Since becoming a mom, I’ve been on a personal quest to hoard new mom friends. I’ve attended mom groups, gone to baby music classes and joined a woman’s group at a church (where I’m not a parishioner).
As I’m still riding the New Mom wave, I feel a deep need to surround myself with women who are experiencing the craziness that is new motherhood. I want to be able to talk about my engorged boobs and my baby’s poop. I want to be able to ask, “Is this normal!?” while speaking to people who genuinely understand what it’s like to be bone-tired and enveloped in this kind of all-encompassing love.
But during this quest for new mom friends over the past several months, I’ve realized I may have slightly isolated myself from my childless friends. Not on purpose and not because they don’t understand, but because I’m in survival mode and have no idea what I’m doing.
While I love the new mom friends I’ve made, there are so many important reasons why I still need my childless girlfriends more than ever.
1. They remind me of my identity. I’ve quickly become Mommy, the ass-wiping, milk machine who can’t stay up past 8:30 p.m., but my girlfriends remind me that I’m Colleen, the wine-slinging, F-bomb machine who enjoys inappropriate jokes (and who’s never really ever been able to stay up past 8:30 p.m., anyway).
2. They don’t offer me advice. When I lament to my mom friends, they tell me it’ll get better and have you tried x, y or z? But sometimes I don’t want advice about sleep training or which breast pads are best. I just want a girlfriend to listen, pour me a drink and say, “Dude, that sucks.”
3. They love to hold my baby. Hanging out with my mom friends is great for so many reasons, but it’s not a mini-vacation from momming. When my girlfriends come over, they pour me a drink (are you noticing the trend?) and take my baby. At the risk of showing my sentimental side, seeing my best friends love my baby makes me weepy. And wine, the wine makes me weepy.
4. They bring me back down to reality. A mom friend and I were recently fretting over the fact that we’re failures because our 5-month-olds can’t sign yet. When I shared that same concern with my girlfriends, they basically slapped me across the face, gave me the middle finger and said, “Fuck you, this is all the sign language you need.”
5. They don’t let me dress like a mom. As a mom, I judge no other mom’s appearance. If sweatpants and an oversized T-shirt (along with dirty hair, of course) is all you could muster today, I raise my glass to you. Been there, done that many times, girlfriend. It’s easy to fall into a mom wardrobe, but my girlfriends remind me of the importance of getting gussied up every now and then, even if I don’t feel like it. They have also signed a blood oath agreeing to chop off my legs if I ever wear mom jeans or cargo capris.
6. They don’t judge my parenting style. They don’t give a shit if I’m into attachment parenting or co-sleeping or CIO or breastfeeding or formula or anything in between. Those things aren’t even on their radar, and for that, I am thankful.
Being around my childless girlfriends allows me to relax a bit, drink a bit, and remember that I’m more than Mommy.