Monday, 27 October 2008

Not knowing who your friends are

I tell you, the reason I'm online today is mumsnet. An online community for mothers, I fell on it a few years ago when I was working from home and became a complete addict. There were all these other mothers on it, and they were great - they were sarcastic and imperfect, and they helped me learn how to bring my children up without killing them.

They told me loads of useful stuff. How to bake a birthday cake, how to make playdough from scratch, and what seeds to sow in my hedge. I found out how to clean my house with the insanity that is flylady; that Poisson Rouge could entertain the Lattes for hours; that I could sell old books on Green Metropolis; that I could get away with wearing pencil skirts and killer heels even at 38; and how to paint the spindles on my staircase (with my hand in a disposable glove and an old sock with paint on it, in case you need that information sometime). I found out that women you just don't know can be very, very caring and very, very funny. When I was frantic they calmed me down, and when I was miserable they cheered me up.

But lately I've found I just don't want to be there. I've realised that the website that changed all kinds of things about the way I am can't change the 15-year-old in me that worries that nobody likes her. (In real life, she's quite happy, thanks, and has no problems in this area anymore). I have spent the best part of four years chatting away to a load of women I had come to think of as my friends - despite the creeping realisation that if I fell off the planet tomorrow none of them would notice I had gone.

Lately the realisation has got less creeping. It has started STAMPING. Like Godzilla.

It's nothing personal. It's the nature of internet communities. People come, and people go, especially during the early years of having children. I don't need to know how many times a week to bath my newborn anymore. I don't have questions to ask about toilet training. And as new mothers join, and names I don't recognise start to fill up the conversations, I'm in danger of turning into some crazy has-been cabaret act, jumping around and shedding sequins in my desperate attempts to retain popularity. It's not seemly for a woman of my age, even if I can still wear the costumes.

I love mumsnet, and I always will. And if I ever want to know the answer to the kind of question that makes Mr Coffee roll his eyes and wander off, I will always know where to go. Or if Mr Coffee is out of town on business, and I find myself watching Lord of the Rings on TV with a glass or two of wine and want to talk about Sean Bean's, er, acting skills - well, you know where to find me.

But the playgroups are all over for me for this lifetime, and it's getting harder and harder to keep in touch with my real friends. It's time to ring them when I want a chat. It's time to move on.


  1. Sheesh Cap .. way to hit it on the noggin.



  2. AND WHICH FUCKET TAUGHT YOU HOW TO EMBED A TUNE? me you ungrateful hooar [wink]
    at least your blog is udated.

  3. Oh Cappy.

    [huge sigh]

    I know what you mean too though, it starts to matter more than it was meant to, and also doesn't matter at all.

    I will MISS YOU.

  4. Capp I didn't know you'd gone till someone linked to this. You've been on my 'list' of the ones I kind of get that warm feeling when I see their name above a post i'm about to read.

    Take care chick

  5. ooo looky it's like an MN reunion and what with me being barely over the physical addiction too

    .. is this linked to on MN then? I got a personal invitation I did [smug emoticon]

    [waves at 100x]

    [recognises posting style of fgrdgfdg but can't name it]

    [wonders who S is]


  6. Capp, not you as well! [dismayed]

    I knoe EXACTLY what you mean. Except I never had popularity to retain. :)


  7. we wont miss you
    will will BLOW on lal the forthy stuff til you are merely wramed water and are all nekkid
    wontw we
    looks hard)

  8. oh you are an articulate wag, serioulsy!
    so much more sophicticated than "feck the lot of you I'm off"
    I only MN to keep my hand in with UK people, who can use the English language in teh same way I do. I care not for private schools in Herts or BLW.

    Is there a space for sequin -shedders elsewhere on the interweb?


  9. Oh there you are Capp....

    And you marmitey person, my fellow Grinch.

  10. You have said everything I feel too. I have left, but 'sans flounce' - why bother?

    It's time to move on, and rediscover RL again.

    (but please let me know if you create a new space....)


  11. Yes Capp .. make a discussion bit .. I'm up for it.

    Ahem [coughs politely] was the 'flounce comment' aimed at me ... I bothered because I've put in enough years and made enough MN friends to feel bad about leaving without saying goodbye .. so [sticks out tongue maturely]!


  12. [sprinkles sequins all over comments]

  13. I am much happier when not on mumsnet. Although I DO find it useful for Christmas presnt ideas as I have an embarrassing tendency to angst over them and dh is SO not interested and would be happy if the girls got an orange and a bag of sticks.

    Lovin your work cappy.

  14. Well said cap! Life just keeps moving on. Sigh...

  15. I am distraught

    I heart you Capps.

    MN is getting shitter by the day.

  16. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    love custy

  17. Blimey, is this where you all are?
    Go well Capp
    ghosty xxx

  18. hope you are still enjoying your yoga

    you have an unerring ability to hit the nail on the head

    [does sun salutation]


  19. < elbows way in >

    Busy here ain't it?

    BTW I've bought new thermals Capp, cheapo from Peacocks. Am toasty :-)


  20. I always preferred an Americano anyway...


  21. Take care Capp.

    MN will be decidedly less frothy with you gone.

    So is this the new plan? Shall we stalk each other over blogs?

    [waves to Twig - 5 days isn't it? hope RL treating you well]

  22. You will be missed, Cappy. I am one of those whose name you will not recognise, but you have always made me smile. At least I can call in here for my caffine fix! I wish you luck and happiness.

  23. Capp :( You probably don't recognise or remember me, but I will miss you MN. I'm starting to feel the same way though and as soon as DD decideds to toilet train I may head the same way as you. RL is calling and I'm missing out on it....


  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. It feels like 6th form on MN, at the moment, with lots of people leaving and a few people left, holding on, as the youngsters take over.
    Sad, but inevitable.
    Wise words on your blog as on mn
    Joining you in lurkerdom

  26. It's happened at various junctures ever since I've been online, which is coming up to the ten yearsish mark now. You post on a message board for a while, things change, you move on. Maybe you use a chatroom then for a bit. Maybe an e-mail list. Heck, even a blog.

    It's like Real Life, only compressed into a small space and time-frame.

    It's slightly melancholy to dwell on it for too long, but see it this way - it's what happens when something is alive, and I like being reminded that I'm alive.

    FWIW, I've been missed as much online as I've ever been by RL friends who don't keep in touch, if not more.

    So keep in touch, and I'll try and do the same.

  27. But. but, but, you better come back for LOTRs letching! I will look really pervy doing it alone!


  28. We miss you on the DW geeks thread....



I love comments. I always try to respond - either here in the commentbox or by email if Blogger gives me your email address.

Thanks for visiting!