Can friendships suffer when you become a mom? Absolutely. In some ways, it’s inevitable. You can lose friends during pregnancy – you simply may not be the life of the party anymore because your idea of fun changes dramatically when wine, sushi, soft cheeses, and staying up all night are off the table. And when your newborn finally enters the world you will probably be too exhausted to keep up with your friends who don’t have kids.
But some new mothers are surprised to find that being friends with other moms can be equally hard. Babies turning into toddlers and then into kids doesn’t make it any easier to keep in touch with mom friends thanks to the chaos that is swim lessons and dance classes and preschool and kindergarten. Add after school activities and it can feel like you spend most of your time in the car!
We’re all moms, of course, so in theory we should be understanding when it’s hard to connect with our besties. And mostly that’s how it pans out. When you’re friends with local moms with kids who are at the same ages and stages as your own, you can at least take comfort in the fact that you’re all facing the same challenges when it comes to scheduling or worse, overscheduling.
Too bad extra-curriculars aren’t the only things that make socializing a challenge for moms. There are all kinds of factors that make being a good mom friend kind of hard!
Like sleep deprivation. How does sleep dep affect friendship? You forget things. I once forgot I had invited a family of four over for dinner until my mom friend sent me a text asking if she could bring anything an hour before they were supposed to come over.
Then there’s money and work. Career mom vs. SAHM is just one piece of the puzzle. When you’re the only one in your circle of friends who has to (or wants to) go back to work after maternity leave, it can be hard to connect because your friends are enjoying Baby Boot Camp while you’re writing up budget reports. But even if you seem to be on the same page, it could be you’re not. Lunch out with the kiddos is fun for some, a budget buster for others.
Your little ones themselves are another challenge to friendship. Same age and stage does not mean same naptime routine. Or the same tolerance for going to a sit down restaurant. A trip to the playground with a group might be relaxing for the mom with the independent kid and a nightmare for the mama with the shy one. Sometimes mom friends have two kids who stop getting along – can they still be friends?
And finally, there is what I call life interrupted. And interrupted. And interrupted. How many times have I tried to have a really deep juicy chat with a mom friend only to have our convo broken up at least once a minute by little ones needing a snack or a wipe or to tell us what so-and-so said last week or just because they saw two grownups talking?
Is keeping mom friends impossible? Of course not, but it’s important to remember that after you meet moms you need to do what you can to keep that connection strong. So if you have mom friends who’ve stuck with you through not only the joyful times but also the tough ones, send them a message telling them how much you appreciate them.