Lauren Martin, author behind Lauren Jade Lately and I have been friends for years. She is kind, creative and just fun to be around. She is a self-proclaimed minimalist-owning 40-50 pieces of clothing at a time also known as her capsule wardrobe, and living out of a trailer for the better part of this year. We met through my now-husband-then guy-I-was-seeing, when we were both in transitional stages of our lives. In those 5 years of knowing each other, we have seen each other through new relationships, career moves, joint projects (she was the amazing web developer behind Love Child), marriage, and most recently, babies. As with all new relationships, babies included, your friendships with your girlfriends often takes a back seat. We found ourselves talking about this subject at length and decided to address it head on, in guest posts, with advice from both perspectives. After reading Lauren’s post below, head over to her blog to read mine, Friends and Babies: Can The Two Co-Exist?
I remember the first time I saw a pregnancy announcement on Facebook, my mind immediately thought…’say whattttt!?…’ and quickly resumed tagging photos from the most recent girl’s night out. But then it happened again – then a proposal. then another baby. then a wedding. Fast forward a few more years – my social feed is a visual cocktail of babies, dogs and engagement rings. Topped with honeymoons, sonograms and garnished with the occasional divorce.
When did we all suddenly become adults? But more importantly, where did all my girlfriends go?
Recently I’ve come to terms with the fact that we’re all quickly shifting into these new phases of life – myself included. Whether it be husbands, babies, houses, new jobs… all the newness is overwhelming, stressful and time-consuming. As we all know, all the added responsibilities of adulthood are physically and emotionally draining. But what happened to my fun-loving, always-there-for-me friend? Where did she go? I see her baby 100 times-a-day on social media, but I haven’t actually seen her in months.
I began convincing myself that my girlfriends didn’t need me anymore now with their supportive husbands and adorable babies. I figured attempting to make plans for lunch, coffee or drinks would overwhelm her. Surely she had enough on her plate without her single gal pal pestering to meet up?
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I began sharing my feelings with others and I kept hearing a similar sentiment echoed among all the girlfriends-we miss each other.
I recently found myself commiserating with another baby-free friend. We were confused why we felt somewhat shunned by our new mama friends. We had said our congrats, sent the gifts…you know all the checklist items. But suddenly it seemed as though they viewed us as the black sheep. We felt the tension when we’d invite them to happy hours or plan a last minute girl’s trip only to get turned down by doctors appointments, feeding time, nap time, play time.
Sure, we can’t really chime in about the newest diaper technology or take a true stance on vaccinations. We have nothing to contribute – we haven’t had babies yet. It’s not that we don’t want to understand, we just can’t. Admittedly, it simply hurts a bit to feel replaced.
I debated heavily over whether I even wanted to tackle writing this post. I didn’t want it to come off as insensitive or whiny. Just a genuine feeling of wanting to be there with and for my friends but not knowing how to bring it up, let alone solve it. But after hearing the same thing from both sides I felt I needed to put it all out there and just say what we’re all thinking:
Our friendship must evolve. It will require mutual understanding, forgiveness and respect. The biggest part of the equation is simply showing up. It’s not enough to like the occasional status on Facebook or Instagram,
reach out – let’s make the effort.
Let’s all be honest with each other, we are all exhausted. We won’t always respond, but know we always see it. More times than not, we want to respond but just have our hands full. Know we appreciate it and want to see you.
If we say we can only meet between client meetings or bottle feedings – let’s make it work, ok?
Offer to bring over a coffee or schedule wine time so we can sit and catch up. We don’t need to do something fancy. Come over to escape the grind, but let’s make it a point to ask each other how we’re both doing and really listen. How can we help each other? Take over the feeding so we can take a shower. Order some food so we can close the computer and eat a real meal. Let’s kill two birds with one stone, if we need to get a workout in why not try out baby yoga? Let’s commit to the following:
- Show interest in each others responsibilities, even if they’re not the same right now.
- Appreciate the love and attention we have for our families, but extend it to our friends as well.
- Compromise on activities and try new things.
- Accept that things and people change, life wasn’t meant to stay the same forever.
- Commit to an actual date or time to meet, try your hardest not to cancel.
- Be present and free of judgement or opinion, unless we ask for it.
This is all new to all of us. Let’s all cut ourselves some slack because we’re all doing our best. We don’t need to be and shouldn’t be perfect. We’re going to all make mistakes, so let’s all just accept that and move on. A ‘I’m sorry’ can never come too late. So let’s all make up, meet up and stop missing each other.
Your girlfriend who misses you
Every time I see friend’s baby and marriage posts on social media they bring me true joy. It means my friends are making families, promises and legacies. Sure, I’m sad that we can’t hang out right now as much as we used to. One thing we should keep in mind that this phase is somewhat temporary and quickly fleeting as kids start to grow up, we’ll be able to see each other more. Girl’s nights out become sleepovers, playdates and catching up on the sidelines. And I’m totally ok with that – as long as my girlfriends are there with me.