You’re a Mom, But Don’t Stop Being a Friend
Dear friend and recent mom,
Every day you do a job that, at this point, I flatly refuse. You had me at “poop” and “diaper.” The crying, the baby bag, the inability to get a straight answer when you have to ask, “What’s wrong?” and they truly can’t verbalize it. So hats off to you, because your job really is the hardest on the face of the planet.
There comes a point in every woman’s life where there is a shift in the dynamic of their friendships when one of those friends becomes a mother and sometimes, that adjustment can be a bit brutal. Friends-turned-new-moms often forget that at some point not so long ago, you were like me: single and working. When someone squeezed your breasts, there was no projectile lactation happening and your nips may have been lathered in some lover’s saliva instead of scab cream. You had a name and it was not “Mom.”
I often watch my sister chase my 2-year old nephew around and marvel at the sheer energy and dedication it takes to raise an entire human without questioning on the hour every hour what the hell you are doing. It’s like your life has become some real life version of the Hunger Games and you’re trying to save Peeta–in this case, your child, from eating poisonous blueberries or burning down a forest and s***. You are the real MVP and not a day goes by where I don’t admire your tenacity to keep going. Your job may be the hardest, most rewarding, selfless act known to man, but understand, my s*** is not easy either. And although I may not have a tiny tater tot that I’m constantly trying to prevent from flouring my brand new flat screen, I still have a very full life that is laden with celebrations and landmines and I have no clue sometimes on how to do it alone.
Sometimes, I need you for that.
No longer being single and child-free does not mean you’ve outgrown me. We are on different planes, but not different planets. Lines that new parents casually throw around like, “You wouldn’t understand because you’re not a parent,” are just a tad bit condescending. It’s like, “Gee, thanks. I’m glad you’ve made me aware that my ability to sympathize stops short at my barren uterus.”
And as much as I can respect the fact that your life has changed in a way that I can only attempt to fathom, I can still be sympathetic to your needs and you have to reciprocate that. It’s not hard. The reason why it isn’t hard is because you were just there. You didn’t just casually forget three-fourths of adulthood. You were there with me for the excitement of that new job, new house, new boss that turned out to be a major bitch and when you needed to cry because it was the loneliest time of your life. And for every time I call you now and your conversations are filled with random outbursts of “Stop sticking the scissors in the effing socket,” I need you to realize that I am there for you through all of it.
As my friend, it is your duty to do the same. We both have battles. War is war no matter how big the battlefield may be and we’re all fighting to survive. If our friendship can’t survive childbirth, then I have to question the depth of our companionship. So to the new moms out there, please know your real friends–the ones that have rolled with you since day one, are trying to understand your new life. And although they may not share your diaper duties, they are still rocking with you through every hospital visit, temperature change, and crawl-to-walking venture that your little one may take. You have to rock with them on their daily duties just the same, no matter how trivial it may be to you at this time. If you can’t, just admit that maybe you were ready to move on in the first place. You didn’t outgrow them. You gave up the effort to grow with them.