10 creepy things I did to make mum-friends after I had a baby
When I became pregnant, I didn't know a single other mother, a fact that my own mother felt was going to be detrimental to my mental health once I was home with a baby all day.
She didn't quite come out and say this but she also kind of implied that I would need these mum-friends to help me raise my baby knowing as I did absolutely nothing whatsoever about infants. Thanks mum. She would helpfully make suggestions like "Claire Byrne (RTÉ broadcaster) lives around here, she has a child." What exactly am I supposed to do with that information? Claire Byrne, if you happen to be reading this, don't worry I won't try to be your friend. I promise.
I did, however, try to be quite a lot of other mothers' friends with occasionally successful results. Here is how I scavenged together a coterie of mum-friends through a series of questionable and creepy methods.
10 vaguely creepy things I did to make mum-friends
1. I made The Man stay at home for the first few antenatal classes. He insisted that he wanted to be there but I told him that having him would hinder my plan to befriend another expectant mother. Upon arriving at the first class, I staked out the only other unaccompanied woman and sat beside her. Got her number in under an hour. BAM.
2. I spent many hours haranguing my best friends to "join me" – didn't work.
3. When I had my son, it was by c-section so I had to spend five days in the hospital after the birth. I used this time to ingratiate myself with the two recovering mums in the beds beside me. The Man accused me of being a predator, a creepy friend-pest. Whatever. I knew I wouldn't be leaving the hospital without their contact details. In a premeditated and calculated move on the last day, I gave them each a box of chocolates and casually dropped in that they should give me their numbers. "Sure, what's your number," said one (now my good friend, Ev) taking her phone out. "No dice, bitch," I thought I'm taking YOUR number. You won't get away that easy. I'm putting a lot (ALL) of this behaviour down to hormones.
4. When taking him for a walk in the locale, I chatted to my infant about current affairs in case Claire Byrne was around. This one came to nothing.
5. When out and about if I spied a solo mum with buggy I would lock on the target and proceed to engage her in conversation with all the precision of a seasoned lothario. I did the usual preliminaries: "What age?" accompanied by a non-threatening smile. Then (keep it casual now, light, don't scare her off) "Do you live nearby?" and finally "This little monster is around that age, we should meet up for a coffee and you know, just talk or whatever." Here's where I'd usually lose them.
6. One of the creepiest things I did was try to 'pick up' a mum when I didn't even have the Child on me. Once while out for a run minus child I struck up a casual convo with a mum walking with her buggy. I did the usual preamble but found things floundered without the baby on hand to hold her interest. I started scrolling through the phone looking for a snap of the Child. I knew I was under pressure as I was losing her fast. I couldn't find a pic of my son quickly enough so I just showed her one of my friend's child instead. I felt we could've been great together if not for this fairly bizarre lie I'd told (hormones). If we actually were to meet up, she would surely notice that my son was at least six months older than the baby in the picture and also, crucially, not a girl.
7. I brought home–baked cakes to the playground to attract other mothers. The Man said this was try-hard and reeked of desperation. It did. I didn't attract anything except pigeons.
8. I saw a mum laden down with a baby and a toddler, who had just sustained a knee scrape. I bundled them into my car and brought them to the GP. It was a mumnapping essentially. This worked and we are friends now.
9. I poached a mum-friend from another friend who didn't need her as much as I did. It was a calculated, strategic and ultimately brilliant move.
10. To this day, I force myself conversationally on any mum I encounter. They are underslept, exhausted and their defences are down. Still, my advances invariably fail usually after I've over-truthed them in some way, either through graphic details about birthing or blurting out something along the lines of, "Hey, do you want to be my mum-friend?"