Ask the Mamas: Saving Friendships Post-Baby

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the mamas? If so, send us an email with your question to askthemamas@mamasaywhat.com.

MSW reader Jackie asks:

“I’m a single, childless woman and my good friend just had her first baby. I want us to keep our friendship, even though the dynamics have changed. What can I do to maintain our friendship?”

  • First of all, it’s wonderful that you want to work on keeping your friendship with your friend and realize that she’s a new mama and things will be changing. It’s definitely difficult to maintain friendships after a little one comes into the picture, but there are many things you can both do. You can offer to make meals for your friend every so often and stay and visit for a bit when you drop them off. Call your friend and ask how she is doing or shoot her an email every so often. Talk to her significant other and see if he or she can stay home with the baby for a few hours while you two go out some night and have dinner or drinks. Most importantly, be patient while your friend is learning to navigate how to be a new mama! It’s a tough transition for some and even though things might never be back to the “normal” that you both remember, it’s entirely possible to keep your friendship strong. ~Mary Ellen M.
  • Motherhood is different for everyone. Some mamas will want to take the baby everywhere they go. Some mamas will not mind to leave a baby with a sitter or family member to enjoy dinner and a movie with a friend. Whatever type of mama your friend is, be supportive. Your normal night out may now be a night at her house so she can put the baby to bed and then visit after. Just try to be patient and adjust the dynamic of your relationship as you feel it’s needed. Your mama friend will thank you for it! ~Amanda P.

  • I totally agree with Amanda, it’s going to be different for every mama. Be patient and be a good listener. Becoming a mama is huge and completely changes your priorities in life. Understand that your friend may not want to spend any time away from her baby, so any outings you may take may include her baby and revolve around feeding times and nap times. If she wants to go out and spend time away from her baby, let her make that decision. Don’t ever make her choose between spending time with you and spending time with her baby; you will likely loose that battle. Just be supportive and try your best to be patient. Also, don’t ignore her either… thinking that she will call you when she’s ready to hang out. As a new mama, I was a little uncomfortable asking my non-mama friends if they wanted to come over and hang out so I could have some adult interaction. I didn’t really want to go anywhere, I just wanted someone to talk to. So keep calling and stopping by like you normally would.  ~Alex T.
  • Be patient, willing to listen to her go on and on about the changes in her life. Becoming a mama is huge… it consumes your life. For a little while, at least, it may be all she can think to talk about. Be patient if it doesn’t seem like she can wrap her mind around anything else. Most of all… DON’T forget to call her. She’s a mama, not a hermit. If she’s anything like I was, she will be desperate to hear from her old friends. Invite her out, go visit her, bring a bottle of wine after bedtime… whatever it takes to keep her in the loop! She’ll appreciate that more than anything. ~Kate D.
  • I think it’s wonderful that you’re worried about keeping your bond with your friend after baby. I myself have lost a touch with a lot of my childless friends because of life’s changes. I think one thing a lot of people think is “you can leave your baby with a sitter and we’ll go to a wine tasting.” Well, the truth is a lot of new mamas do not want to leave their babies. You can plan activities close to the new mama’s house where she can bring the baby. My best friends are childless and they always include my girls in their plans. They never make me feel like I have to choose them over my babies. They treat my kids as if they are their nieces. Lend your ear even if she’s told you over and over again about the baby not sleeping. New mamas need emotional support over anything else.  ~Bonnie N.

  • From a mom’s prospective, I truly enjoy some non-baby/barf/poo talk. Seriously, talk to me about dating, current events, your period…. Basically ANYTHING other than baby/kid stuff. It’s refreshing and I appreciate it. Just promise me you won’t be offended if I’m yawning at 9 p.m.; I’m not bored! I just never get to sleep, EVER. But don’t point out how crappy I look or that I have about 17 toys in my purse! ~Angie W.
  • You have the right expectation that the dynamics will be different. The dynamics I have with almost everyone has changed. I am a different person because of parenthood and I see the world from a different perspective, and my interests have completely changed, but I still like my friends and want them! There are so many things you can still do with a new mom, with or without the baby.  Your friend can go shopping with you while pushing the stroller. At the mall, you can chat with her while she feeds the baby in the women’s lounge. You can tend to the stroller while she uses the restroom or trying on clothes. You guys can still dine out, with or without the baby. You can certainly visit her at her house or take a stroll at the park with her. There are few things that new moms can’t do as long as they have their husbands’ support. She can even go clubbing if she’s interested, if her husband can watch the baby for a night. Just be prepared… she might be talking about her kid, A LOT. I try to avoid the kids topic when I’m around childless women, but it is hard as that’s the only thing on my mind, especially with a new baby. If you don’t mind talking about kids, you can initiate the conversation so that she knows you are interested. She may not have a lot of time for face to face time, or even phone calls, so utilize text messages, emails or Facebook to keep in touch with her. I love those! They don’t require a block of interrupted time… a luxury for moms. The only thing to watch out for —be careful not to give her unsolicited advice about parenting, no matter how much you’ve learned from your sisters or friends. I think that stands even after you have children! ~Rebecca S.

  • Be her friend. I think the hardest thing for me was trying to be the one to still initiate contact after N was born. Some days, before I knew it, it was 12 a.m. and way too late to call most of my friends or I was exhausted. If she is a good friend (which I assume she is, since you are asking), call her, post on her Facebook timeline, text her, Tweet her, whatever. Let her know you are thinking about her. Still include her. Just because she had a kid doesn’t mean her life is over. Always still invite her and let her make the decision to go or not. Don’t make the decision for her, because from her end, it will seem like you don’t want her there since she didn’t get the invite. Call her up randomly, tell her you are on your way and picking up her favorite meal. Bringing her meals, especially in the first weeks and months is more than helpful. Not only is she getting some nourishment, but some company. Offer to watch the baby so she can shower or pick up the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but any little thing helps. A lot of times people are so excited to meet the baby that the mama kinda feels left out. Always ask her how the kid is doing. Knowing that you are interested in all aspects of her life will let her know that you are safe to talk to. And I promise… she won’t always want to talk about the baby… but those first few months she will. The baby will be consuming her life at first. She will want to brag and vent. Just listen. Eventually she will want to talk about something else. Trust me. I know most of these things seem trivial and like no-brainers, but in the heat of the moment, they are what is forgotten. Being a friend means being there through the rough patches and sticking it out til you get to the sunshine again. Becoming a mama is a HUGE transition for a woman and is a little scary. Knowing you have someone in your corner rooting you on can make all of the difference. ~Cari H.

 

The advice given here is solely based on our individual experiences and in no way is it going to be perfect for every mama, every baby, and every situation. None of us are medical doctors. If you have a question regarding a medical topic we can give our opinions, but please consult with your doctor. We are not liable or responsible for the results of following any specific advice in any given situation.

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By Alex T.

Alex is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area currently living in Utah with her hubby where she's a work-at-home-mom to her rambunctious son TJ (born Oct 09). She loves to travel, loves art and art history, soccer, photography, and is a little bit of a foodie. When she's not chasing after her son or working for Mama Say What?!, she's running her graphic design and illustration business. Check out her website and her Etsy shop, alextebowdesigns.etsy.com to see the most recent projects she's done.

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