Two years ago, I became a mother. In the beginning, I felt a connection with anyone who had a child. We’d talk about midnight feedings, baby bouncers and adorable infant clothes. We were all dealing with the same issues, so I found friends easily. It was just so easy to talk to anyone who had a baby too. She just “got it.”
But then, my son got older, and started running, playing, talking and pushing boundaries. And all of a sudden, it wasn’t so easy to talk to other moms. Even friends I’d had for years. Maybe we parented completely differently, maybe she disagreed with a philosophy I had or I disagreed with her, and all of a sudden, we didn’t have much to talk about, beyond the polite, “how is he doing?” conversation. We just had nothing to discuss.
What I did find was that I connected even more with old and new friends who had similar parenting styles. Even if our children had entirely different personalities, or even were different ages, we bonded over our shared philosophies. But some of those friends who I used to be close with, who I used to share everything with, slowly fell away, because we approached parenting so differently. At first, I felt really sad. I felt that we should stay friends, especially because with some of these women, I’d shared those first few months of motherhood; the time full of uncertainty and exhaustion. But soon, I realized that just having that in common wasn’t enough. I disagreed with some things my friends did, and I couldn’t pretend to validate their choices when I truly couldn’t understand them. And I’m sure they felt the same way about choices I made. But I think there’s this stereotype that all mothers are friends (especially all stay at home moms), because we all have the “same” life, so we get each other. It’s totally not true. Just like you have to be compatible with friends in other aspects of life to enjoy each other, it’s the same with other moms. And it’s okay. Just because another women has a child doesn’t mean we’re “meant” to be friends.
Recently, I finally started to accept this. And, slowly, some of these people have fallen out of my life. Some, of course, have not. In fact, I have some friends who I’ve known for over a decade, and the friendship still stays strong, no matter what comes our way. But with others, I’ve learned that the friendships evolve and change, and sometimes it means they have to fade away, because when it comes to our children, just being a parent isn’t enough.