An honest take on life and parenthood

In the Company of Friends

on March 5, 2014


No one tells you that motherhood is lonely at first. That first year was so hard.

When I became a new mother, I was so consumed by figuring out how to care for a new baby that female companionship fell by the wayside.

I didn’t realize how much I needed my friends until they were gone. When I looked up and suddenly found myself alone, I felt an ache.

The connection to my friends wasn’t about asking questions on what to do for certain child care issues. Everyone has a different answer anyway. It was really just being able to sit there and be someone other than a milk source or diaper changer or baby bouncer.

To just be me again. To talk about topics that interested me or made me laugh.

Of course, my friends never went away. I was the one who dropped off the earth for a while.

Gone were the long, delicious conversations over the phone to connect and gossip and laugh and talk. Too hard to do attending to a baby, and nearly impossible with a toddler in constant mischief and bodily peril, who used screams and incessant whining to get her needs met. Uninterrupted phone calls with friends became a thing of my past. (And still are, if I am being honest.)

Outings to coffeeshops and restaurants were unpredictable and prone to disaster, so that changed too. Meeting up for coffee or a meal could be scheduled, but it sometimes had to be cut short with an unpredictable little one in tow, and with an eye to child-friendly environments.

Even emails fell by the wayside. I used to love writing long emails to friends to catch up, particularly the ones in different countries or time zones. That, too, changed. Just a few lines had to do when I could get to it, and hope that people understood. And if not, well, I had to accept that I couldn’t give as much to my friends as I did before, no matter how much I wanted to.

My time allocation shifted by necessity, and rightfully so. My best time and energy went to my marriage, my child, and my work. Then I took care of the business of daily living and possibly some exercise (always an effort for me to get in.) Then I could decide what to do with the time and energy left over. Most of the time, there was a whole menu of things to do and not much left in my energy piggy bank.

My friendships are still important, but I have had to change my expectations of how I conduct them and the amount of time I spend on them. At first, I felt guilty (it’s so easy to make me feel guilty!) but now, I am at peace with it.

Now, the time that I spend with friends is all the more precious, since there isn’t much of it.

An old friend from college was in town a few weekends ago. A superstar corporate lawyer and married mother of two, it was a rare treat to sit with her, just the two of us, and have drinks and dinner together uninterrupted.

And – it must be said – without the company of our husbands or little ones.

I last saw her over a year ago. We exchange one line texts every six months. We squeeze in a quick phone call about once or twice a year, which always gets cut off.

Yet the lack of communication didn’t hamper our evening together. As soon as I saw her, we started talking and didn’t stop until three hours later when I dropped her off at her hotel.

To have an unfettered, honest conversation with a good friend who gets it, who you don’t need to impress, who you can talk to without fearing judgment – what bliss!

We talked about work, marriage, kids, families, money, friends, dreams, and anything else that came up. We let it all hang out, the fun stuff and the difficult stuff, and the problems we didn’t know how to solve.

I didn’t ask her for advice or what to do, and she didn’t ask me either.

We listened to each other. That’s it.

No need to put up a front of success or happiness or answers. We could just be the truest version of ourselves and enjoy each other’s company.

It’s been over three weeks since I saw her, and I still feel a warm heartlight glow from my time with her.

So, to all of my lovely friends out there, thank you for still being there after all these years and all these life changes. I don’t know what I’d do without you.


friendship fingers

3 responses to “In the Company of Friends

  1. jgroeber says:

    I love this! A warm heartlight glow. Yes, that’s exactly it. We moved up to Massachusetts with a 2 1/2 year old, two nine month olds and a new pregnancy. How I missed my friends! Now they are all much bigger and I’ve made new friends who live near and found childcare to allow me to escape every year or so to gather with some friends who live far. If we’re lucky and we let them these friendships grow and change with us. Such a good thing to remember. Thank you for sharing!


  2. Melissa G. says:

    Friendship definitely changes after becoming a mother! I’ve lost some friendships, gained others, and found my way back to still more. It’s been different navigating this new world of friendships with more responsibility and less free time, but the time spent with my friends is much more rewarding now!


  3. Although I don’t have kids, I loved this post!


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