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Mom Friends ?

Posted by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 2:57 PM
  • 35 Replies



Trying to Make Mom Friends Is the Worst

Trying to Make Mom Friends Is the Worst

Photo: Digital Vision./Getty Images

By Meaghan O’Connell

My baby was still a tiny bean, just an idea, when my friends started to worry about me. Forget health insurance, forget a bigger apartment, a better job: I was eight weeks pregnant and I needed some Mom Friends.  

“A girl in my yoga class is pregnant, you should meet her!”

“Oh, a friend of my old boss just had a baby, I’ll give you her email.”

“No pressure, but my friend Jamie has two kids. You should meet her and talk about having a kid in New York. She is great. You will love her.”

I’d say “Okay!” and try to be polite, but on the inside I’d be screaming. I feared that so much in my life was about to change forever. I didn’t want to spend those precious last not-yet-a-mom months hanging out with strangers. Why were they trying to pawn me off already?

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Anyway, I was sure that when the time came I’d make all kinds of laid-back, wise, tea-drinking friends naturally. We’d share a look at the playground and I’d compliment her tattoo or her harem pants and soon we’d be sipping tea at her kitchen counter (it’s always white subway tile, in my fantasy) and taking turns to console and compliment each other in equal measure. Our babies, of course, would be napping in the next room.

In reality, my baby is 6 months old and I have no mom friends. This is a problem that worries others on my behalf: I am supposed to have a little meet-up group of babies born in the same month and we’re supposed to pass around clothes and tips and nannies and Facebook likes. In practice, though, I’ve found myself a little too proud and a little too overwhelmed about everything else to make the overtures necessary for new friendship. Plus, I already have friends. Real friends, ones who get my jokes and have things in common with me besides lactating. Friends I don’t have enough time for as is.  

Related: See Touching Portraits of Moms With Their Kids

Of course, when the baby came, I longed to relate to someone about it and had no idea how to communicate what it was like to my real friends. Even if I could find the words, I definitely didn’t have the energy. My friends wanted to come by and hold the baby and hear about the miracle of motherhood and I wanted to cry and float on a cloud of Percocet, to take them by the shoulders, shake them, and urge them to save themselves. They brought food. They asked me how giving birth was, how being a mom was, how taking care of a newborn was. What else could they do? I just sat on the couch and told them things were “crazy.” They asked if I had mom friends yet, if any women from my childbirth class had also given birth. I shook my head, shrugged, looked the other way.

Soon after I was perusing diaper supplies at our neighborhood baby store when a woman from my prenatal yoga class called out to me. We smiled from behind the shock and fog of having a new baby. I looked at her own newborn in a stroller. He looked small and not cute.


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“It’s … harder than I thought,” she said.

“Yes,” I said. We stared into each other’s eyes, nodding, both in a daze.

“There’s a lot of crying,” she said.

“Yes!” I said, not knowing if she meant from us or our babies. Either way. Both.

“I don’t think I realized how much I would just be sitting on the couch.”

“Pinned to it.”

Yes.”

We exchanged more in shorthand than I could ever explain to my Real Friends. I was feeling so insecure and shell-shocked; it had been too hard for me to sit down and try to articulate how I was feeling to them, and I was unsure whether they even wanted to hear it.

Related: I Did Not Understand Spanx Until I Had a Baby

Then, later, I ran into a woman from my childbirth class at our neighborhood coffee shop. I had meant to email her but never did and was so happy to see her. It was like running into a crush at the mall.

“Are you going to story time at the library today?” she asked me. I told her I’d never been, that I saw the moms going in but I was intimidated. She laughed at me. “Is it okay for our babies, though?” I said. “Aren’t they too young? Do they get anything out of it?” Unfazed, she told me her daughter seemed to like it, that at least she didn’t cry. “It’s just nice to get out of the house, you know?” she said. “It’s something to do.”

“Yes,” I said, feeling known.

Related: What’s the Best Thing to Say to Your Pregnant Friend?

I went to the library story time and it was wonderful and awful in equal measure. I recognized some of the moms from other things, and the ones I didn’t sized me up immediately. Sheepish, I mouthed hi and pulled a chair up to the gaggle of women with babies my son’s age. I bounced my infant on my lap and wondered if I should really do the gestures for “The Wheels on the Bus.” Should I stomp his feet for “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” or should I stomp my own? I was not happy, and I did not know it. I blushed with shame, not wanting to jump up and shout hooray.

“Do we have to stand up?” I asked the mom sitting next to me. She shrugged and gave me a weird look. “You don’t have to do anything!” she said and she herself jumped up, tossing her baby into the air. I sat there like a bump on a log, trying to make a fake excited face at my kid, who was too busy being perceptually overloaded to notice me. This is hell, I thought. I felt like a teenager again, or a child in gym class. I felt new. All the women, the moms, had been coming to story time for weeks. They came in and scooted their chairs closer to each other. They talked about nap time and each other’s husbands and dinner parties they’d had with each other. They made me feel a little uncomfortable and a little threatened, and so, as I do with all such things, I promptly decided I hated them.

Related: How to Find Love, the Matchmaker Way

When I saw my real friends at dinner that night, I sat down and groaned, and told them how much like high school it was, like Mean Girls. On Wednesdays, we go to story time. We laughed and made fun of it all and I felt like myself again. A hater. Not a joiner. A little bit mean. I told them some of the baby names and described some of the onesies with goofy sayings and I drank my half-glass of wine I could get away with drinking while breast-feeding. I loved my friends: We had all graduated from college the same year, and while back then we were only acquaintances, we’d clung to each other in New York, thrown together into this new life stage, and — oh.

What about those moms they’d told me about? asked my friends. They mentioned the women they’d introduced me to over email, the messages I’d never replied to. I felt cornered and ashamed. I felt like a brat.

“Well, are any of them cool?” my friend asked me.

Related: Copying Other Cultures: A Questionable Parenting Strategy

Actually, I said, yes. Most of these women are cool individually. One woman at story time had these great sparkly shoes. Another is a midwife. One woman started her own company and is really funny. Another writes for the Times. Collectively, though, they are mothers. They park their goddamn strollers everywhere and they are alternately dressed like shit or way overdressed for someone who has nowhere to be at all. They’re either miserable or fake happy or smug. They’re lost, too, scrambling for affirmation that they’re doing things the right way, that their kid is going to be okay. Okay or a genius. They’re knee-jerk judgmental, compensating for their own lack of conviction, a little defensive, hiding their deep fear just below the surface. They’re tired. Their clothes don’t fit. They miss work, miss people, miss drinking. They have no idea what they’re doing and have spent way too much time reading about it on the internet. They are, I’m sorry to say, just like me.


Do you find this to be true for you?


teacher

by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 2:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Jinx-Troublex3
by Jinx on Jan. 20, 2015 at 3:55 PM
1 mom liked this

 I dunno.  1) That article wsa way too long for my fried brain to handle 2)I'm not a huge proponent of stereotypes.

Most of my friends I have met through activities my kids are in so we have a comon interest. Some dress up, some are happy in a tshirt n jeans, one or two ca nbe a bit under dressed. I am a tshirt n jeans gal. The majority were free scout shirts from events. To me, that's ok.

The important part is that we enjoy eachother. My besst friend, though I don't see her much has remained solid for me even through times when our kids hate eachother.  They have come to blows, we have almost parted, but we always come back to being besties.

I have another friend, who is kind of out there...always late, dresses like a hippie leftovver, VERY liberal to my ultra-conservative self... LMAO Our DD's are best friends and she is one of the sweetest people around. They struggle with money yet she would give the shirt off her back for you. I love her.

 

kirbymom
by Sonja on Jan. 20, 2015 at 4:16 PM

When you were a mother for the first time, was it easier for you or more difficult for you to make friends?

Quoting Jinx-Troublex3:

 I dunno.  1) That article wsa way too long for my fried brain to handle 2)I'm not a huge proponent of stereotypes.

Most of my friends I have met through activities my kids are in so we have a comon interest. Some dress up, some are happy in a tshirt n jeans, one or two ca nbe a bit under dressed. I am a tshirt n jeans gal. The majority were free scout shirts from events. To me, that's ok.

The important part is that we enjoy eachother. My besst friend, though I don't see her much has remained solid for me even through times when our kids hate eachother.  They have come to blows, we have almost parted, but we always come back to being besties.

I have another friend, who is kind of out there...always late, dresses like a hippie leftovver, VERY liberal to my ultra-conservative self... LMAO Our DD's are best friends and she is one of the sweetest people around. They struggle with money yet she would give the shirt off her back for you. I love her.

 


manders018
by Bronze Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 7:52 AM
1 mom liked this

My oldest is 8 and there are a lot of days I feel like this. I go the activities and don't end up talking to anyone because I am too shy. Makes even getting to know a little about people a challenge.

Molimomma
by Bronze Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 8:11 AM
1 mom liked this

The few people I call friends have been friends for years, before I had my son. I have not made a single friend since I had him and lost a few. We moved when he was just 2.5 and I never really tried to make new friends here. Yes, it's a little lonely but I have old friends who visit and stay in contact with all my friends via facebook anyway. I'm very lucky in that my very best friend (from the 8th grade on) is also now my SIL(I married her twin brother!) we will always be friends and even though we live several states apart we talk all the time and somebody visits somebody every few years and for us that has been enough. She's the woman I call when I can't barely even talk I can call her in tears and she can talk me off my ledge and make me feel better. Love her. Other than my mom she is without a doubt my best friend.

collinsmommy0
by Kim on Jan. 21, 2015 at 12:08 PM
I live in an area where people are constantly moving in & out (near San francisco). All my friends except 2 ditched me after I had kids (because I didn't want to go out to happy hour at 10 pm on Friday nights), and then most of my good 'mommy friends' have moved out of the area....of the 2 that haven't moved yet, 1 is thinking about moving :/

I'm hoping to start going to a bigger homeschool park play date group soon - it's all ages & I think some of the families are more likely to stick around because they have bigger kids (mine are 3.5 & 1.5), I'm thinking of starting to attend about 1-2 weeks a month & try to make some friends through that. (Now I do a preschool playgroup of 10 kids & most are moving or just moved here, most don't come to our weekly playgroup)
Jinx-Troublex3
by Jinx on Jan. 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM

 When I was first amom, I didn't have time for friends. DH and I werew both working and I didn't know anyone where we lived. I moved awa from al lmy firends and family.  I didn't worry about really needing friends until the kids got older and I was staying home and had time to go do things, wth and without kids.

Quoting kirbymom:

When you were a mother for the first time, was it easier for you or more difficult for you to make friends?

 

Jinx - Homeschooling, Scouting & Karate butt-kicking  Mom to Life Scout Ian 1/98, 1st Class Sean 9/00, Junior GS Heidi 4/03. Wife to Joe & Alpha to German Shepherd Spazz.

kirbymom
by Sonja on Jan. 21, 2015 at 3:53 PM

I know we haven't met in person but you don't strike me as a person who that much trouble making friends mom or otherwise.

Quoting Jinx-Troublex3:

 When I was first amom, I didn't have time for friends. DH and I werew both working and I didn't know anyone where we lived. I moved awa from al lmy firends and family.  I didn't worry about really needing friends until the kids got older and I was staying home and had time to go do things, wth and without kids.

Quoting kirbymom:

When you were a mother for the first time, was it easier for you or more difficult for you to make friends?

 


kirbymom
by Sonja on Jan. 21, 2015 at 3:57 PM

Do you have trouble making mom friends?

Quoting collinsmommy0: I live in an area where people are constantly moving in & out (near San francisco). All my friends except 2 ditched me after I had kids (because I didn't want to go out to happy hour at 10 pm on Friday nights), and then most of my good 'mommy friends' have moved out of the area....of the 2 that haven't moved yet, 1 is thinking about moving :/ I'm hoping to start going to a bigger homeschool park play date group soon - it's all ages & I think some of the families are more likely to stick around because they have bigger kids (mine are 3.5 & 1.5), I'm thinking of starting to attend about 1-2 weeks a month & try to make some friends through that. (Now I do a preschool playgroup of 10 kids & most are moving or just moved here, most don't come to our weekly playgroup)


kirbymom
by Sonja on Jan. 21, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Did you have trouble making mom friends when you became a mom?

Quoting Molimomma:

The few people I call friends have been friends for years, before I had my son. I have not made a single friend since I had him and lost a few. We moved when he was just 2.5 and I never really tried to make new friends here. Yes, it's a little lonely but I have old friends who visit and stay in contact with all my friends via facebook anyway. I'm very lucky in that my very best friend (from the 8th grade on) is also now my SIL(I married her twin brother!) we will always be friends and even though we live several states apart we talk all the time and somebody visits somebody every few years and for us that has been enough. She's the woman I call when I can't barely even talk I can call her in tears and she can talk me off my ledge and make me feel better. Love her. Other than my mom she is without a doubt my best friend.


No_Difference
by Silver Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Lesse...when I first became a mom, it wast he summer after my jr yr in highschool. A huge number of my friends shunned me, and even more did when I got engaged to my now hubby.  This would not be the first time in my life I was down to having literally only 2 friends... My sr. yr was a joke anyway, I was there for half a day and graduated at semester (I only needed a 1/4 of an english credit...stupid drivers ed lol).  The next year, I went to a community college, and some of the people I knew but weren't friends with became good friends...for that year. During that year, Adam joined the army and left for basic training...that summer was really the last summer with "friends" I've ever had.  When he came back from training, we moved across the county, and he promptly deployed. 
We did story time at the library...but I never made friends there. I simply went to have something to do and keep my mind busy. I was easily the youngest "adult" there...and most of the moms there shunned me too. It didn't stop us from which ever state we were in from doing story time. It was the only constant thing that Jamie and I did for those 18 months. (and yet the kid still hates books :/)  After Adam came back, I was introduced to friends he made from his unit...but they were either just married couples, or still single...no kids, and wanted nothing to do with kids. So while they all hung out, I stayed back with Jamie.
When we moved to GA, I gave up story time. Adam and I were having troubles we were working through (especially with his then undiagnosed PTSD). Then I found out I was pregnant with Riley. Fortunatly we had a very very sweet neighbor that kind of adopted us, and her daughter had a son (they were all living together, and her daughter was enlisted in the airforce). But it wasn't like a close friend relationship. That was when the few friends back at home started having kids, and started calling more often too.  We moved to MD 3 weeks after Riley was born and then just trying to find a routine started in again. We had a playground behind our house and it turned out that one of the neighbors had kids pretty much the same as mine. We did a few things together, but we never became close friends....more like FB friends (even though we were neighbors...). 
When we moved to where we are now it was almost a year before we started meeting people with kids...and it wasn't until literally LAST YEAR that Adam and I actually started making friends!! Sadly, most of our friends are parents of Jame's friends....or because of her activites lol. One family Adam made close friends wtih while he was still enlisted, and their only one is 2.  

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