I’ve never been a person to have many friendships. My whole life I have sucked at the whole being a good friend and allowing myself to have friends thing. I’m just not a social person, and I don’t really like opening myself up to people. It’s not that I can’t. It’s just that I’ve had more bad experiences with doing so than good. I’m a rather unique person that can tend to be high maintenance and maybe sometimes too real. I don’t have a filter with my friends, and I’ll really be myself. Like really myself. Either people love me or hate me. I’ve found there’s really no in between. Regardless, I’m sure there are things that social or unsocial people can relate to when it comes to friendships and being a mom.
As a single person, life seems easy. Maybe not in the moment, but definitely in hind sight. If a friend calls me up to come over in the middle of the night for support, I’m in the car and halfway there before she asks. If a friend needs someone to go a to Browns game last minute, I’m there. Telephone calls could go for hours. Hanging out could go all night. No obligations. No responsibilities. Just you and your own decisions. Even when I got married, my friendships didn’t seem to change much. I did live further away, but my marital relationship never held me back from hanging out with my friends or having friendships of any kind.
And then I had kids. Kids throw a wrench in the engine of friendships… especially if you have friends that don’t have kids or don’t want kids. Kids are demanding. Kids have needs. And kids don’t give shit about your needs… because their needs come first.
Here 7 things people don’t tell you about how friendships change once you birth a baby… or 2:
- QUALITY TIME
My single friends don’t really understand it… and I catch slack for it often.. but I don’t have time for you. And quite frankly, I don’t want to MAKE time for you. I have a million things going on in my life at any given moment, and when I get an opportunity to breathe, I want that time for me. Just me. No one else. Time to just walk through a store and gaze at all the products without thinking about some else’s needs. Time to take a shower and shave my legs without worrying if one kid is strangling the other. Time to eat a meal in peace. I don’t have time for me most days, so I especially don’t have time for you, too. People get offended by that… and that’s ok… because when I get time for myself, time to breathe and recharge, I’m not such a bitch. And when I’m not a bitch, I’m a good friend.
- THE STRICT SCHEDULE
Kids thrive off of routine. It’s proven. There’s research on it somewhere I’m sure. My kids especially love routine. If we miss a meal, or a nap, holy hell it’s meltdown city. And my kids are typically very well behaved. But they don’t function without routine and consistency. So when my friend asks me to meet for lunch, it’s typical for them to be confused when I say I’m available between the hours of 9-11am and 3-4:30pm. That’s about it. Everything else in between is either a meal or sleep.. or prepping for a meal or sleep. Sometimes my friends may get really daring and ask me if I’d like to go to dinner… at 7pm… 7pm?? Are you fucking kidding me??
- BED TIME
When I was younger and single, I’d stay out until the bars closed. I’d stay up late watching season after season of The Walking Dead on Netflix. Or make late night trips to Kroger because I wanted to make a batch of brownies at 11pm. That all changed once I got pregnant with my first child. Pregnancy makes you exhausted. And not just like you need a little nap exhausted. Like you feel like you are dying and can barely hold your head up exhausted. So those 2am late nights turned into bedtime at 8pm. Sometimes 9pm if you’re feeling a little daring. And then the baby comes and those bedtime hours are not just a recommendation. They are essential to survival. Because you have a baby that gets up often in the middle of the night. If I decide to stay up until 11pm, I’m a fucking wreck the next day. And when I’m tired, I’m a fucking bitch. And no one wants a friend that’s a bitch.
- THE TELEPHONE
I love talking on the phone. Ask any one of my friends. I really do. Since I live an hour and a half away from most of my friends and family, it’s made me really love to talk on the phone. But talking on the phone with kids is impossible. If you’ve mastered it, I give you props. Serious props. In my world, there is typically a kid crying in the background… or asking for food… or wanting the phone to watch YouTube kids or the Mickey Mouse episode is over and they want a new one… or sissy hit the button on the remote… or sissy took my toy… or sissy wants to breastfeed… or Louie wants to do it all by herself and dump a bucket of piss on the floor. Phone calls are impossible. I can’t even tell you how many “professional” messages I’ve left where I’ve had a kid screaming bloody murder, a dog barking, or me saying, “No, no. Don’t do that. Walking feet. Biting isn’t nice. Be kind to your sister. I’m so sorry. My house is crazy right now.” Right now? Fuck. Who am I trying to kid? My house is always crazy. I have 2 sassy toddlers… just like their mama!
- FRIENDS VERSUS MOM FRIENDS
Since I moved to a place far away from the only home I’ve ever known, I’ve struggled even more making friends. I’ve lived here almost 4 years, and I can still say I only have 1 (maybe 2… or 3) close friends. Maybe even just friends at all. Not even close friends. It’s difficult enough for me to make friends, and then throw moving into a new town on top of it… makes it nearly impossible. And then I had kids. Yup… there’s that wrench in the engine I was telling you about. When I had kids, I decided I wanted them to try and be social. I didn’t want them to have the same struggles I had. I wanted to get them involved and meet new people. To teach them good social skills. But how do I do that when I don’t know anyone in my community? I joined Mom’s Club here in Southern Richland County. I started to go outside my shell and meet other moms in my neighborhood. I started taking my kids to story time. And swim lessons.. Mommy and Me music and nature programs… because those events are just crawling with moms… I participated… for my kid’s sake. But here’s the thing about friends that are moms…. some of them aren’t very friendly. In fact, some of them can drive you absolutely fucking insane. Some mom friends you have absolutely nothing in common with. Conversations are awkward and forced. And some of those mom friends you’d prefer to cuss out… or ignore… or tell them to discipline their asshole kid.. or even to just pay attention to their kid! But you don’t… You smile. And you’re polite. And you suck it up. Because your kids need friends and to learn healthy social skills. Besides, those same mom friends are likely judging you and saying the exact same thing… because that’s what mom friends do.
- PLAY DATES
Even though some mom friends suck, there is also that possibility that you find a diamond in the rough. So you keep trying… you try so that you can have these awesome things called PLAY DATES. I had hoped to meet new moms and have play dates… you know just like TV and movies.. where our kids are best friends and we drink wine together while watching bad reality TV. But here’s the thing about play dates and get togethers when you have kids.. it’s not the same. 90% of your time is spent making sure your kid isn’t a dick to the other little kids. Or that the other little kids aren’t dicks to your kids. Because lord knows I don’t want to be friends with a mom that has a dick for a kid. Play dates are nothing like TV and movies. Play dates are stressful.. and demanding.And last but not least….
- TYPICAL CONVERSATIONS
When you’re single (or maybe even just married), you are focused solely on yourself. Your goals. Your career. Your dreams. Your wants and needs. Conversations can be about anything. Politics, religion, the Bachelor, why it’s important to advocate for change, the new winery that just opened, the plans you have for the weekend… the list goes on. When you have kids, conversations change. You no longer have time to learn about what current events are happening. You don’t have time to make your own goals or focus on your dreams. Your conversations typically revolve around your kids. I went to a Cleveland Browns game this season. It was the first time I had really gotten out without my husband or kids. It was just me and a few friends. We decided to tailgate in the morning before walking over to the game. I was so excited to finally be “single” again. Well for the day anyway. To give it hell like the old days. And then the day came… and I was like what the fuck? I remember sitting there in that super uncomfortable folding chair thinking to myself I have no idea what these women are talking about. They were discussing the season and each of the players, current events, stuff I apparently had no idea about. In typical mom fashion, I throw in a good old statement about breastfeeding. And then the statement turns into a long discussion about the benefits of breastfeeding, how to latch, the struggles my daughter has, engorgement.. yes, I’m engorged right now. Do you want to feel my rock hard breasts?? Excuse me while I go to the bathroom and hand express. Or poop. Let’s talk about poop! Why is it that moms can discuss poop?? Anywhere. Anyway. Anytime. I sat in the middle of lunch the other days with my in laws and thought it’s be appropriate to talk about my children’s poop. I wanted to be sure she was properly disgusting her food so of course I needed to know what was the color and texture of her poop. Seriously.
Mel and Buddy – Cleveland Browns game 2015
See these 7 things change when you become a mom trying to have friends… but the positive thing in all of this is when you do find a good friend… those very rare friends… a good mom friend that gets you… it’s worth it. That friend will randomly check in on you during the times you need it the most. She’ll babysit your kids for love and cupcakes. She’ll be at every birthday party and special event. She’ll tell you when you’re being a bitch, and she’ll be there to give you a nap. She’ll be the one to tell your kid to stop being a dick. That friend will understand when you abruptly end phone calls. Or when you ignore her call in the middle of the night. In fact, that friend won’t even bother you outside of your regular routine schedule. That friend will understand when she comes over and your house looks like a bomb went off. That friend will preemptively tell you about your child’s poop and ask what engorgement feels like. Some of the best friends will even gladly hold a cup for you while you hand express your breastmilk into it. A good friend will be there at the front door to help you at doctor’s appointments because she knows you’re overwhelmed. A good friend will give you the time out that you need without asking for anything in return. The conversations won’t be awkward or forced… because after all, she’s in this friendship not just for you.. but for her. Because you bring just as much joy to her as she brings to you. So here’s to my very few good friends and mom friends… I appreciate you in my life more than you’ll ever know!
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party with a few friends.
Aunt Gigi and Aunt Momo
I have friends in my life that care about my children… and it makes it all worth it.