I’m a first-time mom to a wonderful baby boy and wife to an amazing husband. I have tattoos, gauged ears, a potty mouth, and passion for wine and blogging at Love, Life, Laugh, Motherhood, when I’m not binge watching Netflix.
There are a lot of moments and events in one’s life that will not only change you, but those around you. It’s the natural evolution of a person’s journey through life. And from a young age, we learn that the best way to deal with these changes is to go through them with your friends. But what happens when certain events, like pregnancy, change your friendships? It might not happen to everyone, but it happened to me.
About half of my friends were already having kids at around 18 or 19 (if not earlier). I was there for births, christenings, and attended birthday parties. I did family outings, helped with errands and wrangled kids for grocery store trips. Even chose Disney stay-in movie marathons over bar-hopping girl’s nights. But I also kept my single lifestyle separate, out of respect. I wasn’t bummed if my mom-friends couldn’t hang out on a Friday night-that was expected (Hello, single friends)!
As we all got older, I often got those, “So, when are you having kids?” questions that the childless often get. I just figured it came with the territory – I can’t blame them for trying to recruit me to the tribe. Admittedly, I did love my freedom (to a point). Then the inevitable happened.
When I became pregnant at 26, my mom-friends were probably more excited than I. They showered me with congratulatory cheers, chants of “Gooble-gobble! One of us!” and support for whatever the outcome. At first, anyway…
Throughout the next nine months, the same friends I supported and helped became more distant, except for the few times I got an invite to drive for one’s birthday or babysit anywhere from 2-7 children, so the others could go party. I wasn’t too keen on being the DD, because navigating through a water-soaked dance floor to sit at a table in the corner by myself all night wasn’t at all fun (shocker). And the two kids were ok to deal with-but throwing a pregnant FTM to the wolves of SEVEN children was a bit much, probably for anyone’s nerves. Maybe it’s a crash course…good preparation…
Not one came to delivery – which isn’t a terrible thing. I already had all my family there, so it would have been too crowded. But no one really checked on us or asked if we needed anything. After the first month, I would occasionally get those invites to coffee or shopping trips, and were always told, “Bring the baby! We know how it is to go places with a baby, we can help!” But each time I ended up trailing far behind the group with a fussy, tiny infant, struggling with the diaper bag, struggling with nursing at restaurants, still sort of being left out and by myself most of the time (only this time with a baby). When birthdays and girl’s nights came up, I never went-because I had a baby at home to nurse.
A few weeks ago, while attending a “sales party”, one of my mom-friends made a comment that I’ll never forget, which clarified the entire experience for me. When the conversation moved around to how long the friend in particular and I had known each other, the statement eventually led to…”Yeah, when we were all having kids, Jasmine was out partying, haha.” I instinctively laughed and added, “Yeah, and now I’m the one at home with a kid, and ya’ll go out and party!” And that’s when it hit me.
Each mother is forever at a different stage in their journey with their children. If, like me, you didn’t have your children at the same time as your friends, things aren’t going to be the same as they were before – Even if, like me, you stayed tight with them and didn’t let their children affect your friendship. When it comes time to do things, their kids are older, while yours are younger – and it’s not going to be comparable. You aren’t going to be able to do stuff together as much, or even as you once did before. Because if their kids are older, as my friends’ were, while they are able to schedule babysitters and confidently leave the 8-12 year olds at home – you have an infant, and probably don’t want to go to overcrowded clubs and smoky bars. They may have forgotten what it was like to wrangle diapers and strollers through a busy mall, or nurse a fussy baby in a busy restaurant. Their babies were years ago! And yours is still new.
And as for my childless friends? Forget it – they don’t have kids, and don’t want to be bothered with snot-nosed, crying, diaper pooping, little rugrats that aren’t theirs. I can’t blame them! They haven’t started their parenting journey, and I’m not going to force them to participate when they don’t want to.
Maybe I’m bitter. Maybe I need new friends (ones with kids the same exact age…makes for easier playdates). It is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s something I’ve learned. Your friendships may not survive certain life changing events, like having a family. And it’s ok – it’s part of growing up.
Now the flip side of this coin – take my husband (please! No, not really, I need him to move heavy things…). His best friends were made Godfathers and honorary Uncles to our son, and they absolutely love him. They sometimes come to our house not to visit with us, but to visit him!
No, not all of my friendships have kinda cooled off following the birth of my son – he has some honorary Godmothers and Aunts too – but it’s just one of those things. Not everyone in your life is going to stick around throughout your life. Even some of your best friends with children of their own, aren’t going to be able to relate the same way. Just be prepared for it-it’s just another one of those life changing things that we all go through.