Mummy stuff

Friendship in the age of motherhood

Top three of the things I miss since becoming a mother: a decent lie-in, my old boobs and my old friends. The lie-in should be easily achieved; the boobs could be done and dealt with if I really wanted to (blog post in itself), but friends… Something has changed since I became a mum.

Becoming a mother has brought me closer to those of my friends who had children before me. Our get-togethers are rare and precious. Other (childless) friendships have survived the change in perspective without further losses. But unfortunately, I have a few casualties to announce.

I have read about it, other mums told me about it, but still, it’s been one of the things I didn’t want to accept until it happened to me: The loss of friends through motherhood. Let’s call them friends A, B and C.

Friend A has developed a habit of inviting me to events that I found difficult to attend. Especially during the first few months after my child’s entering into this world: dinners that only started at 9pm, a night out in a club, lunch during little L’s naptime. Admittedly, I have turned down most of it. I wanted to meet A at weekends, but because ‘she never has time for herself’ that never happened. Funnily though, we did meet regularly at weekends before little L came along.

Friend B was always happy to meet me if I would be the one wrapping up the baby and taking it on the schlep from N1 to Southwest London. Of course, I couldn’t expect her to make the way to our place in return. Because where I live is ‘so far away’.

Finally, friend C took to speaking to me as if my brain had been replaced with mushy peas and as if my world was the one of baby wipes and… baby wipes only. I had – unsuccessfully – tried to convince her that inside, I still was the same person I had always been. Ok, maybe I wasn’t living on the same cloud anymore and my feet had taken to treading much more earthly grounds. But still, I knew how it felt to float along, circling around myself…

Getting older, I find it increasingly hard to make new friends. Not only is the baggage of quirks and little neuroses that everybody comes with more obvious than when we were kids. We are also much less ready to overlook each other’s flaws than when we were sitting in the sandpit. Also, it seems to be getting more and more complicated to find time to invest in friendships. Kids, husbands, work, the humble self – there is always something.

Being scattered across the globe doesn’t help either. Stockholm, Hong Kong, Munich, New York, Switzerland… Sounds fancy, right? Well, to be honest, it really sucks when all you want to do is pop in for a cup of tea and a chat.

A part of me is looking forward to the day that A, B and maybe even C will wake up to the sound of a great thump. The day when their children will say ‘hello’ to the world and push them from their tiny, fluffy cloud.

Another part of me is just sad and has to befriend the idea that maybe, I have been terribly boring all the time, and having a baby just offered a welcome excuse to cut the ties with me. Who knows?

28 Comments

  1. Know this feeling, coming to accept that many things in life have their expiry dates.

  2. It’s really hard. I think we just have to adjust our expectations as we get older – as you say. Making friends is going to take longer, and be harder work than it used to be.

    Sorry about A B and C. (I’m guessing they don’t read your blog.)

  3. i was quite lucky in that most of my friends had babies around the same time. Those that didn’t still keep in touch, although probably less so. And the good news is that once your children start preschool and then school, you can start to make a whole new set of friends….mothers of your kids’ friends.

  4. I dread this happening, but know that it is inevitable that some friends are going to be lost along the way. Its fine when you are all moving at the same speed, but when you all branch off on to different paths, it can seem impossible to accommodate everyone’s needs.

  5. I agree with hum drum. Good riddance. What kind of friends are they if they can only meet with you on their terms. Though I understand, it is hard to make friends. You will make new ones. It just takes time. Before you know it your little one will enter preschool and you will meet other moms that way. Play groups are an excellant way to meet other people. You could start one.

  6. Julia says

    Hmmmm… Being one of the few who doesn’t have kids at 35, I have fought quite alot for NOT losing my girls that turned into moms one after one. Not always successful, may I add. I have become very uninteresting with my normal worklife to many newly baked moms who just discovered the magic of life. Not one conversation was possible that wasn’t about feeding and sleeping and I have even heard ‘I just can’t be with people who don’t have kids’.
    I think the challenge is to stick together through big changes. And rearrange the big chunk of love.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention Friendship in the age of motherhood – Metropolitan Mum -- Topsy.com

  8. Definitely living in so many different countries these days makes keeping up old friendships difficult for me. And yes, you know the kind of person you like to be friends with as you get older, so making new friends gets more difficult. Living overseas you can often get caught in the expat group and they aren’t always the people you’d pick to hang out with if you were back home. Enjoy the great friends that are there for you, and you for them too – kids or no kids.

  9. I am pretty lazy and don’t really maintain friendships in other countries. Luckily I am good at making new friends – will go up to anyone and start a conversation. My favourite friends are those who you can just pop round to their house for tea and a chat to – can’t stand always arranging ‘playdates’

  10. I lost a good friend once a few months after I had my daughter. She didn’t have any children and questioned why on earth I didn’t go out to work at night since I ‘did absolutely nothing during the day’. She has since become a mum herself but sadly we live too far away from each other now. I expect she sees motherhood differently now.

  11. This happens to all us mothers, and I definitely envy those friends who seem to pop out children all at once and have so much to talk about. I admit to a few losses, and I hate admitting that my schedule isn’t as ideal to dancing and late-night lounging as theirs, although as the little one gets older, I find it getting easier to “re-enter” the old friendship world. If only I could stop talking about my kid. And moving doesn’t help either! I’ve been all over these past few years as well.

  12. love reading your blog, you are so honest. Friendships definitely change when you have kids, I think you find out which ‘childless’ friends you really want to keep as its so not as easy to maintain these relationships.

  13. awww am I your friend in Switzerland??? haha just kidding 🙂 Sorry you are dealing with this though. I guess I’m not a mom so I haven’t gone through with this, but, I have seen my friends who have become mothers get more distant, which is sad. And then, part of me is jealous, someone took them away from me! Maybe that’s what your friends are experiencing? Maybe when they have kids, all will be well and better understood.

  14. Oh that sounds too familiar to me! Some of my best friends live in London, New Zealand, Scotland, etc and just yesterday I was invited to another party an hour’s drive away, at nine at night. By a person who knows that my youngest is just three months old and I’m still breastfeeding. I suppose it’s nice to be asked, but I’m hardly going to be dancing the night away.

    Very insightful and true post. Sadly.

  15. I’m afraid this seems to be a very tricky area that women seem to struggle with and I’m not sure why- and it’s something I have really thought about.

    Rest assured you are very fun and anyone would be very lucky to have you as a friend!

    As to why they behave as they do I’m afraid to say that jealousy may be a factor. They might not be jealous of little L as such or even of you personally but of people finding happiness and contentment- or they are unhappy in their lives and are blaming you for being happy. I’m not sure. I don’t know them so it’s very hard to say but I know it’s horrible- especially when little L is always changing and I’m sure you’d like your friends to be part of that.

    I have a good friend who had a child a little while ago and I didn’t hear from her for six months- this was someone I spoke to every day before that and it was quite strange and hurtful. I tried to be in touch, I sent texts emails and cards- I didn’t phone all that much because the only time I’m free to call is when her partner is home and the baby was asleep and that seemed a bit silly. Perhaps I should have called more- anyway it’s hard to adjust definitely. We’re back on track now I think but it’s strange.

  16. I could have written this post, in fact, if my hands weren’t so tied down in the evenings, I would have. Well, of course, my own experience of the casualties and the difficulties of making new friends.
    On the plus, my daughter tells me she’s my best friend, that counts for something, doesn’t it?!

  17. I think its not just motherhood that does this – I found a whole lot of friends fell by the way when I was working crazy hours

    Another lot didn’t really know how to deal with my bedrest and seemed to think that me cancelling was a reflection on them rather than an actual need to stay in bed all the time!

    The good friends are the ones that survive all these things – the rest, well an occaisional spring clean has to be healthy

  18. I can so relate to this! However, three years ago we moved to a bigger house in a village in the outskirts of Madrid (the so far away you mention). The good thing is that a lot of people who like me had small kids and wanted to raise them in a quieter place also moved in around the same time. We all met at the local park and became good friends. As my family lives in Canada and in other parts of Spain I have found their support amazing (I call them my village family). Being a mum really changes your life, for me more so than getting married, changing jobs or moving to another city, country, continent. XXX

  19. Great post and something I can relate to. I found the ‘real’ friendships survived when I had my baby. A lot of my male friends funnily enough fell by the wayside though-they just couldn’t get the new me-now a mother. Funnily enough you crave that normality and need your friends more than ever when you have a baby. I think having a child brings up a lot of insecurities and jealousies in some people sadly subconsciously or otherwise and this often results in friendship casualties.

  20. Gosh this post really hit home as I’ve lost a couple of ‘friends for life’ since having kids. It does hurt but I can’t lose sleep over it (have too little sleep as it is!) and I embrace the different types of friendships I’ve developed since entering the baby mama club.

    Great to see you the other day and maybe we’ll catch up in the ‘hood sometime!

  21. I have a 14month year old daughter and as I am quite young have really made an effort to stay in touch with non – mum friends. Though sadly I had to find out about my best friend from Uni’s wedding on Facebook which I hadn’t been invited to! And it was just around the corner. We were fine until I had a baby – so strange and so sad.

  22. Pingback: I ? Me, new weekly McLinky blog thing

  23. HI, i am a mamá from Spain. I think when you are a mum you have new friends, other mums like you cause they are living similar situations as you are. I love having a coffee and chatting with them or taking pilates with babies classes. take care!

Comments are closed.