pulling them up on their unkindness.

You Can't Be Everyone's Cup of Tea

You are not for everyone and don't stress yourself out by trying to please everyone.

Don’t waste your time trying to convince people of your worth if they were unable to see it already. Giving your time and sharing your life with someone is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Don’t waste it on the undeserving.

Finally, when it feels all is lost, remember:

The strength within you is not always a huge, burning bonfire, visible like a beacon, quite often it is a tiny spark, or a glowing ember, carrying on quietly… just waiting to rise from the ashes.

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Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.