Chances are you two foraged a friendship when you were both budding breasts, crushing over pimple-faced boys, and going to school football games. You played Girl Talk and Ouija board. You smoked your first joint together, or had your first swig of Peppermint Schnapps from your parent’s liquor cabinets.
You call each other and sing the lyrics to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” every time it comes on the radio.
Photo booth snapshots of you hugging, blowing air kisses and making funny faces are in a frame on your nightstand. A greeting card with two little girls—one blonde, one brunette—is propped on your desk at work. Inside, it says “Love you BFF!”
Besties for years.
You two bonded at the same exact stage in life. Maybe you were childhood best friends. Maybe you met in high school, or inside the college dorm rooms, or as gophers at your first jobs.
You’ve been on parallel tracks for as long as you can remember. You’ve shared ordinary and extraordinary experiences. Broken hearts, career successes, family dramas, health ailments, loss, gain. Every strife and struggle since you met is braided into each other’s lives.
You totally “get” each other. You validate each other. Your bestie understands you more than anyone on Earth, and especially when no one on Earth understands you. You both know a bestie is a rare breed of friendship. Preserving it, is paramount.
Then something happens. The great divide. Nope, not marriage. One of you has a child, and the other does not.
Suddenly, your whole friendship revolves around this tiny human being.The quantity and quality of bestie time is now defined and divided by a child. The alternate universe you have built together is broken, and re-bonded by this baby. And while it sounds beautiful, it’s actually quite traumatic. You both have to figure out the friendship dynamic after babies. The friendship is morphing—but, neither of you knows how and to what tremendous lengths it will change.
What you do know is that if the friendship is important to you both—steps will be made to save it.
Here are five things childfree besties can do to help maintain a friendship with mommy BFF’s.
1. Visit her when the baby is born. Acknowledge the damn baby—just a little bit. Even if babies aren’t your thing. It doesn’t have to be a long visit. Just let her know that you care. Bringing booze or food wouldn’t hurt. Let me repeat booze and food are welcome gifts. If you’re long distance BFFs, send something more than a text.
And for the future, keep showing interest in the kid. Ask questions about the kid’s school, sports, dance recitals. Whatever. Even if it’s forced. Even if you’re make jerking off motions and rolling your eyes on the other end of the phone while your mommy bestie spouts off all of her childrens’ recent boring accomplishments. She asks about your dog and cat that she gives no shits about. So touché.
2. Make plans with your mom bestie outside of the home, without kids. Try spa visits, dinner, coffee, breakfast—whatever is realistic. It will force your friend to step away from her demands at home, from her children and work, and get in that girl-time she so desperately needs.
Also, make plans with your gal pal that include the kids every once in a while. Just make sure the kids are at a place they will be thoroughly entertained so you can actually get in more than half-second snippets of conversation (ask her where to go, she’ll know the perfect spot to let the kids run free while you two catch up).
3. Be flexible. Don’t be mad when plans fall through. You are worried about one person. Even if you’re coupled or have a dog. Generally speaking, you are worried about numba one—yourself. Your mommy bestie is worried about herself and another person, all of the time. That’s 24/7. If she has more than one child, that’s exponentially more worry. Multiple children increases the likelihood of plans falling through. Johnny may have an ear infection on the day you two had plans for coffee. Susie might’ve fallen into a pile of fire ants at the playground on the day you rescheduled your coffee date. The working mom may have her own last minute work deadlines that come up, which she has to somehow balance with her family life. Expect to move over for last-minute illnesses, babysitter cancellations, and work deadlines.
Childfree besties, don’t take it personal. Chances are she’s really trying. Your mommy BFF is really trying to find time for everyone and everything.
Side note: Moms with newborn babies and toddlers get a free pass to be mostly MIA for, like, 2 years without side eye or judgement.
4. Embrace texting as a form of primary communication. Don’t expect long phone conversations. At least not frequent ones. Texting is probably more realistic.
5. Be understanding and empathetic. Don’t resent her for putting her kids first. Don’t throw it in her face. Her kids and her well-being are indeed paramount. She is raising small, needy human beings. You’re an adult. You can handle not being nurtured a bit. Theoretically, should she and could she make more time for herself and her friendships? Absofuckinlutely. But, it’s really hard to carve time out. We could all—kids or no kids—do a better job of taking out time for friendships. But we just don’t. We put our kids before all types of things that would be good for us, like sex, sleep, evening jogs, hopes and dreams, you name it. Kids, more often than not, trump our desires. Including our desires to share a very adult cocktail with our bestie.
Moms, you’re not off the hook. This is a 2 part series. Next week, 5 Ways Mommy Besties Can Stay Besties With Childfree Friends. Because, for real mamas, it’s time you made some grand gestures for a friend that still loves you and the soul-sucking, booger-eating, pissing-and-pooping monsters you gave birth to.