Motherhood is the greatest test of any friendship. Before I had children I knew only a few people with kids. Most of them I heard from occasionally but visited with very rarely. Then I had my first baby. Everything changed.
My singleton best friends were supportive when they heard I was pregnant. They attended my impromptu Vegas wedding when I was 5 months pregnant. They came to my baby shower at the beach a few months later. Then the baby came and they mostly disappeared. Sure, they came to see the baby… but that was it.
Or maybe the truth is that I mostly disappeared – into a world of diapers, pumping breastmilk, countless doctor visits, and an inability to think beyond the next opportunity to take a nap. I remember my singleton friends inviting me out for late night drinks like we used to do – and I remember having to turn them down. The baby can’t be away from mommy that long. Mommy can’t drink much anyway because of the whole breastmilk thing. Mommy had a lot of reasons why she couldn’t come out anymore. I’m sure I was a let down to my singleton friends – and so they gave up and moved on.
Recently, however, I shared one of my OMB blog posts on Facebook and a singleton friend popped up and made a comment asking me to write a post on how a singleton can find ways to hang out with her mommy friends. She said she just doesn’t have any idea how to make that happen.
What a relief. It isn’t just me. This happens to all moms. We become moms and despite our best intentions, we stop becoming good friends… or least socially available friends.
Here’s what I have to say to that – and to my friend who asked. Yes, it’s hard to plan things with mommies. Our whole world revolves around the kids. My mornings are focused on getting them dressed and fed and off to school on time. After that I have errands to run and chores to do. Then they get out of school (at 2pm! only a handful of hours after they left!) and I have to play chauffeur, picking them up, feeding them snacks, overseeing homework, shuttling them to practice or other events, making and feeding them dinner, bathing them, reading them a bedtime story and then, only then, do I get a moment to myself. When that moment comes, I’m so exhausted that I can’t imagine rallying to go out on the town with friends. The last place I want to be is in a noisy bar or crowded public space. Honestly, I just want to be left alone. To watch some bad mommy TV and lull my brain into sleep… because I have to do it all over again tomorrow.
So what’s my advice to singleton friends who want to spend time with their mommy friends? Well, first of all, be flexible. Our days of popping out for a bite or a drink are pretty much over, at least for now. If I’m going to have a mommy’s night out, I need to plan it in advance – and even then there’s a risk of it falling through. If one of my kids gets a nasty fever, it’s always Mommy they call for. If the babysitter flakes, I’ll have to flake too. And, yes, Daddy can watch the kids but that requires as much advance notice as a babysitter.
My big advice? Offer to spend time with your Mommy friend while she manages the kids. I’d love to have a friend join me at my son’s baseball games. We could talk the whole time, cheer him on when he’s up to bat, and then maybe go for a bite and drink after, either at a restaurant or at my place. We could also take the kids to the zoo or a theme park or a neighborhood playground or pool. It’s much, much easier for me to plan an outing that includes the kids. If you can tolerate my little ones, we can have a whole bundle of time together to catch-up and keep our friendship connected. Another option? I’d love to have a singleton friend just come over and hang with me while I do my evening routine. Yes, I have a lot to do to get the kids settled for bed, but it’d be awesome to have company while doing it. Then it’d be even more awesome to collapse together on the sofa when their in bed and share a bottle of wine and an episode of my favorite bad mommy TV show.
The bottle line is, friendships can survive motherhood but they will absolutely change. Once I became a mom I had to switch from being your main wing-woman to being my kids primary caregiver. Believe me, I miss the old days too. When I’m wiping a bum or giving my 200th bath of the year, I’d do anything to be at our favorite Mexican place landing free tequila shots with you instead. Don’t worry though. Eventually they’re grow up and probably need me less. Then we can catch-up on all those tequila shots we missed… even if they aren’t free anymore.