Today I’m handing the blog over to my good friend Cristina. She is new mama to a totally handsome little man named Bowie and takes an ultra cool, modern approach to motherhood over at Love Child. For new moms, balancing the needs of friends and babies can be difficult and disappointing. The same goes for baby-free friends like myself. Out of this frustration we found resolution and we’ve decided to guest post each other’s point of views on the subject so each ‘side’ could understand where the other was coming from. So, can friends and babies really co-exist peacefully?
This is a topic that has been on my mind for a while. It was a challenging subject to write. One reason being that it continues to be a sensitive subject, and one I’m still navigating with some of my closest friends. The other is because of the immense guilt I feel. I’ll explain.
I had Bowie at the age of 33. Before that, I was loving life. Not to say I’m not loving life now, but it was different life. I had my routine down. My husband and I had our routine down. We are both independent people by nature but found the balance of time together, time with friends, and time alone with workouts, coffee dates, work, travel, late dinners, all mixed in. Sure, I had friends with babies and I would catch up with them here or there but mostly my life included other non-mom friends.
And then our sweet Bowie came along. We were so excited and as ready for this next step as we could be. I had an easy pregnancy, an easy birth, very little baby blues, and we had an easy baby, one in fact, who sleeps. But still, I needed my friends so badly. I was navigating unchartered waters of new motherhood. I tired to the point of tears most days (sleep deprivation is no joke) and swimming in a foggy headspace with very little hope my past life would ever resurface. I needed reassurance, hugs, coffee, and food. Mostly though, I wanted my friends know my son and when they didn’t call, I took it personally and began to doubt the relationships.
I was also heavy with guilt during those first few weeks realizing I was this exact person to my friends with babies. I would visit the hospital or visit at home in the weeks following the birth and bring a gift, or food, but that was the extent of my involvement. I rarely checked in, rarely asked about the kids, and to be honest, rarely thought about it. Guilt. Had I known how hard being a first time mom is, especially in those early days, I would have done things differently. Maybe I couldn’t relate to sleep training or breastfeeding, but I could listen, I could do laundry, I could play with the baby while she slept or showered or ran an errand. I realize how significant these little gestures are to a new mom.
Ask about their new baby. It is the thing they are the most proud of. They want to share the milestones with you, especially in the early days. This won’t last forever but for the first few weeks, grin and bare it. It will make their day.
Get Them Out
Invite them out. And if you make a date, keep it. Remind them that they need this time away (they might fight you on this). Book a manicure or if you know their partners well, get them in on the outing. Let them know you’d like to plan something so they can help convince your mom friend to go.
Bring The Goods
Bring food and then leave. Unless it’s a planned meal, in the early days, babies schedules are not consistent. It’s impossible to find time to make dinner in those first few weeks, let alone have a few minutes alone with your partner.
By far the most important tip. Don’t go radio silent on each other. If you are the non-mom friend, check in often even if it’s a text. New moms might not respond but know they read it and appreciate it. If you are the new mom, after that initial 8 week fog has lifted, make it a point to check in with your non-mom friends. Chances are their work or relationships have changed and they need to talk – It’s now your turn to listen.
So can friends and babies co-exist? Absolutely, it just requires thought and time from both parties.
Written by: Cristina Bocanegra of LoveChildMag.com
Be sure to head over to Love Child to read my point of view and let us know in the comments below how you’ve kept up with your friendships post baby.
All Photography By – Ashley Jo Green Photography