I don’t wish to blame the victim here, but we mothers — especially the new ones — can sure be hard on our friends. And not just the childless ones. Judging from two guest posts over at the Motherlode, even other mothers are no fun to be around.
Sasha Brown-Worsham, a writer in Boston, broke up with her childless friend. Granted, said friend offered to pop in a DVD to shut her blob of a baby up and also mentioned relief that she didn’t have the author’s daughter’s “wild mane of hair” to comb. What mother wouldn’t be miffed?
One could argue Brown-Worsham’s friend was a bit tone-deaf when it came to joking about kids. And as unfair as it is, only those in the trenches get to refer to kids as blobs and anything less than a joy. (Hair jokes, though? Back off!) But I have to wonder whether this woman was such great friend material in the first place. A nice perk of motherhood? You get a free pass for weeding out the soul-draining people in your life.
In the second post, Jamie Rich underscores what I’ve long suspected: nothing good ever comes out of Mommy and Me classes. Her experience? She met plenty of other parents but none that she could actually connect with long-term. After a year, her eyes glazed over during binki-talk and soon thereafter, she moved on.
Oh, Jamie, we all moved on. We all did!
Sure, everyone experienced that transition from childlessness to motherhood a little differently. I was the first of my close friends to even have kids. Those few years before the others settled down with careers or marriages or kids of their own were, looking back, friendships in a holding pattern. I didn’t really resent them for not being in the same place as me. (Mercifully, no one mentioned blobs or hair.) The nice ones also didn’t hold my new life against me.
I also collected friends, or “friends,” as needed during the various stages of motherhood. Sometimes I just needed a warm body to bitch to. I’m sure I was used in just the same way. No hard feelings, either way. It’s true: you can only talk about stretch marks or binkis so much before even the baby’s eyes are glazing over.
So while I think the two writers are describing very common experiences, I’m more of a proponent of not getting crushed by these things. Friends serve different purposes and fulfill different needs at different times in our lives. It was OK to move on from the girl who could power pump the keg in college. It’s also OK to let go of the mom whose still doing downward facing dogs with her toddler.
Did you break up with childless friends? What about the fun mom in the Kindermusik class? Where did you make your mom friends?