Can We Be Friends?

by Abby on September 21, 2011

FriendsI’m not proud of it, but I’ve written off potential friends for entirely superficial reasons. These include: anti-TV bumper stickers, wearing full makeup at the gym, dressing their toddler in all white, and wearing heels at the playground. We can’t be friends. It’ll never work. We’re too different.

As a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer starved for adult conversation, I should take all the friends I can get. But I’m exhausted. I barely have the time or energy to keep up with the ones I already have.

There’s no denying the fact that friendships change once you become a mom. My first clue that this was the case was when I took a writing class in my third trimester with my first baby. Another student and I hit it off right away. Although she was single, we had tons in common, and we even dressed alike in Converse and cargo pants. Of course, mine were maternity pants.

We tried to keep in touch after class, but then I had my baby. We met once for lunch, but I was so sleep-deprived and distracted I can’t remember a thing we talked about. I think we both knew it could never work. We were at 2 different life stages.

Of course, I do have friends who don’t have kids, but I don’t see much of them. It’s hard to meet for a spontaneous night out when you have to get a sitter, prepare bottles, and get up the next morning before dawn. So we settle for the occasional coffee now and then.

As my kids have gotten older, I have found that in some ways it’s easier to make new friends. If you find yourself at swim lessons or preschool pick-up week after week with the same people, you start to strike up conversations. My definition of friend has changed, too—I have connected with some great people online that I’ve known for years now and never met in person.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been wrong about people. That’s right, I admit it: I judged and I was wrong. One mom I wrote off for being a Pollyanna turned out to be a great person who’s actually not annoying at all. I am also friends with a TV-free mom—we even joke about it now. (If you want to know how she does it, the answer is: work full-time, sign your kid up for every activity you can think of, and listen to lots of audio books.)

And one day after I took my son to the park after a meeting I realized with horror that *I* was that mom at the playground wearing heels. I sure hope no one wrote me off for that. It was an anomaly—I swear, I’m normally just like you.

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