A funny thing happens when you become a mom.
Instant friendship. Spontaneous camaraderie. New connections and re-connections with fellow moms who have been there, done that.
I’ve always been one to keep to myself and cling tightly to a small handful of good friendships. Never one to make friends easily, I’ve maintained the same few friendships since childhood. Less pressure. No social anxiety. People who understand my awkwardness and love me anyway. The only other time I’ve really ventured out to make new friends was when I started my book club in 2013. Other than that, I’ve been content with the people in my life and have never felt a need to venture outside of those relationships.
Then I became a mom and I discovered very quickly that moms love other moms. Fellow new moms in no way, shape, or form have replaced any of my other friendships, but they’ve been something new and different. They’ve been people I can talk diapers and potties and picky toddlers with. They’ve been people who can tolerate Caleb’s shrieking because they’ve heard the same from their own. They’ve been people I can compare notes with, share advice with, commiserate with, clap with. People who are on my level and who get me and understand me right where I am, right in this moment.
The first mom friend came in the throes of my post-partum struggles with depression and baby blues. Though we were Facebook friends who knew each other from high school, we had never been actual friends until I became a mom. She kindly reached out to me to tell me that she understood and that she’d been through the same struggles when her baby was born just a couple of months before mine. Our babies had play dates together while I was on maternity leave, and we’ve been friends ever since. New friend number one!
From there, I befriended a fellow new mom on Facebook that I knew from the library. She’d been coming in for years and though we’d always been friendly, it wasn’t until she had a son just a couple of months before Caleb came that we really connected and found we had a lot in common. After the kids coincidentally took a swim class together recently, we started setting up playdates: the boys could play while us moms chatted and hung out. New friend number two!
In recent months, I’ve also both sent and received friend requests from a number of old high school acquaintances who are also moms now. When one of them found out that our kids were just a few months apart in age, she immediately proposed a playdate and I happily accepted. Though we haven’t seen each other in the 10+ years since graduating from high school, we were instantly able to bond and re-connect over the simple fact that we’re both moms now. We weren’t quite friends in high school, but we knew each other and were friendly. Now I’m suspecting a friendship may just blossom after next week’s initial playdate. New friend number three!
I simply cannot fail to mention the number of blog friends I’ve also made in the years since my pregnancy and becoming a mother. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was suddenly on the hunt for other pregnant and new mom bloggers. I remember fondly following along with each other’s bumpdates and anxiously awaiting baby arrivals via Instagram stalking. There was an instant sense of “welcome to the club!” anytime one of us had our baby at last or got a positive on a pregnancy test. There’s a feeling of, “girl, I get you!” Instant friendship and understanding form.
Though I’ve never been one to easily make friends, there’s just something about motherhood that makes it so simple and easy to bond with and understand other women. These women have metaphorically been in the trenches with me, have been where I’ve been, have faced the same fears and setbacks, have experienced the same joy. We understand one another on a level that not everyone else does and there’s a beauty in that.
This is NOT to undermine any of my other relationships and friendships in any way. In fact, some mom friendships end up being completely surface level, and that’s okay! We talk kids and “what’s new?” and it never goes beyond that. They don’t know my struggles beyond my motherhood struggles, don’t know my history or life story, don’t know where I’ve been or where I want to go. We don’t ask the deep down questions and don’t share secrets. While these friendships may not grow to intimate understandings of one another, family members that become your own, and years of laughter and memories (all things I share with my best friends), they are great to talk to, to spend time with, and to share stories and advice with. Perhaps these friendships will be short lived (though I hope not). Perhaps they will become close friendships, or perhaps they’ll be kept at a distance. There are seasons in life and I have a few friends who have been there for every season and will continue to be there for every season… for a lifetime. Then there are friends who are here for this “new mom” season. I can’t say how long they’ll stay, can’t know when the seasons will change, but I’ll enjoy them while they’re here. Seasons always change at some point, and there is both beauty and pain in each new one.