We’re all endlessly juggling a million plates, right? Being a parent means having less time and patience with of a lot more responsibility than ever. That’s getting older generally, but the pro to all this pressure of adulting means being forced to become more ruthless with your time and energy, prioritising which plates matter most.
Last year was a flipping hard year for me in many ways (a close relative was unwell but is thankfully now recovering) and it was thanks to my amazing husband, Peter, other relatives, and my close mates: my girls that I felt supported and able to deal with the tough times of 2016.
It’s awful to deal with relentlessly traumatic times particularly when you’re trying to keep everyone else together, on top of work (thank goodness for the distraction of enriching work, hey) and general day-to-day shizzle: packed lunches, school runs, play dates and more meaning you need people around you to lean on.
When you’re knee-deep in stress, you truly discover who you can rely on.
My two oldest and closest friends Carlie and Rebecca were my rocks, my 5 carat diamonds, along with a group of amazing pals (many I’ve mostly made thanks to blogging). Those gals buoyed me up whenever I felt I was drowning and gave me the space to breathe and feel myself again.
Quick shout outs to my ‘Big Sis’ Maria, my casting director friend Nicci, my filmmaker friend Amancay Tapia, I went to uni with and who persuaded me to start this blog back in 2010 and my blog pals Mirka, Uju, Nomita, Jacqui, Lela and not forgetting my darling Jason I thankfully met two years ago and gained a great friend in the process. Huge love also to my sweetie Sharmin for coming all the way from Amsterdam for my birthday in November to cheer me up!
Big love too to my great friend, PR and blogger, Lucy who has become a sister to me and of course, there are so many more amazing peeps, so much so, I could fill a whole flipping post with you all which makes me feel so lucky. Thanks guys.
…There were many highs too last year (in fact many of you might be reading this totally unaware that last 2016 was hard for me) with lots of times I’ll always treasure- when Uju cried happy tears along with me when I won awards at BritMums Live, the advice my darling actress friend Harriet Thorpe gave me about the industry and life in general, I shall always hold dear, Maria’s endless support and home to stay at when I visited London for work last minute and needed a hug, the long chats and hours of fun with Mirka and Nomita as well as friends who partied the night away with me to celebrate life changing news: book deals, dream collabs and new projects I’d wished and worked for, for so long. To my girl Lela who always makes me laugh until I cry and Lucy for all the magical meetups which make me feel I’ve known her forever.
These guys got me through 2016.
I’m certain you must recognise your own mates in mine, the ones who always have your back and want the best for you, and you for them. The gems you just can’t live without. I’m certain I have so many real mates because motherhood helped me get a bit brutal on those I didn’t want in my life.
Post-kids, there’s literally no time for negativity and fair weather friends so you find yourself fleeing the friendships which just aren’t worth the work, and are left with all the good, golden eggs.
Funnily enough, as a director, pre-blogging, my job was to cast and direct TV drama and films. As a screenwriter too, I wrote screenplays and shorts, all universal stories which reflected real life, and in that I learnt so much about character, what drives others, until it became second nature. Thanks to that experience, I find I can usually suss people out the second I meet them. I’m not easily fooled put it that way.
It’s a great skill to have although living in ignorant bliss is no doubt as wonderful as it sounds. I’ve been outwitted in my time too of course, experiencing my fair share of faux friends in the past, those only out for themselves, ‘friends with agendas’ and other passive aggressive types.
We’ve all been there, right? Most often with people we knew we shouldn’t have trusted, our doubts proved us right.
Yet despite a few friendship-fails along the way (somewhat inevitable when you want to befriend the world by default), I’ve always had my true friends by my side, my real friends have remained a constant in my life, for the good times and the bad. Not just for the party- or the after party but the shocking, sh** times where you need an ear, a hug, a person to prop you up and promise you that things will be alright.
Vitally, you need the ones who know your strengths as well as your hormone-fuelled craziness each month, but love you anyway.
It’s the same with all relationships, really.
My husband Peter is my complete and utter BAE (he won’t even know what that means, opposites attract right). He’s my best friend for life. A best friend I fancy (obvs) who, despite our bickering, is my number one, my soul mate, my Mr Honest Mum.
I energise the heck out of him and he calms me the f*** down. One can’t exist without the other.
He (frustratingly) knows what I’m thinking about without me opening my mouth (we’ve been together since uni) and he always knows when I’m anxious because apparently I pout.
More than anything, our relationship is, for the most part, easy as pie. Come to think of it, it always has been. No drama, just two people who crazy-fancied then madly loved each another and still do today. We still make each other laugh and have a long history of silly, wild times back in the early days and mostly tons of food and chill times today, just how we like it. #ClubDuvet and on reflection it’s always run smoothly.
That doesn’t mean we don’t argue or ever annoy one another, that’s a daily occurrence here, we just never stay mad at each other for long. We always make compromises and simply, work sh** out.
We share values, love collaborating together on creative projects and have the same big dreams. One day LA baby, he we come!
It’s just easy together. It works.
Real friendships feel exactly the same. The key is the humility part, recognising we’re all just human beings trying our best and sometimes failing. At the crux of it, it’s understanding and overcoming one another’s faults whatever the relationship.
Yes the majority of the time, those in your life should make you feel good, not awkward, drained or at worst, unlovable. They should lift you up and give you strength but equally where bonds are worth preserving, issues should be worked at, and overcome.
For anyone reading this who feels consistently drained by other’s actions and generally s*** around certain peeps, then please trust your gut and find a new mates (or a partner) because real friendship should feel easy.