When I was expecting my eldest daughter, and even through the first year after her birth, I was adamant about not needing any new friends. My partner, in-laws, the parenting blogs I read, and my own mother all seemed to preach the importance of becoming friends with other moms, but I was resolved not to allow having a kid to “change my life.” It seemed to me that if I actively worked toward making new pals, I’d be abandoning my old, child-free ones — and by abandoning them, I’d also be leaving behind the post-work drinks, the impromptu nights out, the freedom, the youthfulness.
In the end, the first year of motherhood was a lonely one for me. I felt more and more out of touch with pop culture, my friendship groups, and my profession with every passing day. I was terrified of being the kind of parent who “always talks about their kid” or “posts too many photos of their baby on Facebook,” in case that scared away or simply bored everyone I knew. I also felt like I had to play it cool — like I couldn’t admit how overwhelmed and difficult every minute of every day actually was, especially in the first couple of months after labor when both my body and mind were in recovery.
If ever I tried to relay these feelings to my pre-existing friends, most would listen patiently. Most would offer a warm hug or the gentle reassurance that I’d figure it out; that it would all be OK. Still, I could not help but feel that there was something missing from the conversations.
“I remember my girlfriend calling me in a massive meltdown when she was a new mom, stating she hadn’t had a bath in two and a half days and all she wanted to do was feel like a ‘girl’ again,” says Susan Winter, best-selling author and relationship expert, in an interview with Romper. “I could empathize, but I couldn’t offer her a known set of alternatives for time management or the type of solutions she needed.”
“Associating with other moms is a vital lifeline to our sanity and our sense of humor,” she adds. “Having good friends that are moms means you can get the best tips and guidance for tried and true, real-life solutions to the exact problems you’re facing, and probably have a good laugh about the chaos and drama you’ve experienced (rather than a cry).”