When you have a baby, your identity gets a huge shake-up. Your daily routine is unrecognisable, you dress differently and you have opinions about things you didn’t know it was possible to have opinions about, like pram brands and places it’s OK to change a dirty nappy (on the ground at the park: yes, in the living room: depends who’s watching. And inhaling).
If your existing friends don’t have babies yet, or have kids of a different age, you’ll suddenly feel like an alien, and you’ll desperately need fellow aliens for late night text chats and early morning swingside cake scoffing. It’s what the young people refer to as #squadgoals. There are all sorts of ways to make mum friends – antenatal classes, baby groups and, of course, this awesome app called Mush – but one thing’s for sure, you can never have enough of them. Especially because they will all fulfil different roles in your shiny new mum world.
Of course, the big question is, which one of these new mum clichés are you? Or are you, in fact, a little bit of all of them?
1. Knit your own nappy mum
How to spot her: It’s hard to get a good look at her because there’s a baby covering her entire body and face. Yep, no buggies here, she’s a baby-wearer and proud – and definitely not in a Baby Bjorn, perish the thought. She’s passionate about breastfeeding, she uses cloth nappies (or at least vaguely biodegradable ones) and in her house CBeebies is a swear word.
Why you need her: She’s full of cool ideas that you might never have thought of. The main one being: if in doubt, put coconut oil on it. Organic obvs.
2. Sign foetus up for the 2032 London Marathon mum
How to spot her: When you stumble into your relaxed weekly nursery rhymes session, she’s already there, right at the front, bellowing out The Grand Old Duke Of York in three languages. She’s obsessed with her birth story: “Out in three pushes, just a paracetamol”. If little Beatrice isn’t walking by nine months, she’ll wonder where she went wrong.
Why you need her: She’ll take you to all the best baby classes, she has spreadsheets for this stuff. Plus, she makes you feel dead chilled in comparison.
3. Take baby to A&E because its fart smelled off mum
How to spot her: She’s the one cleaning baby Leo’s precious bum with cooled boiled water well into his second year. She gets through four bottles of hand sanitizer a week. She’s on first-name terms with the entire staff of the local A&E and she sends you panicky messages at 3am asking if it’s normal for babies to smile in their sleep or if it’s a sign of a rare neurological disorder.
Why you need her: She’s there for you when you’re feeling anxious too. Baby got a snotty nose? She’ll be straight round with her bag of magic potions. Just nobody breathe.
4. Back in the size eight skinnies mum
How to spot her: She’s clutching a glass of prosecco and wearing hot pants. But you’re at baby massage class and it’s 10.20am. Sure, she loves little Amelie with all her heart, but getting her life back is a big priority. Sleep training commences at three days old, and baby spends every Friday night at Granny’s house before the first month is out.
Why you need her: Because when your baby is six months old and you still haven’t been apart for more than two hours, she’ll drag you to the pub to bitch about ex-boyfriends, and you’ll feel more like your old self too.
5. Still functioning thanks only to caffeine and cuddles mum
How to spot her: She’s crying, she’s filthy and she’s shakily clutching a giant latte. She just fell asleep standing up in front of the swings. Smiley little Reuben is a joy during the day but has never slept more than 20 minutes at a time at night. Her husband no longer speaks. A glutton for punishment, she’ll somehow be pregnant again within the year. “I’ve never been happier,” she sobs.
Why you need her: Because we all have days when we’re her. And when we’re having a good run, it makes us kinder to those who aren’t. Plus, she’s always available for coffee. Really strong coffee.
6. The happy mum happy baby mum
How to spot her: She’s the one dashing home to yank down the black-out blind and place drowsy but awake Isla in her cot. If she falls asleep in her buggy at an unallotted time, she’ll breeze that it’s fine through clenched teeth. Can also frequently be found on mum forums defending any criticism of Gina Ford, god love her.
Why you need her: Because she’s read all the baby bibles (it’s all that time she has on her hands during her baby’s long, perfect naps…) some of her advice might actually be useful. She’s got that baby/life balance nailed.
7. The surely too cool to possibly be a mum mum
How to spot her: You already follow her on Instagram, obvs. She’s not a mum, she’s a mama, and she has the ironic slogan tee to prove it. Which is lucky, because otherwise you’d assume she was just an effortlessly cool French au pair. Even baby Ottillie is cooler than you; she’s never caught wearing a sleepsuit after 8am.
Why you need her: To remind you that all the red lipstick and directional fringes in the world can’t make a baby cooperate. Deep down, she’s just like you. Plus she has some excellent box set tips.
8. The dad friend
How to spot her: Well, her is a him, that’s the main giveaway. Despite the existence of shared parental leave and the fact that it’s the 21st century, there still aren’t many men on the maternity circuit, particularly at the little baby stage. So dads can look a bit awkward, desperate to get out and about and fill their days, but too worried about accidentally wading into some banter about vaginal stitches to strike up a conversation with all those flipping mums.
Why you need him: To talk about something other than vaginal stitches, tbh. Dad friends can generally offer a different perspective on parenting. Plus, he might well be feeling lonelier than you can imagine. Let him in!