It’s the end of term. It’s Christmas! It’s time for work lunches and office parties, and family stuff. (And presents and turkey and crackers and baby Jesus.) But, you know, this year in particular, I am raising my sherry glass – yes, really – to my wonderful, wonderful other-mum-friends. (Incidentally, I did think of the phrase ‘mum-chums’ but as it turns out I can’t bear to actually use it.)
To my lovely friends who are also mums and are always there to laugh when the trials of bringing up small kids veer into mild hysteria, who are always up for a coffee/cocktail and a chat, who reassure you that the really irritating and slightly worrying thing that your offspring has started doing really is just a phase, the friends who hand your child a tissue when they are snotting everywhere and you are not organised enough to carry tissues in your bag; the friends who make parenting possible.
In the early years, these friends become like family. You spend hours together building train tracks and finding lost doll nappies and handing out biscuits and grapes. They make the playgroup circuit fun, they make some of the lonely bits of child-wrangling bearable. They will always have a story of a worse behaved child than yours’, they don’t judge the way you handle tantrums and they remember which of your children hates tomatoes. They invite you over and don’t bat an eyelid when your children systematically destroy their house. You invite them over and they don’t bat an eyelid that there is a kitchen full of washing up to be done and an overflowing ironing pile. They remind you that it doesn’t matter if your four year old can’t read or write yet; there is still so much time. They get you. They understand.
Now that my children are older; these friendships are different, but no less important. Maybe I see less of them these days, but my other-mum friends are still who I go to for advice, for reassurance and for essential school information I have managed to lose. They remind me about spelling tests and homework deadlines. They tell me where to go for good meals out with the kids, they tell me how to get rid of nits.They’re kind and generous and funny and wise.
Happy Christmas other mum friends, you lovely lot. Put your feet up for thirty seconds and raise your sherry glass too! (Oh go on, you know you want to.) We all deserve a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.