Ask Rene: My Girlfriends Are Having Babies And MAN, Are They Obnoxious!


 

Hi Rene:

I only have a handful of girlfriends, and it seems they’re all having babies and abandoning me for play dates with women they have more in common with. You know, women who associate “Baby” with “Einstein” and whose idea of shopping is redeeming 20% off coupons at Babies R Us.

I’m a mother, too, but since my kid is an adult–and he’s my step– his accomplishments, it seems aren’t worthy of the same celebration as their ability to conceive. Yet the death of my dog or the graduation of my son from boot camp barely registered an “I’m sorry” or a “congratulations” from any of these women.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m genuinely happy for them. I follow their guidance on the best times to call or visit. I even drive to them so they don’t have to pack the kid and half the house up for an outing. One lady in particular won’t take her child more than five miles from the house, so I drive 45 minutes one way to visit. But these friendships are beginning to feel about as one-sided as most paper from your standard copy machine.

How do I get these friends to see life from my side of this equation? Or should I just stop being a baby myself and go make some new friends? I don’t want to totally abandon my new Mommy friends, I just don’t know where our friendship fits into their new lives. And honestly, I’m probably more than a little bit jealous.

 Sign me,

Missing my girls

Dear Missing:

Oh I wish I had better news for you. Alas, I don’t, at least until your girls come back from their journey to Planet Parenthood, a place where the scintillating conversation centers around whether they choose to Ferberize and the color of baby’s stool. I’m being facetious of course, but the fact is your girlfriends are experiencing one of the most profound, life changing and beautiful events around. Unfortunately (and I can say this having been on both sides of it), it’s also annoying, irritating and a little over the top for those not in the toddler trenches. And that, my friend, would be you. Most of your answers are right here in your letter but let me break it down and tell you what I would do.

GIVE THEM SPACE: Correct me if I’m wrong and forgive me if I overstep, but I hear quite a few things in your letter; jealously, remorse, sadness, fear to name a few. That’s a lot to deal with and what makes this difficult is there’s no way to say this to your friends without sounding like a selfish witch. Of course, you and I, who are not huffing fumes from baby poop 24 and 7 know that’s not what’s really going on here; it’s about the nature of friendship, which is give and take. Right now, they’re so wrapped up in all things baby, they’re doing all the taking but even more tragically, can’t see that. So the only thing you can do is give those who’ve recently given birth, a wide berth until they regain some perspective.

FIND NEW FRIENDS: I think this is the part that hurts most for you; you have been usurped by a 8 pound, 4 ounce creature, one whose needs have taken precedence over your own. That baby stole the woman you used to share cosmos and cute dudes with and turned her into someone who wears sneakers with jeans and struggles to keep her eyes open until 9pm. That fact is commonality and shared experiences are the glue that hold relationships together. The things that have become super important to them are not to you and vice versa. That’s not a bad thing; it’s just a thing. So now would be a good time to cultivate friends who are at the same life stage as you. Make yourself scarce among the mommy crowd and eventually they’ll look up, poopy diaper in hand, and wonder where and how you’ve been.

TAKE A LOOK INSIDE: I’m going to ask a really tough question. You mentioned you have a stepson and I’m sure you love him as if you had given birth to him. But is there a tiny part of you that wishes you had had your own child? Is something else driving your emotion? I do believe the things we talked about up top are at least a part, but it feels like they could be the outward manifestation of something deeper. Just a thought.

Unfortunately for you, these friends and their mandates ARE one-sided, at least for now. I have faith they won’t always be this way but you have two choices; you can wait for them to change or you can change your expectation. I would do the latter as that’s really the only place you have real control. Oh and for the friend who won’t drive more than five miles from her house, please, please, PLEASE get her a copy of Good Enough Mother!

Good luck mommy!

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Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create GoodEnoughMother.com. When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.

3 Comments

  1. Dawn B

    October 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Wait, you can’t wear sneakers with jeans?
    Great advice Rene. I agree to find other friends that the OP has more in common with

  2. Sandy Seale

    October 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Part of being a good friend is accepting each other for who & what they are; which includes the various stages of life we go thru….sometimes together at the same time but sometimes not. This is a very important time in your friends’ lives & you should welcome it & be supportive. Find some friends of your own who have same likes & spend some time with them. Just because we are friends we don’t have to be joined at the hip in all things….kind of like spouses :) Broaden your interests & friend base & you’ll all benefit from it. Join some type of classes or book club, gym, whatever & make new friends there with people of like interests. But don’t turn your back on these friends all-together….they won’t have little kids forever. Plus you might could also be there for them to offer your expertise & experience since you’ve been thru it with your “kid”. And try not to take it personal that they seem absorbed in their own world right now…..little ones are quite time consuming & this is an awesome time for them. I doubt they even realize they’re “cutting” you out….have you had a heart to heart & let them know how much you miss the closeness you had & spending time with them??? Soon the babies will be in school, etc. & you’ll probably have your old friends back. So make new friends, be supportive of these friends, & be patient.

  3. m.e. johnson

    October 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    When I had babies I hung out with women who had babies. Some of us met at the well-baby clinic. Baby/toddler clothes went around and around amongst us. I had one friend with no children. When we visited she would finally say, “Can we talk about something besides your children!”

    I did make some kind of time to read and keep up with current events because even with children I got bored hearing nothing but household/baby topics (even tho I guess I was guilty too sometimes.).

    Today I’m an old and I have a couple friends who only want to talk about themselves. Reminds me of the old joke: “Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?” I love them so I just listen. So Lady, learn to just listen or move on. Listen to Rene.

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