I recently saw a post shared by a friend that had me thinking back to a point in my life before I started this chapter of being a wife and parenthood. I haven’t always had the biggest circle of friends, but I had a pretty decent size tribe that I could count on. Over the years since we have moved on to the next space on the board of this game called life, the tribe has constantly lost and replaced members due to certain circumstances.
For me, it didn’t really start immediately upon graduating high school like most people. It started when I got married. I never moved as a child so I had made life long friends day one of starting elementary school. Over the years, I added to those friends from working different jobs, going to college, random meetings, and through mutual friends.
The start of the decline
After a break up, I took some time to myself and then I randomly ended up meeting my husband. After some time, we made things official and things were going good until he informed me he had to move because of his job. We had been together a short amount of time, but he immediately asked me to move with him. I was hesitant. I immediately thought about the risk, my friends, and leaving everything behind me in Georgia to start a new life. After three months of having a long distance relationship and lots and lots of thinking, I decided to move to Florida. The pros outweighed the cons. The worst that could happen was I get there and he dumps me lol. Once I secured a job there, I began to slowly tell each one of my friends my big news. Some took the news well, some didn’t understand and was very upset, and some even helped me prepare. My last month of being in Georgia, me and my friends spent a ton of time together. We went out literally EVERY weekend and saw each other several times each week. There was lots of talk about how they were going to come and visit me, and whenever I came back “home” they would be ready to hang out!
Then I moved
After moving, we all did a great job keeping in contact and checking in on each other and such for the first few weeks. Lots of I miss you etc. As months passed, no visits to Florida as promised. I did visit Georgia and caught up with some of my friends but I couldn’t with everyone; because my visits were often random, short, and people were busy. Things began to get more serious with my husband and after a year of being together, he asked me to marry him. When I announced I was engaged, everyone was over the moon it seems. Although we decided not to have a wedding (because of the Army and distance from everyone…then later Cameron turning a pee stick positive), we were still showered with well wishes, gifts, and generally positive support.
I noticed that as time passed, some of my friends who were not married started to become distant after the marriage happened. Some started to act a little funky during the engagement but nothing too noticeable or off the wall. Once I got married, the constant check in phone calls dwindled a little, some completely stopped, and some increased. The ones that increased caused problems because they had no respect for “now isn’t a good time”.
Throw in some babies
A few of my friends had children already. Even then, we still remained pretty close. I didn’t mind, and I was very understanding of things like not being able to just get up and go randomly etc. When I became pregnant, my friends were thrilled. They were all excited and even though I was in another state, the baby shower was planned for Georgia. We had our baby shower and had a huge turn out for it and got literally everything we needed (and some) for our baby. There was lots of talk about how they were going to see the baby, how they wanted phone calls when I went into labor etc. We had social media as well so I kept everyone updated that way. Cameron arrived, I shared his pics etc and all the hooplah died down.
Shortly after having Cameron, my husband had to leave with the Army for several months. Instead of me staying in Florida by myself, we decided it was best that I move back to Georgia while he was away to be closer to family and friends, in case I needed help with the new baby. Help that so many had promised etc that I ultimately did not get. Cameron was two weeks old when we moved back. I only told those who kept in constant contact that I was coming back! Once I was back word spread kinda quick that I was home. The calls, messages etc were off the charts. People wanted to see the baby etc. People wanted to hang out etc. I was happy because I thought it would be like old times!
Sorry you’re not invited
Oh the promises of hanging out etc. They all sounded great until it came down to doing just that. I was invited out a lot by some and a lot of those times I had to decline because well I was a mom now with a small baby. Some would come to my house to visit instead because they knew I did not have a baby sitter like that. I was usually the one showing up to lunch dates etc with a baby. I was the one having to leave early when I did have a sitter to get my baby back so that he stayed with his routine. I was the one with the postpartum body, milk stains in my nice car, and constantly talking about my husband and baby. Over time, the invites out dwindled as well as the visits. I would find out some of my friends and associates had got together after the fact from pictures on social media. I would ask myself, “why wasn’t I invited?”. I am a pretty blunt person, so I just simply asked them what was up? I got the same answer from the ones who had distanced themselves, “you are married” and/or “you’re a mom now”. To me I wondered what did that have to do with anything? I was the same person just different roles now. Do these things automatically make me less fun to be around? Well I ended up finding out from other mommy friends, they had the same issues with friends. They lost friends because they became a mom. They lost friends because they gained other responsibilities.
At first I was upset, but I put more thought into it. They can’t relate so they don’t understand. Why would you want to be around someone who constantly talks about shxtty diapers, pregnancy, married life, spit up, boogers, etc? After putting myself in their shoes, I wasn’t mad anymore…I did think it was a little shxtty but I wasn’t mad. How could I be? We were at different points in our lives and had simply grown apart.
Losing myself to motherhood
It is safe to say that once you become a parent you do lose parts of yourself to parenthood. You become less selfish, more patient, more concerned about things that you never thought you would care about such as if someone else pooped today. You learn how to function off little sleep…like really function off no sleep. In the single and non-parent days you could go out and party all night, sleep the day away and then adult. As a parent, you can’t do that. Party long hours if you want to, when that middle of the night feeding is needed, or the stomach bug hits at 3am you will be finding yourself shxt faced and falling apart in regrets. If you think about it, it kind of balances out. You trade one thing for another. I do some of the things I enjoy less often now, but when I do get to do them (going out etc) I enjoy them more and cherish it.
Being a mom doesn’t have to be lonely
Here I am with soon to be five kids, still happily married and moving right along in life. The friends have continued to come and go as time goes on. Now there isn’t so much grief. It is more so growth. I have almost a completely different circle of friends and associates now. There are a few of the original members of the tribe still in the picture and I love them to pieces! One thing I realized is that motherhood/parenthood doesn’t have to be lonely.
Rebounding from your friends dropping like flies after becoming a parent
- Make friends with other parents. For me I had several who were parents already and understood. This number was small in the beginning but has grown with time as everyone has started families since we are older now. I have found that it is easier to have more friends who are in the same boat. I did find myself meeting other parents from attending my friend’s children birthday parties and such. I also met other parents by putting myself out there. When I say putting myself out there, I mean going to the park and letting my kids play etc. I sit on a bench close to the playgrounds and usually another parent will come sit to be close-by to their kid, or there will usually be another parent pushing their kid on the swings right next to me. Usually a conversation is naturally sparked and is kid related.
- Play dates. Me and my friends who have kids have play dates. This is a great way for the kids to become friends, meet other parents, and most of all for you to have some type of adult time without needing to pay a baby sitter. The people you invite to the play date will vary most of the time because of scheduling. Take turns hosting them. When you take turns, whoever hosting will usually invite someone they know to be apart of the fun; which allows YOU to meet someone new. Play dates are used as my time to take a break and kick back. I feel super human and not socially challenged. Play date groups are awesome.
- Make the first move. Okay, I am still working on this one. I am one of those people who won’t talk to you unless you talk to me. So this goes back to the first bullet. I wouldn’t say I am awkward but I am working on becoming more of a people person with strangers. The easiest thing I have found to do is, ask about a certain thing (even if I know what it is or the answer) to get them talking. This could be basic parent shxt like “how does your baby like that sippy cup? I have been thinking about buying one of those” or “do you know of other parks or places to take toddlers to play?”. Sometimes, I may even offer a compliment like “damn I usually look like poo after I have just had a baby what’s your secret.” or something about her leggings, yoga pants etc. We parents love to offer advice and even if some won’t admit this, parents love to BRAG.
- Be realistic. okay, so with this one. You have to be comfortable with knowing and accepting that not everyone wants to be your friend. I know I don’t want to be every mom’s friend that I come into contact with because some I simply can’t stand one or two or several things about them. I also don’t expect an immediate connection with people that I meet. Some parents we see each other multiple times a year at functions and have never exchanged numbers etc. That is okay. If it is meant to be a bond will be formed in some way.
Friends do grow apart sometimes. It doesn’t mean that you love each other less. You may just be at different points in your life where the relationship is no longer a good fit. Sometimes friendships die and are rekindled later on like nothing happen. This has happened to me, as my lost friends finally reach the married and parent life. They begin to understand and relate. Life goes on. Don’t force the pieces of the friendship puzzle. You never know if your lost connection is opening the door for an amazing mommy or daddy friend.
Have you noticed any changes within your social circle since you got married and/or started a family?