It’s no secret that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s not only necessary for your survival as a mother, but it means having comrades that understand you. Fellow moms know the good, bad and ugly of child rearing all too well. Mom friends are the ones that will happily partake in lengthy discussions about your child’s bowel movements. They text you when there is a Cartwheel coupon for diapers and they always have fruit snacks on hand. But what if your village is made up primarily of non-mom friends?
For me, the number of non-mom friends outweigh the number of mom friends in my village. These friends are the ones that knew me before I had a baby and their friendships mean everything to me. But now that my title has changed, my friendships have changed too. Simply put, there are some things that my non-mom friends just don’t understand.
- Parenting is hard. Being a parent is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I’m responsible for another human life and those responsibilities never stop, even when I’m away from my child. Don’t get me wrong though, I love being a mother. I just don’t always like it. I get tired, fed up and burnt out on the daily battle of “no, you can’t lick your shoe.” So while you may hear me complain, please don’t think I don’t love being a mom. I just wish the job came with a vacation day… or two.
- I can’t “just get a babysitter.” Do you know how much a babysitter costs? It’s an average of $15 to $20 an hour! That’s expensive, especially when we are already paying an arm and a leg for daycare. Not to mention that leaving my child with someone else requires me to find someone that I like and trust. Someone that can handle my tiny-terrorist of a toddler and someone that is available at the exact time and date that I need. So, how about we plan something when my husband is back from his work trip?
- Yes, I got your text. No, I didn’t respond. Especially if you texted between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. when I’m in the midst of dinner and bedtime routines. So while I know you are anxious to tell me about your new Zumba class, I need you to be patient with me. I will talk to you again. I promise. But right now, I’m trying to wrangle a booger-covered kid into the bath.
- Your dog is nothing like a baby. I know pets require a lot of work. You have to care for them, feed them and love them. But let me reassure you that dogs and babies are not the same. Sure, your pup may wake you in the middle of the night, but are you responsible for shaping him into a kind, respectful, decent human being? No. And since I can’t leave my kid in a kennel and check on him during my lunch break, I need the comparison to stop. Unless, of course you don’t believe me, then I’ll happily trade you for the next 24 hours.
- I don’t listen to your parenting advice. Remember when we use to sit in restaurants and roll our eyes at the mom with the screaming child? Well, I’m now that mom. I’ve sat through a meal, screaming child in tow, because I just needed to get out of the house and enjoy a meal cooked by someone else. Sometimes motherhood is about survival. When you’re desperate and you’ve been awake longer than you have been asleep, you’ll do anything. Even the things you said you would never do. And when it works, you keep doing them. So thank you for your advice on what your co-worker’s sister’s best friend said, but you can keep it to yourself until you too are trying to teach your toddler that it’s not funny to stick their fingers up other people’s noses.
- I’m still fun. Not only are the “I miss the old you” comments hurtful, but they make me sad. Just because I gave birth, doesn’t mean my ability to have fun is gone. Trust and believe, girl, I can still drop it like it’s hot. It just needs to be scheduled at a time where my hungover self doesn’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. the next day because someone’s diaper exploded in his bed.
- Tell me about your life. Yes, we are at completely different points and yes, 80 percent of the time I feel as though I can no longer relate to you, but please, please, PLEASE tell me about your life. Tell me about your spontaneous road trip. Tell me about this new guy you met on Tinder. Tell me about the $300 purse you bought for yourself, just because. I need some kind of reprieve from the diapers, bottles and mutterings of train noises to feel human again. Plus, I enjoy hearing what makes you happy.
- Don’t give up on me. I know I post WAY too many pictures of my munchkin. I don’t own a shirt that doesn’t have spit up or drool somewhere on it and I’m still rocking my nursing bras because I haven’t had time to go shopping. I get it. But please, don’t give up on me. Please don’t quit being my friend, because right now, I need you more than I’ve ever needed you. I need my friends to pull me through these trenches. I need the comedic relief from the endless Daniel Tiger episodes and I need you to let me cry when I feel like I’ve completely failed my child. Being my friend now that I’m a mom is the best thing you can do, so please don’t stop.