Moms and friendship

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone on a night out with friends. “Let’s have dinner and drinks! Text text!,” some friends would invite. I’d answer “Sure!,” hoping the plans push through but somehow knowing they won’t. That’s what happens when new motherhood kicks in. Schedules revolve around the baby, especially if he’s breastfed. Guilt also enters the picture – I already spend my whole day away from my baby, why spend the evening away too?

No matter how demanding my day can be, I try finding ways to stay connected with my friends. Thank goodness for social networking sites and e-mail. Status updates are sometimes good enough to know what’s going on with them at least for a day. Text messaging makes me feel they’re just close by. While digital communication is fast and very current, it doesn’t compare to sitting down with a friend face-to-face. A couple of beers (or coffee, depending on the time of day) on the table, secrets spilled and shared over rounds of laughter… I still crave this kind of interaction to keep my sanity.

Don’t get me wrong. I highly enjoy the company of my baby. A mother needs the company of other grown-ups once in awhile though. There is a whole person besides just being Mommy, and it’s important to nurture that side too.

Motherhood has made me gravitate more towards friends who are also mothers. Only another mother could truly understand what a fellow Mom goes through! It is wonderful learning from other mothers. While situations may be different, say an infant for me and teenagers for another, I often gain more knowledge from the experienced mothers. During my first Mommy months, I struggled with breastfeeding concerns and getting used to a new sleeping pattern (awake at night, asleep during the day). The advice shared by other Moms was invaluable. I relied on them more than books and baby websites. They’ve been there, done that, and knowing they made it through all those challenges assured me everything would be fine.

While I’ve made new Mommy friends, I still keep in touch with old friends. The dynamics of old friendships usually change. Hanging out less shouldn’t compromise the quality of a friendship, right? Yes and no. I am grateful that my old friends understand when I have to beg off nights out to go home early. That doesn’t mean they should give way to me all the time though. We meet halfway. Instead of dinner dates, we have lunch dates. Catching up in an hour is better than not catching up at all. The rare times we get together in the evenings, this breastfeeding mother goes for water while my friends go for their beers. Whatever the drink or dish is, what’s important is that we’re all together even for two hours.

Overall, friends can really help a Mommy de-stress. When things get overwhelming, it helps to know I can turn to a dear friend whether she’s a mother or not. My best friend is not a mother, but I get the best advice from her. Perhaps it’s because we knew each other very well before I became a mother. Whenever I talk to her, my worries always cease.

I can’t remember the last time I had dinner and drinks with my dear friends, but I am thankful that we do not measure our friendship in glasses of wine or cups of coffee. A lot of understanding and a lot of trust that we will go for that dinner and drinks date helps a lot. It’s also something we, especially this new mother, are all looking forward to. Now I’ll drink to that!
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