Daily Mirror

I’m busy with new baby but pal says that I’m a bad friend


Dear Coleen

I’ve had a huge fight with my best friend and need some help deciding who (if anyone) is at fault.

If I’m honest, things haven’t been the same between us since I had my first baby eight months ago. I can acknowledg­e that I haven’t been around for her as much as I used to be, which she has hinted at, but I’ve been so busy, plus I know she’s not that into kids.

Things came to a head when she arranged a night away for us and a couple of other friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. Initially, I agreed to go, but then I forgot about it and had to let her down at the last minute. It was too complicate­d to arrange things at home due to my husband’s job and the fact my mum wasn’t around to help with the baby.

My friend basically let rip when she got back, calling me unreliable and a bad friend. She said she never thought I’d be one of those women who disappears once she has kids and dumps her single mates. She really went for it.

I was genuinely shocked and upset, and now we’re not talking. Any advice on what I should do about it?

I’m shocked and upset and now we aren’t talking at all

Coleen says

Well, it sounds to me as if she’s had these issues bubbling away under the surface and this night away has caused a monumental explosion.

I think she probably misses you and maybe you becoming a mum has triggered some things for her. Perhaps she’s not actually that happy being single and maybe she does actually want kids at some point.

Things have changed and your friendship needs to adapt, but she wants it to be the same as it was.

If you can sit down and talk, and admit where you both went wrong, then you can establish some firmer ground for your friendship. You can admit that you’ve been consumed with motherhood and haven’t reached out much. Hopefully she can admit that she said some hurtful things and hasn’t appreciate­d how busy your life is now.

You don’t realise until you have your own kids just how all-consuming parenthood is and one day she might have a family and feel really bad about what she said to you.

Equally, as a mum, you’re going to need those social times with friends to de-stress, so it’s worth making the effort to nurture your close friendship­s.

The last time houseplant­s were in fashion it was the 1970s, and we were being invaded by giant Triffid-like Swiss cheese plants. But instead of eating people, the Monstera deliciosa were wrapping themselves around hippies who hadn’t moved out of the lotus position since they saw the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park.

My mum grew one so large in our London flat it practicall­y blocked out the light and took root in the G-Plan furniture. She treated that plant better than her own children.

I remember her shining its vast leaves with Baby Bio milk, while I would come home from school, open the fridge and moan: “There’s no milk,” and she’d snap: “What did your last slave die of?”

Then I’d slink out to the corner shop, muttering: “Starvation, probably.”

At school, I remember crafting macrame holders for my mother’s collection of spider plants, which were so well looked after they had millions of babies.

In fact my mum was single-handedly responsibl­e for spawning a spider-plant colony on Earth with her cuttings.

It would be another 20 years before another houseplant revival in the 1990s, when I can’t tell you how many weeping figs I massacred. They would come through my front door and just give up the ghost within hours – I’ve had cups of tea last longer.

I was then given a good luck money plant from a neighbour when I moved out of London to Winchester in 2000, with care instructio­ns and the words: “These can grow to 12ft if you’re lucky,” ringing in my ears. In my hands, it was lucky to grow 12mm before I put it out of its misery.

However, millennial­s have made houseplant­s trendy again – along with beards and crushed avocado breakfasts, but hey, they can’t be right about everything.

So while we wait for the small shoots of snowdrops to peep through the cold, barren ground, and our gardens to spring into life again, we’re starting a new houseplant feature to take us through the dead months.

Obviously I get to go first today with my Angie the Areca, but I’d love to see your houseplant collection – from succulents to cacti, and tropical leafy jungles to potted exotic flowers, which would curl up and die if they caught so much as a whisper from our cold northern winds.

All plant life welcome…

Email me at siobhan.mcnally@mirror.co.uk or write to Community Corner, PO Box 791, Winchester SO23 3RP.

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