Have Your Friendships Changed Since Becoming A Mom?
November 22, 2011
I find it hard to maintain my friendships with my friends from New York City. There, I said it. I’m saying it because a friend recently called me out on it. When JD was first born, I happily loaded him into the Jeep and cruised over the GWB. I call this the denial stage.
I was newly living in NJ and longed for NYC. I didn’t think twice about paying the toll, or the parking garage ticket that would accumulate to approximately sixty bucks. Brunch and coffee—it was like I was giving money away. I was desperately clinging to my old life—the life where I lived and played and worked in NYC. JD was so portable back then, too. He went from car seat to Bugaboo and slept three hours through brunch. I chatted with my friends and felt like nothing had changed. It was like sh*t you see in the movies. When my maternity leave ended, things started to change and fast.
I was working full-time in an NJ magazine office, blogging for glamour.com 5X a week and paying more than my rent for day care—did I mention I was raising my infant alone? I found myself going less and less to NYC. I didn’t have the energy, the money or even the desire. I missed my friends and invited them to NJ. Sometimes they came and when they didn’t I totally understood. While I was a single working mom in NJ—they were single, working, beautiful ladies in NYC. Our lives were dividing at warp speed and I did my best to stay in touch via Facebook, texting, calling—and the occasional night out sans JD in NYC. These days, the only time I go to NYC is when I have a meeting or something to do for work and while I miss my friends, I don’t miss my old NYC life. I have a new life and new friends and I’ve adjusted. Any parent will tell you what a typical weekend looks like: Play-dates, birthday parties, the zoo, the park, a nap, a sick kiddo and of course grown-up fun too. That's "Too."
I’m really living my new life to the fullest—and that means spending time with my son, who wakes up at 6 AM Saturday and Sunday, which is why I don’t drive to NYC for a Friday night o’ fun. I have no desire to date anyone who lives in NYC because I don’t find it realistic. Truth is, I’m having fun in NJ. Just a different type of fun. My high school girlfriends and I never lost touch and we all live in NJ (two live in my building). We're all still best friends and we're all working moms, so we speak the same I-have-no-time-to-pee language. But, this whole motherhood thing doesn't mean I'm a recluse or sad or lonely. I mean, I drank beers with my friends on Saturday afternoon after the birthday party and then we took our kids to a family friendly restaurant—where they danced the night away.
My NYC friendships have definitely changed, but in my heart they always remain. I’ve tried to explain this to a friend in NYC, but right now things are pretty heavy, screwed up and sad. Perhaps if I lived in NYC we'd see each other more and still be physical besties, but I'd still be living a mommy life, which is key. I'm not trying to stand on a soapbox, but I'm a good mom. JD is #1. Working to maintain our life is one inch under being #1. Everything else is just go-with-the-flow. My kid gets croup and I'm cooped up all weekend. I can't go to Miami for the weekend—I'm saving for Disney w/ JD this Spring. I just can’t explain my life to this friend, because she doesn’t have a child. And I truly believe everything changes when you have a kid—and that statement makes no sense until you’re discharged from the hospital with your baby wrapped up like a burrito. The nurse says, "Bye, good luck." That said, I get the life of a single childless person. I don't question it. I don't find it to be any less important or all-consuming than mine. It's just different. And it's OK.
Do any other parents know where I’m coming from? Have you lost friends because they don’t get your new, all-consuming life?