Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


One of the aspects of parenthood that i was pretty confident wouldn't affect me was the whole "become a parent lose your non-parent friends." And by and large, it really hasn't. I know that i went out of my way to accommodate my friends that became parents before we did and we have many friends without kids that do the same for us. "BBQ at your place, sounds good; Yeah, let's skip the bars and come have some beers on your porch; etc." So by and large it hasn't been rocket science to stay friends with people (with children or not) after our bambino arrived.

So, i was a little saddened when my best friend from high school came to visit, the one that i always pick up with where we left off and at the end of her visit i just felt very far away from her. The visit didn't draw us back into each other's lives or renew our closeness. At least for me, it made me feel how much we don't have in common and how she didn't seem to want to try very earnestly to find common ground.

Because that really seems to be the key. I don't talk about Henry all the time and my single friends don't talk about the woes of dating all the time. You pick a few key stories, you tell more if someone is interested, and otherwise you move on to mutually interesting topics. It's this give and take which generally helps structure a rewarding conversation and a good relationship.

I guess i just felt plainly that she wasn't truly interested in what parenting was really like, or what the struggles we were going through were. She was interested in providing her take on them from her own perspective.

I'm sure we'll see each other in another year or so and maybe by then something will have changed in one of our lives to bring us back closer together. But for now, i feel set-apart as a Mother for the first time.


  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger Cataclysm said…

    Hey Tamra,

    I can totally see this whole scene with your friend playing out and I think we've all had a taste of some too.

    When I saw my high school friend last Oct, she was just getting her MA, getting divorced and selling her house to open a women's centred sex shop in Montreal. I was planning on spending my little windfall on a new fridge (one with a big family-size freezer). We couldn't have been more opposite and for the brief time we saw each other, it worked oddly. But it was almost like it had to be completely opposite so that we could both see the humour...

    Anyway, not really related to your story but what I've noticed is that those friends that you can just 'pick up where you left off' do tend to stay like that, despite brief periods of incongruency. There could be other stuff going on - underlying issues that she wasn't opening up about.
    But I hear ya!

  • At 10:17 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Hey T,
    i also had this issue with a good friend of mine briefly after Nile was born, but things have since settled down and now it's sort of reverted back to how it was before. i think that it's impossible for non-moms to comprehend how much this parenting thing really means until they do it for themselves (just like it was impossible for any of us to truly "get" what our parents did for us until we became parents ourselves). it's odd because i found that some friends wanted our friendship to continue as if nothing had changed after Nile was born when in fact im my heart and in my world EVERYTHING had changed. those are the friends who have since fallen by the wayside & the ones who truly matter & care have made the necessary adjustments (just as i have had to do). it's a juggling act! sorry, i'm rambling. hope you can make some sense out of this!

  • At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As the single (engaged), childless (this year), long-distance best friend of a married-with-a-wee-one, I'd like to suggest another possibility. That your childless friend talking about how she might handle things is her way of relating to you in this new role. Keep in mind that until we do those big things that change our roles and our fundamental way of seeing the world (get married, have children, lose a parent), much of our friendships with other chicks often is about sharing our take on our girlfriend's situation.

    Remember? A boss does this, a date does this, etc - we advise. It is, by and large, a type of female communication. So maybe she was relating, but just isn't in the same space. Yet. ~AEM

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    I've been meaning to reply to this post all week, but my ideas weren't formulated and I needed to let things percolate for a while.

    I think the previous poster hit the nail on the head, that when people who don't have kids talk about what they'd do as parents, it is in fact a sort of empathy. And like Melissa said, I think that it's impossible to get what a big deal being a mother is unless you are one. I can remember all sorts of episodes from my childfree days where I definitely I know I misspoke to friends and family with children. I still blush to think about it, but to my own credit, I always meant well.

    One thing that, to me, signifies just how far removed the childfree are from the childed (I just made that word up) is when childfree friends tell me things like, "You haven't changed!" and they mean it as a compliment. I think this comment is a corollary to the fact that so many people -- a pre-Sam version of myself included -- tout "not changing" as a virtue after you have kids, as in "Having kids won't change me! I'm going to be the same person doing the same things as I did before! I'll just have a kid with me!"

    Can you hear that? That's the sound of me killing myself laughing over here. Because OF COURSE I've changed enormously. In many ways I feel like a completely new (and hopefully better) person, which is why I think I tend to look kind of shocked when I hear the "You haven't changed at all" compliment.

    Have I veered too far off track? I'm operating on about four hours of sleep, but that's a story for another day.

    Anyway, I think the same rule should apply to post-pregnancy friendship as applies to your primary relationship: no break-ups allowed in the first year or so after the baby is born, because everyone involved -- including friends -- is still reeling from new-baby insanity.


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