Since I’ve had my baby a lot of things have changed. Topping the list was one I didn’t expect. My friendships. Who I was closest to. Maintaining friendships became incredibly difficult after I had Juniper. Having a baby can be very isolating. Between the schedule of feeding and naps plus the early nights and no longer going out to the same kind of places often it can feel like you’re all alone. Add to that that many of your friends and family members who don’t have kids feel like they no longer have a place in your life. But that’s not true! Remaining connected to your friends and family members, especially female ones who don’t have kids can be vital. I’ve seen many friendships fade because you are just in too different of life places to continue it. Here is my suggestions to keep those connections open and growing.
1. JUST COME OVER. Likely any day time visit will work. They are stuck at home with a tiny human attached to their boob. And then you (kid free friend) can still go out with your friends who don’t have kids, or your significant other that evening. But your friend who is trapped at home all the time, is now not so lonely. Dinner is hell so schedule a midday hang! The schedule is hard, so if you are the new mom, make it understood to your non mom girlfriends that you WANT to see them. You don’t need a babysitter. One of the things I got a lot of friends saying when I was pregnant and when I had a newborn was “I can babysit!”. Well believe it or not it’s really hard to leave a baby when you are breastfeeding. Likely a brand new mom won’t even want to. It took me months before I would leave and it was during the day that I felt the most comfortable and that wasn’t likely going to be when my single girlfriends could help out, that was grandma territory. Plus I didn’t want to pass of my new baby! I wanted to have that time with my friend. The friends that got that, and just showed up to watch reality tv or a movie with me and bring me food were the ones I was able to stay connected with in early days. My favorite times were when my two good friends brought over Popeyes chicken, didn’t care that my boobs were leaking and watched Moana with me for the first time.
2. DON’T disregard the milestones. Yes it might not be a big deal to someone without kids that your baby isn’t eating every 2 hours anymore. But to a new mom THAT IS HUGE! That means you are sleeping more than 1.5 hours at a time. Maybe it’s that the baby is eating solids, or sits on their own or whatever. It sounds boring. But that shit is OUR LIFE right now. And we are as excited about that as you are about a new promotion at work. On the other side of that is if you’re the new mom, don’t forget to ask about your friends life! It’s still important to hear about what is new with them. Ask about work drama, ask about their relationship. Think about things outside of your bubble.
3. TEXT. Most moms barely have the ability to talk on the phone because they’ve got a baby crying or nursing or whatever. But they will text with you all day long. They will love the inside jokes and the selfies and being kept in touch with. Social media works and is great but a true one on one connection won’t feel like it truly exists if you don’t text.
4. INTERACT. With the baby that is! This may seem super obvious but that baby is your friends new world. And if you never talk to her, look at her or interact at all it’s gonna feel like you don’t really want it for your friend. That you resent that your friends life has changed. No, you don’t have to hold the baby if you’re scared of newborns, but as they get older if you don’t interact and try to form a relationship with that tiny person you will drift apart. Because that person is the most important person to your friend and they WILL choose them over you. Also gifts are always good ways to butter up either mom or baby. Teething toys are wonderful and always needed and will get that baby grabbing for you and playing. An auntie whether related by blood or not is an amazing thing that all kids and families need. We need that cool aunt who reminds our kids that we once were cool too. We need outside influences. The more the better. It takes a village ya know?
5. BE PATIENT. Just because that first year may have you drifting apart doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Once that baby is walking, doing only one or two naps a day and sleeps well at night, its time for a break from them! Especially if you’ve been able to stop breast feeding or just aren’t as often so you can have a drink. God I love the nights when my girlfriends want to go out. It isn’t often, probably only every other month or so but it’s a life saver. It reminds me of who I am without my kid. Yes I may talk about them a lot but ask me about other things! Talk to me about your boyfriend, your job, politics and music. Those are the things that still interest me as a person. Yes I had a baby but my (mom)brain still cares and thinks about other things, just a little slower sometimes. It has to wind down earlier because there is a possibility my kid may still wake up or will get up at sunrise. But some wine and tapas is still the way to my heart, just start at 7 pm ok? OR do a spa day. No one needs a spa day as much as a mom. Go for the morning to somewhere, I personally love the Korean spas they are usually affordable and nudity creates a special kinda bond because you had to really get comfortable with each other!
Since writing this blog I’ve gone on a show called Relatable to discuss deep connections between women after motherhood. Here is the LINK. I hope you enjoy it and I’ll be writing about my experiences when doing it and the amazing outpouring of support I received afterwards.