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),