I think most of us, when we were pregnant with first babies, kind of expected our friendships to suffer. Mostly because it’s not that unusual to lose friends when you’re pregnant. Creating life takes a lot out of you – you simply may not be the life of the party anymore because your idea of fun can change dramatically when wine, sushi, soft cheeses, and staying up all night are off the table.
Enter the baby and getting together with non-mom friends... is even tougher.
What most of us don’t anticipate is that being friends with other moms can be equally hard even with all the mom friend apps and other ways for moms to connect – and then it only gets harder as babies turn into toddlers and toddlers turn into kids with dance classes and preschool and then school-school and sports.
We’re all moms so the theory is friendship is easier because we get it. And sometimes that’s all it takes, especially for local moms with kids who are at the same ages and stages. (Like my friend S. who walks with me when the weather, the year’s cold and flu strains, and our children’s moods allow it.)
But for a lot of moms there are all kinds of factors that make being a good mom friend kind of hard.
Like sleep deprivation. If you’re one of those lucky mamas whose kids started sleeping through the night right on schedule, go you. The rest of us will be over here in the corner rocking back and forth drinking high octane coffee and pinning each other’s eyelids up. How does sleep dep affect friendship? You forget things.
Like the time I forgot I had invited an entire family of four over for Sunday dinner until I received the mom’s text asking what she could bring an hour before they were scheduled to come over.
(Seriously, I literally thanked God for that text.)
Then there’s the economy. Working vs. SAHMhood is just one piece of the puzzle. When you’re the only one in your circle of friends who has to (or wants to) go back to work after maternity leave or even later, there’s a good chance your besties are going to forget you exist because they’re enjoying Tuesday morning Baby Boot Camp while you’re writing up TPS reports.
But even if you all seem to be in the same boat could be you’re not. Lunch out with the kiddos every Wednesday is fun for some, a major budget buster for others.
The little ones are another challenge to overcome. Same age and stage does not mean same naptime routine. Or the same tolerance for going to the coffee shop. A trip to the playground with a group might be relaxing for the mom with the independent kid for whom self play is natural and a nightmare for the mama with the shy kid or the needy kid or the kid who attracts bullies like flies.
Or hey, the mom whose kid is the bully and it’s driving her crazy because she just doesn’t know how to handle that. Sometimes two moms have two kids who stop getting along – can they still be friends?
And finally, there is life interrupted. And interrupted. And interrupted. How many times have I sat trying to have a convo with a mom friend only to have our chat broken up at least once a minute by little ones needing juice or a wipe or to tell us what so-and-so said last week at school or just because they saw two grownups talking and now we couldn’t have that. No, sir.
Is keeping mom friends impossible? Of course not, but it is harder than you might think, So if you have mom friends who’ve stuck with you through not only the joyful times but also the tough ones, send them a message telling them how much you appreciate them.
I bet you will make their day!