How motherhood changes friendships
When you are little you have plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Your in classrooms filled with kids. You all have the same goal in mind. PLAY!
As you get older, life starts to shift. Our goals change. Our lives change and most of the time we aren't surrounded by tons of people.
For me, I wasn't just gently merged into motherhood and it's sometimes occurring isolation. I was submerged with it all at once. It was like I was out on the the water with no wave in sight, to instantly being pulled under and stuck within the swell.
At 21, most of my friends were out and about socializing with no thought of babies in sight just yet. Late nights, school days, who was their latest crush and careers ahead were their lives. And that is totally great. In fact, it was my life as well. But once nausea kicks in and the tiredness from growing a HUMAN, 9 pm dinners are not a thing anymore. Late nights are not a thing anymore. And with a flick of a switch upon being told your going to be a "mom", all of a sudden your priorities change.
Once crowned the title "MOM", things just change. And if our friends aren't having babies yet, it's sometimes hard for them to relate. I mean I don't even remember what I talked about with my friends pre children. Now my conversations surround the topic of potty training, handling temper tantrums, how to find a good baby sitter etc. The truth is sometimes our friendships didn't run as deep as we thought they did for them to stick around through our transition into motherhood.
Now good friends are far and few between. Sure we have a ton of Facebook friends and we love keeping in touch, but as mommas we look for more than just a good time. Our guidelines for a good friend have evolved. Do we share similar child rearing values? Can our husbands be friends? Will she leave her house? Am I willing to leave mine? Can she sympathize with my need to verbal vomit all over her every time we get together because we've had no adult interaction yet that day.
As mothers we find a few things to be true.
1. We value quality over quantity.. We don't need our girl group to run 20 deep anymore. At least the majority of us don't. We just need a few solid girlfriends we can rely on when we have a melt down. Who can come over and not judge the snot marks on our shirts, the fact that we haven't changed clothes in two sleeps and the dry shampoo that is clearly not so dry anymore. And never mind the house is a wreck.
2. We are scared to reach out. We assume because of good ole social media that everyone else is doing fine and it's just us. We assume everyone else has a tribe so we don't reach out to see if they'd like to hang out. And we are also afraid of rejection. What if she says no or she thinks I'm weird.
3. We don't have the time to search for friends. Mom friending often feels like speed dating. You see a prospective mom friend nearby, you've checked her style, you've watched her interaction with her kid...it's time to pounce. You quickly find a way to strategically migrate towards her and now you have to come up with a conversation. You ask her about the sippy cup her kid uses because you've had a hard time finding one your kid will take. But then your oldest starts fighting with his sibling. Off you go to referee. You run back. You try to ask something slightly more personal. But then now you daughter has snot hanging from her nose. Off you go. You come back you get out one last question but it wasn't enough to make a move to get her humber and it's time for them to go home. Nap time. Another one bites the dust.
I've just come upon the realization that I am constantly encouraging my daughter to make new friends when we go to the park. "Go up to her and ask her to play", I say. Despite my own need for friendship I hang back and scroll on my phone.
Friendship as a mother is less of an even balance of being pursued and pursuing others. In order to make and keep relationships as a mother initially it's going to take a whole lot of pursuit from us and less being pursued. Here's a challenge I give to you this week. Text ONE friend that you've been desiring to reconnect with or just connect with in general and plan a play date or a mom date. And see where it goes!