Updated: May 13, 2020
We all have that one friend who always has the biggest story, always takes centre stage, always thinks she is most important in this friendship whenever you share anything about yourself. So, choose carefully who your confidantes are and what you share with who in order to protect yourself from those overwhelming new mum feelings.
Get a room full of women and the birth stories start. Old, young, nannies, great nannies and māmā, we are all the same. We all want to tell how it was for us. When you were the wāhine in the room before you had this experience you were the one cringing and making fun of us all as we out laboured, out pained and had more stitches than the rest of the room. Now you are a māmā, you have joined the club and you want to out story us all too. Guess what, you’ve got hundreds of opportunities ahead of you to take the floor and tell your amazing story. Some days you’ll get yours in before someone else takes the lead and becomes centre stage.
Same with breastfeeding stories, biggest poo, longest tantrum and on it goes. The more women in the room, the bigger the competition.
As wāhine we compare, we judge ourselves against others and at times we can make ourselves feel bad based on what we perceive others to be, have or do, that we may or may not want for ourselves.
It is hard not to get swept up and buy into all that we expect ourselves to be when we live in a competitive world where we compete to work hard, show that we are intelligent, educated, fit, healthy, great housewives, have perfect bodies, wear makeup, false lashes, have perfect eyebrows and be dressed for every occasion ...
So when we sit with our friends to catch up it can be very easy to continue this and get into “I” mode. When we converse with our friends we want to connect and when we connect we like to share experiences. Problem is, sometimes this feels like the ongoing competitiveness we have become accustomed to in the rest of our world. We can easily alienate those we need to connect with the most, purely because we are too busy. Too busy because we are new māmā with limited time for our friends or too busy telling our own story and not taking the time to listen.
So guess what wāhine mā? Learn to recognise when you should be talking, when you should be sharing equally and when you should just be listening. Sometimes us wāhine really do need to know when our waha should remain closed. Whakarongo atu to hoa. It can be a very fine line between connecting and sharing experiences and annoying your mate when she just needs to offload.
Learn to read your friends body language and understand what is more important today, getting to share what’s going on for you or listening to what’s going on for her. If you feel like you are always listening let her know that you really need a chance to offload or talk about your experience today. A real friend will understand this. A friendship, like any relationship is not always smooth sailing. Listening is an art, one that this nanny is still learning to do, (and reminding other nannies to do).
We’ve got this e hoa!