Rachel Tompkins wants to say sorry to the mates she's neglected while getting to grips with being a mum of two...
Having a baby changes everything, fact! With my first child I vowed to make sure life carried on as normal (cue knowing sniggers). I was fortunate to be able to breastfeed, but ensured my son would take a bottle of my milk too so that I could indulge in the occasional night out with friends. I expressed enough milk to leave him with family while I jaunted off to Italy for a friend’s wedding when he was five months, reclined on a spa day with one group of mates, had long phone catch-ups with others and managed to juggle motherhood and friendships pretty well.
Then baby number two came along and life got busier. Much busier! Now, my youngest is one and I’ve finally come up for air and realised what a crap friend I’ve been this last year. It wasn’t intentional, in fact it’s only by marking the passing of a whole year that it’s suddenly dawned on me how little, if at all, I’ve seen some of my friends. Thanks to social media I’ve kept up with most of them, but not physically been there supping wine as I hear about their latest date and enviously eye-up their new heels. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t swap being a mum for the world. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty to all the friends who I’ve neglected along the way. So, this is my way of saying sorry…
For the time I cancelled our rare, much anticipated night out at the last minute, I was looking forward to it I really was. And pre-baby I prided myself on always being reliable. But the baby had a temperature and I’d barely slept the night before. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes open, let alone engage in conversation.
For that dull, cold afternoon I dragged you to the park in the pouring rain and insisted on walking around endlessly as we tried to talk. I knew you were desperate to sit down, I was too. But the baby hadn’t napped all day and I was trying so hard to get into a routine that all I could think about was getting him to sleep.
For the New Year’s Eve you stayed over and I went to bed at 10pm before we had even heard Big Ben chime. You said it didn’t matter, but I knew you were just being kind. I knew it was a world away from the nights we had spent dancing on the bar and stealing random men’s ties to limbo under! But the whole family had been suffering with colds over Christmas and I was shattered. I was already calculating in my head how many hours sleep I would have before I would be woken up for a feed.
For the morning you booked off work to come round for a coffee and a chat, and ended up playing superheroes in the garden with my eldest while I rocked the baby to sleep. I was grateful, even if I was too distracted to thank you properly. And you didn’t half channel that cape well!
For the night I couldn’t make your birthday drinks because I had to be home to breastfeed the baby. I had tried to make him take a bottle – for days and days. But whenever I did he refused and it was tricky enough doing bedtime with the two boys anyway, without having to grapple with a crying baby and a bottle. So I just gave in and breastfed him instead.
For our Kings Road shopping trip that I abruptly cut short when I rushed home in a cab. My boobs were leaking over my silk top and I couldn’t hide it under my scarf for much longer. We would have laughed about such fashion malfunctions once upon a time, but bursting boobs and a damp top have a knack of killing the mood somewhat.
And finally, for all the times I was so wrapped up in my own world that I wasn’t the friend I used to be. Not just by not being there for the big life events (although I’m sure I missed lots of them too) but for the coffees after work, the shopping trips, and long chats like we used to have. It wasn’t intentional, it really wasn’t. We all know that babies, and hormones, have a funny way of changing priorities. I’m sure I won’t be the first mum who’s let some friendships fall by the wayside. But on the flip side, it does mean I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! Who’s for that Aperol Spritz?