When You're a Mom – and Your Friends Aren't

Suddenly I didn't seem close to my buddies anymore.
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When You’re a Mom – and Your Friends Aren’t

Suddenly I didn’t seem close to my buddies anymore.

-Shana Aborn

A mother holding her child

Once there was a time when I had no children – and neither did many of my friends. Our lunch dates and nights out were planned around our work schedules rather than a breastfeeding regimen. We talked about boyfriends and husbands, the movies we’d seen, outrageous coworkers, anything but diapers and Sesame Street.

I was also involved in community theater. At cast parties with my fellow non-mom actresses and backstage techies, we’d stay well past midnight. Why not? We didn’t have to get up early to pour a bowl of Rice Krispies.

All that changed when I had my first baby. Instantly, I became Shana-the-Mom, leaping in one bound to the other side of the chasm that separates the parent from the non-parent. And I soon found out that the chasm was really, really wide.

Talk all you want about the conflict between at-home and working moms, but at least they have one thing in common. No matter how a mother spends her day, she still knows what it’s like to feed a 2-month-old before dawn, fidget in a pediatrician’s waiting room, search for a missing toy or gush over a crayoned masterpiece.

Once you step to the mom side of the chasm, your priorities, schedules and identity center on your children – and that’s an experience that women without children can never fully understand. They can sympathize, but they’re always standing on the other side.

I didn’t realize that when I had my son – but then, I didn’t realize much of anything at the time. Exhausted and hormonal in those early months, I wondered if I’d ever get the hang of this baby thing. I craved friendship and support, but being with my non-mom friends didn’t seem quite enough anymore. They were wonderful about sending gifts and checking in, but our conversations weren’t what they used to be. I edited myself, not wanting to bore them with baby talk or say something dismissive like, “Oh, you’ll understand when you have kids.”

Read Postcards from Mommywood: Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

When I went to lunches with friends who didn’t have kids or took a temp gig in an office with single coworkers, how could I tell them that I wasn’t enjoying my sandwich because my stomach was roiling with separation anxiety? That I was so incompetent at diapering that the baby was soaking through his onesies three times in an hour? That trying to entertain a 5-month-old can be just plain boring?

I didn’t have the heart or the energy to go to community-theater auditions, so the shows went on without me. New members joined the group. Going to performances was like visiting high school after graduation and listening to the undergrads talk about proms and classes that weren’t part of my life anymore.


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0 thoughts on “When You're a Mom – and Your Friends Aren't

  1. surfcity says:

    I know the feeling…. I have a friend whose daughter is 17 and leaving soon for college. I never see her anymore because she has so much free time..

  2. MarylandMom5 says:

    Can totally relate, my two best friends are single and childless and I often find myself “editing” my comments around them. I try not to talk too much about my son, although sometimes it’s tempting to tell both of them, “you don’t have kids, so you don’t understand.” I had that comment thrown into my face so many times when I was single, so I’ve vowed not to be a “smug mummy,” but it’s true. Unless you’ve entered mommyland, you don’t know what it’s like to be there.

  3. KimPressive says:

    I guess your friends know how you really feel now, huh.

  4. kandace2010 says:

    what about us single girls with all the ‘mom friends’ it seems everyone is either getting married or having babies and i’m left behind. nothing in common with the playdates and trips to the zoo they all share together. so i’m left to try and make new friends who share the same interests and can go out and enjoy the single life, which leads me to hanging out with a slightly younger crowd. it’s hard. and im only about to be 24 years old..i live in a small town and that’s what everyone does..has babies and husbands before 25..now i have a complex about being an ‘old’ mom someday! i can’t run over to my best friend’s house when i need a shoulder, because she’s busy with snack-time-bath-time-bed-time..so it’s hard on both sides of the line. the one’s moving on with a new chapter in their lives and the ones left behind …

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