My Open Letter to New Moms

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations! You just had a baby. There are probably a lot of things on your mind right now like how you’re going to get your body back in shape, whether or not your maternity leave is really going to be long enough and how getting only 2 hours of sleep at a time could possibly be your new normal. Although your pregnancy may or may not have been rough & the delivery was undoubtedly painful, it was all worth it – your new little bundle of joy is here & it’s time to be the mother you’ve always wanted to be. You are a parent now & it is your duty to make your child your #1 priority.

But I need you to know that just because you have a kid doesn’t mean the world around you has stopped. People still have lives, business still needs to be handled and the earth will continue to revolve. I understand that you may be out of sorts for a while, your hormones are probably raging and you now have responsibilities that didn’t exist before. All of this is understandable but it’s no excuse for being a bad friend.

Recently I talked to a friend who just had a baby. This is her second child; her oldest is about 2 years old. I’m happy for her, because this is what she always wanted, but this is a friend that I’ve talked about before – as a new mother, she’s gotten quite boring. We were on the phone for about three minutes before I heard her 2 yr. old’s voice in the background. He was whining & begging for attention. Periodically she would respond back to him and then apologized to me for the interruptions. Our conversation only lasted about 15 minutes but we were disrupted about 17 times by her 2 year old. I was truly annoyed. We had not talked in over 2 months but I couldn’t even get 15 minutes of her undivided attention. Did she not realize how rude that was? Sure, her child wanted her attention but if she wasn’t able to talk freely without a 2 yr old tugging at her then why call me at that time? Why choose that moment to reach out to me knowing that you are already occupied? See, the thing I don’t get is why not call me after you put your kids to bed or when you get some alone time? What makes you think I want to share my private life with you if your kid is just going to interrupt every 2 minutes? When you allow your kid to constantly interrupt our conversation, you are in essence shutting me out. It makes me think that you’re not interested in my life because we can’t even talk for short periods of time before everything is about you or your kid. Besides, we really want to talk to you, not the counter you put the phone on when you place us hold while you wrangle your child. If you want to really talk to me (like we used to do) then pick a time when our conversation is the centerpiece, not your kid.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that your child comes first; I have no problem with that. But I don’t believe that becoming a mother should be the end of the world – or the end of your world. I just wish that new mothers understood this. You are going to need your friends to vent, to babysit for you or when you feel the need to just hang out. When all you do is talk about your baby, your “Mommy & me” sessions, teething, bottle cleaners or anything else baby-related it bores the heck of me. It’s not that I don’t want to hear how happy you are with your newfound ‘mommy’ title, it’s just that you seem to forget – I can’t relate.

Since I don’t have any children of my own, I don’t know the perils of being a new mom. Sometimes I wonder if I would feel any different if I had kids, you know, if I was a new mom myself. But I honestly don’t think that would make any difference. I can’t imagine missing out on the incredible friendships that I have built over the years, just because I have a baby on my hip. The world is so much larger than me & my newborn.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that over time friends are bound to grow apart, particularly with a life-changing event like having a baby. But that’s all the more reason to work harder to maintain the friendship on your end.

Now if you really are interested in keeping your friends (that are not new moms like you), there are a few things you can do. Here are some solutions to make sure that your non-mom friends don’t feel like you’ve completely forgotten about them:

  • Texting – Sending a quick text message seems to be the best way to keep in touch especially when you’re really tired. You can text while you’re breastfeeding, waiting on the laundry or even rocking your baby to sleep. Even though I’d prefer a phone call, it doesn’t take that much effort to touch base with me via text.
  • Conference call – It’s always great to talk to your girlfriends! When you’re stuck in the house all day with a new baby it can be a little overwhelming. But thanks to modern technology, we can connect over ConferenceCall.com, Facetime or even Skype. Setting up a time to talk to each other or see each other will allow us to reconnect. The best part is it won’t even cost you anything!
  • Girls get away – Let’s arrange a trip to hang out live & in-person at least 1/year. No baby talk, just grownup friends hanging out & having a good time. This way we can catch up without the distraction of your new baby. Yes, this will require some planning on your part but it’ll be worth the effort to rekindle our friendship.

I know this is a long letter especially since you have a baby that’s probably begging for your attention as you read this, but I really wanted you to know how I felt. Even though your life may have changed for the better, I really don’t want our friendship to change for the worse.

Signed, your friend forever (I hope),

Chocolate Vent

 

New Mom

4 thoughts on “My Open Letter to New Moms

  1. I understand your feelings, 18 months ago this was my feeling as well. I now have two children and they are my world. My responsibility. My body formed them. It’s very hard to understand, until your a mother, how life changing it truly is. This letter makes you sound hurt by your close friend’s lack of time for your friendship. Which, I can assure you, is probably more precious to her right now, than it is to you.
    When you get the title of ‘motherhood’, it isn’t a job you can just put on hold, ever. Although we wish we could at times, it’s not possible. Even the “girl friend” get always involve moms being attached to your phone incase of an emergency.
    Your friend has zero freedom. Nap time and alone time, is precious and extremely rare. So when your friend calls and your interrupted 17 times by her needy two year old, remember she is probably wanting that to stop more than you. It’s a life sucking job that NEVER ends. It’s a blessing and a total burden. You crave adult interaction because talking to a two year old all day about what objects are and what color it is, get very old.
    I am not saying you shouldn’t feel what you are feeling, but you can’t grasp the weight of motherhood until it happens (or the ball and chain that comes with it).
    Also when your friend’s child is rudely interrupting your conversation. Do you ask about her kids? Or what they are doing in their lives that are new? It’s easy to get annoyed by people talking about their kids. However, when I feel like someone doesn’t care about my life (which are now my kids) I tend to over share hoping they will start to care.
    Maybe start off remembering how much has changed in your friends life. Have a little bit of sympathy for the endless trails she’s enduring 24/7 with a two year old. As much as your hurting, maybe she’s hurting too. If you went 2 months without talking, you could of called her and ask how everything was going.
    She should make time for you. But at the moment it’s close to impossible for her to just focus on you, with a two yer old. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad friend, she just has to be a good mom. I have come to find out that once your a mom, it’s so hard to relate to people with no kids because they haven’t got there yet. So try hang in there, because once the kids are in school or you have children, you’re going I want her around.
    I’m sorry if this sounded like I was trying to make you feel bad. I was just sharing my experience because I’ve been on both sides. Neither of which is easy. Also, try telling your friend how you are feeling, (kindly). Maybe she will make more of an effort. Hope your friendship survives motherhood, good friend are hard to come by! 🙂

    1. Wow, I love your advice! Thanks for your honesty & for your response!

      My mother actually said something very similar – New moms need adult interaction more than anybody. I’m trying to be sympathetic but it’s hard for me to comprehend since I don’t have any children. The thing that made me really mad about that phone call is that her husband was sitting right next to her & she could’ve easily left the room for 10 minutes to talk to me while he watched their kids, but she didn’t.

      But I digress…. The friend that I referenced is a schoolteacher & has taken this entire school year off to tend to her 2 small children. The few times I have talked to her she really has nothing interesting to talk about other than diaper changes, baby food and sore nipples. In my eyes she’s become quite boring (and of course I could never tell her that). She does give me the courtesy of asking me about my life & what’s going on with me but then I feel like I’m dominating the conversation. I also feel like because she has less conversation to “contribute” per se, by default I’m the exciting one – her “entertainment” for the day. It’s like she’s excited to hear about my dates & other activities but if I’m telling her all of my business, what exciting conversation do I get in return?

      To be honest, I think the hardest thing for me to digest is that when we were both single & childfree we used to make fun of new moms together. We would say that we would never be like them when we have kids. We would never post 1,000 pictures on Facebook every time our baby blinks or NOT have a life outside of our kids but now she has become the very woman we used to make fun of.
      I know it may sound selfish but I’ve kind of “given up” on her. It’s just hard to keep a friendship going when you have so little in common anymore. I don’t want to lose a friend but I don’t want to be bored every time I talk to her either. (I did at least follow up with her to see if I could determine any signs of post-partum after both pregnancies)

      Since you’ve been on both sides of the fence, what do you think I should do? Surely, new moms must realize that they’re a little “boring” to those of us without children. It’s also so hard to discuss personal things with a close girlfriend when her kid is interrupting every 17 seconds (not literally, but it seems like it). Or when her baby starts crying & she has to cut the conversation short – that’s happened on more than 1 occasion & I was right in the middle of telling her something juicy! Aaugghh!

      1. Well maybe, if you don’t want to lose a friendship, just try to stay in her life. The ‘new’ mom phase will pass. However, being a mom will never pass.
        I am incredibly boring. My life use to consist of dating, work, and going out. Now I am married, which is really hard too! I stay at home with my babies. If I want to go anywhere they have to go with me. It can be depressing at times, especially if you had an awesome life before.
        I never understood the new mom thing, but something happens to you in the delivery room. I can’t explain it but your love for your child is so deep.
        If you value this friendship, hang in there until she starts to be less boring. She will want you around when the new mom phase goes away. It’s hard when they are little. They can suck the life out of you!! Haha! I hope it helps. It’s hard to be friends with people you can’t understand.

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