Motherhood Shows You Who Your Friends Are

motherhood shows you who your friends are

When I became a mom, the question of where I stood took centre stage in my life. In those early months of motherhood, I struggled to find my footing as a new parent in a strikingly literal (and comical) sense.

During those “new mom” months, I discovered that changing my daughter’s diaper while in a sleep-deprived fog might cause me to drop said diaper and, in attempting to retrieve it, step full-bore into the used side of the diaper. Likewise, I discovered that walking around the house barefoot might end with me resting my full weight on a Lego and yelping in pain after.

Once the new mom haze had dissipated, I felt a new pull to assess my footing in a broader sense. I had always observed how esteemed (or not) I was in my relationships. However, once I had children, I realized that everyone I let into my life influenced my mood and, consequently, the mood with which I parented.

To put it plainly, if I was busy putting out fires set by difficult people, I wouldn’t have the focus I needed to be the mother I wanted to be. With that in mind, I began surveying my relationships, taking note of which ones sheltered me during life’s storms and which ones were the storms themselves.

One relationship that had become surprisingly treacherous terrain after I became a mom was that of my friendships. My girlfriends had consistently brought me great joy throughout my life. Given my high regard for my friends, I resisted the warning of a sage mom acquaintance that, once I had children, I would notice a chill among some of my (single and childless) long-time friends. I did not believe that any such chill would occur as I did not have friends who begrudged other people their life choices. Or so I thought.

Soon after I became a mother, one long-time and non-mom friend floored me by announcing that she couldn’t go out with me anymore because “a wingwoman can’t be someone’s mom.” Unaware both of this “fact” and that I was serving as someone’s wingwoman, I mourned the loss of that friendship with an equal measure of bewilderment and heartache.

Still, other friends spent hours seeking my opinion on every detail of their dating mishaps but could barely find time to ask about my day or ask to see my baby. Ever. This growing lopsidedness in my friendships gripped me with feelings of resentment that often—and unfortunately—distracted me from my child.

Eventually, this troubling chapter gave way to an empowering conclusion: I had control over whether I befriended supportive—or unfriended self-serving—people.

With that newfound clarity, I ended my one-sided friendships and joined several new mom groups in search of more reciprocal relationships. I opened up to strangers in the hopes of connecting with women who were living the same kinds of struggles and victories that I was experiencing in my day-to-day as a mom.

Finding my so-called Mom Crew didn’t happen overnight. However, in time and with the patience that I had prayed for and received, my search bore fruit when the first member of my Mom Crew found me.

I met my first Mom Crew friend at the park. She approached me, introduced herself, remarked that we had kids the same age, and suggested a playdate. With that simple but much-needed extension of friendship, outings went on to become enjoyable for the children and moms alike, and I met someone whose embrace of motherhood’s complexities inspires me to this day.

Since meeting that first Mom Crew member, she and I have befriended other supportive moms. For the past decade, my Mom Crew and I have stood by each other in the good times and the bad.

When one of us was knocked down by heart-wrenching marital problems, the rest of us huddled around her, offering our encouragement, our time, and our own stories of tribulations overcome.

When one of us was silenced by a haughty school official who ignored an escalating concern at our children’s school, our best email writer fired off an email that got the school official to resolve the matter quickly.

My Mom Crew and I bring our strengths to our group not only for our sake but for the sake of our children, as well. Our most creative member plans outings that nourish our children’s sense of wonder; and each of us cares for the other’s kids when one of us is sick or has to attend a meeting mid-day.

I cherish my Mom Crew for helping me to maintain my perspective while I navigate the joys and frustrations of motherhood. This sense of balance allows me to be at my most present for my children, instead of wasting time mulling over the slights of lesser friendships.

My kids, in turn, have benefited from this more-grounded version of Mommy in leaps and bounds, and I have my mom pals to thank for it.



This piece was originally published on Her View From Home.



  1. Maria on January 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    There is so much truth in piece I found myself nodding at every sentence. I dont have time to be someone doormat anymore or to feed the needs of “vampire friends.” Thank you for helping me to acknowledge that and to continue to prioritize caring and nurturing relationships!

  2. Faith Ann Brandt on February 8, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Thank you for your article. Motherhood does not have to be an us-against-them scenario between moms and “non-moms”. As non-mom friend, I feel reciprocality was lacking in the opposition direction. I never burdened my friend with my single women problems. I was there for my best friend through both her children’s births, hosted two baby showers, and baby-sat regularly to give her an afternoon off. My best friend was still my wing-woman, it just came with her kids in tow. I met her at the mall instead of the bar. We had BBQs at her house and danced in her living room.

    Our friendship was very reciprocal. Her kids thought it was so funny to surprise me on Saturdays after hanging out too late the night before. They would knock on my bedroom window to wake me up, laugh, and visit the park by my house. All this change when she moved out of state. Arizona is not far from New Mexico. We parted ways promising that we would visit each other. I held up my end of deal and visit her several times and supported her as I always had. But in Arizona she struggled adapting to a new city and there was no more back and forth. Our friendship became one-sided with me spending my money and vacation to visit and maintain the friendship at the same level.

    I see now that this was a mistake to make so many trips to Arizona, when I could have easily visited my other friends that are waiting on me to visit them. But it was so hard to see my best friend struggle as single mom. She could not come to New Mexico, because of drama with the children’s father. I understood this.

    Twice she made plans to visit New Mexico; twice she gave me an excuse that is was impossible to come, only to travel to California to see her real sister for the very same weekend. It was hurtful. She says she is not mobile, but she travels all the time back and forth to California. I encouraged her to make mom-friends and to build a network. I gently recommended to reach out to resources at her work for counseling to help with the stress, because I couldn’t be there. We all need crew. She did find her Mom Crew and soon after our friendship faded away.

    When she backed out of her second planned visit to New Mexico, I was really hurt. I understand she needs to be some place to calm her soul, but it also important to also be careful of feelings of others, especially friends that have remained loyal to you. I don’t have children. My job is not very stressful or challenging or fulfilling. Maybe from her point of view as single mother with a demanding job, my life is a breeze. I am in 40s and my life is pretty easy, but it also filled with a deep fear, loneliness, and lots of bad choices that we single people get ourselves into attempting make our lives meaningful.

    My friend did not handle it well when I expressed my disappointment and allowed my anger to surface. She got defensive when I express my feelings. She said that she did not owe me anything. She reminded me that her kids were her priority. When the conversation got heated, she exclaimed to me of the fact that she has a very demanding job. I was told to fuck off and then promptly unfriended on social media when I would not back down. I held my ground on the stance that was ok for me to be upset.

    That night I felt horrible. I know better not to use apps like Google Hangouts and Messenger to engage in conflict. When I got to work the next day, I spent the morning writing her the most thoughtful email. That same morning she sent me a final message. I ignored it to finish my thoughts and to avoid another downward spiral chat thread. After work I read her message. She told me that I lost yet another friend with her. Which is fine, she followed-up, because I have unhealthy expectations for my friends. She is hurting, I know, but do not take your pain out on the people who have stood by you.

    At the end, I lost my best friend by trying to be a best friend. And I write this essay now in response to an essay on how motherhood shows us our real friends to give a perspective from a non-mom friend. I feel it is so important to not lose our compassion for each other, moms and non-moms alike. Life for a non-mom may appear easy to all the stresses that come with motherhood and for the most part it is. It does not give moms an upper-hand all the time when it comes to who has it worse. Motherhood does not change that fact that my feelings and struggles are real. We are all have our bad days and we all need a crew.

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