Friendships after baby

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I’ve been meaning to write something about this for awhile but (in keeping with the theme of this post, ironically) it’s been hard to find the time. Somehow, I didn’t really think or worry too much during my pregnancy about how my friendships would be affected by the birth of my son. I guess I just naively assumed that things would stay relatively the same or maybe wouldn’t change at all. Not really the case.

Some things stay the same, some things get better…and some things get much harder. At least when your baby is as young as Jameson is right now. Making plans can be stressful…so much is just up in the air when you have an itty bitty infant. For those of you with kids, you know exactly what I mean. But for those who don’t just yet, imagine for a moment….

Your friend asks you to hang out. The answer used to be simple and based on one question…are you busy or free? But now a million considerations suddenly jump into your head, considerations that didn’t used to be factors at all. Is he going to need a nap at that time of day? Will he be in a good mood? If you’re meeting up somewhere…is there somewhere you can take him if he needs a break from stimulation? Can you feed him easily when he’s hungry?

Then you make the plans and the day comes and you’re running late. He’s in his third outfit of the day (poop fiasco in the first outfit, spit up on the next two) and you’re in your second (poop fiasco nailed you too). You strap him in his car seat while he’s crying big fat tears because he doesn’t like the feeling of being confined and you lug him out the door into the car, praying the whole time that he doesn’t scream for the entire drive…but he does and you feel like a terrible mom for forcing him into this and not being able to comfort him.

You arrive at the restaurant or wherever it was you decided on, which you chose so that your friend wouldn’t have to drive too far or feel weird about the fact that you have a baby now…you used to eat out together all the time so you’re trying to keep things as normal as they can be.

You meet your friend and for awhile it’s better than old times. You chat and laugh and your baby is happy to be out of his jail cell (aka the car seat) and he flashes her that grin you love so much. But then he gets tired and it’s too loud and bright and he can’t sleep. You know all he wants is to lay down and nap but there’s nowhere to go and he still hates that car seat. It’s only been 30 minutes, though, hardly a reasonable length of time to catch up with your friend so you bounce your baby around and distract him as much as possible while trying to listen as intently as you can to your friend. It works until it doesn’t and after another stressful 30 minutes you admit defeat and apologetically say you have to get home.

Back in the car seat he goes, anxiously crying for you to just please hold him and you guiltily strap him in for the ride back.

It’s not always like this. It really isn’t. But like I said, three-month-olds have their own (often unpredictable) schedules and you can’t expect too much from them. So sometimes it is like that and sometimes you don’t make plans with friends just so you can avoid those situations. You regret all the moments you’re missing but your baby comes first, always, and you do what you can to make sure his life is consistent and happy and safe.

It won’t always be this way…someday he’ll be five and then six and then fifteen and I won’t always be worried about how to make time for my friends when life is so unpredictable.

And it’s not so bad. I’ve come to be extra thankful for the friends I have who don’t mind when my son is cranky and don’t mind driving all the way to my house so that Jameson’s schedule isn’t messed up. I’m extra thankful for those who love me and love my son and understand that he is my whole entire world now. Those who are okay with infrequent meet ups and occasional texts while I figure out this whole motherhood thing (actually I may never figure it out all the way, but I’m trying). Those who are willing to still be my friend even though many things are different and to get to know the boy I love with everything in me, on his good days and bad days and everything in between.


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