Welcome to Momhood, where you’ll find a verklempt me. I miss my girlfriends, the fab Non-Moms with perfect nails, flowing coiffes, fresh ‘fits, and makeup expertly applied after hours of YouTube tutorials.
Now, I am a superwoman, racing around my apartment for hours while chasing after my charging toddler.
I’m also a super effing lonely first-time mom.
My single friends started to disappear with the first midnight feeding. It wasn’t for lack of trying—at first, there were lots of invitations, but they were coming to kvell over my baby, not to clink a glass of Whispering Angel. Happy hours, fancy dinners, concerts, barbecues, and girls trips were going on hiatus for a few seasons.
Quarantine is not so hard. I spent much of 2019 housebound with the baby while breastfeeding and pumping round-the-clock—that was hard. Now, I’m spending much of the socially distanced present far from the very friends I had hoped to finally hang with by my side.
Still, without sisters, it isn’t easy.
Less Time, Less Friends
According to a Child Magazine survey, 69 percent of women felt satisfied with their friendships before having kids; only 54 percent felt that way afterward.
The culprit? Less time to spare. The same study found that before becoming moms, women spent 14 hours per week with friends, compared to only five hours after.
Joanie Cox-Henry, a former celebrity reporter, says things got real when she welcomed her son, Jack, now 5.
“My friendships before I became a mom were totally different: I met up for happy hour, went to concerts with friends, took couples vacations, and endlessly shopped for shoes, clothes, and makeup,” says Cox-Henry, now a mom of two who blogs about her mom life for Motherloading.
“I could accept phone calls at any hour of the day and really be there for my crew. I worked as a fashion and beauty writer and would be at Miami nightclubs and red carpet events constantly.
“After I became a mom, I slowed down a lot. I was still popping bottles at 3am, but now they were baby bottles, and I became so excruciatingly tired. I used to think I was tired before, but after becoming a parent, you unlock a fatigue achievement level you never fathomed was possible.”
Tania Hammond, a stay-at-home mom of two, says she lost about “four or five friends” after welcoming her daughter in 2017, adding,“It’s so tough to work around my schedule.”
When non-moms invited her out, she answered, but with an interrogation. “‘Where are we going? What time? How long are we going to be there?’ And the reason why I’m asking all of those questions is because I’m on a schedule.”
Soon, the invites diminished. “I feel like they got frustrated and gave up, like, ‘Ugh. This is too difficult.’ When I was single, and I had mom friends, I feel like I was more understanding,” says Hammond. “I still hung out with them, and I flexed my schedule to match theirs. But, I feel like that was not reciprocated when I became a mom.”
When The Tables Turn
Chantie Khan-Enwright says she lost four friends when she became a mom at 25. That’s when the invites to party and hang into the wee hours were plenty. Now that her kid is 13, many of her thirtysomething friends are finally pushing strollers—and seeing what it’s like having virtually zero time to chill.
“Now they see the importance of getting a break and having adult time,” says Khan-Enwright, a work-from-home travel agent. “They” being the ride-or-die friends who toughed it out through Khan-Enwright’s busy mom years.
“My circle is really small, and the moms have kids at different ages.” They stick together, taking family trips, and carving out moms-only time within the getaways. Thinking back, Khan-Enwright says she doesn’t miss the pals who didn’t bother to stick around. “They were only there for a season,” she says, “cause now their reason is over.”
Finding A New Crew
After a bit of an adjustment period, now I’ve decided to leave the ones who left me in the rearview. No grudges. No side-eye. It’s okay, I tell myself, they’ll learn one day—or not.
I’ve miraculously managed to make new mom friends during the lockdown. One day, while taking my little one for a walk, I met a mom who looked so much like me, it was almost like looking in a mirror. She’s West Indian-American, too. Our little boys are also both curly-headed—literal bookends. We’ve managed socially distant playdates (with lots of Clorox wipes to clean the swings at the park), and we chat about our old lives and long for the day when we can spill wine on each other in a crowded bar.
Another day, yet another mom came pushing her son down the block in his toy car—she’s a Korean fashion designer mourning her employer, Ann Taylor’s, filing for bankruptcy. We connected over our shared love of European travel and brioche. Lots of brioche.
We three find solace in knowing we’re all equally tired, worried, happy, and thankful. The beginnings of a new sisterhood.
We’ll all be okay.
Images: Sai De Silva / Unsplash
I get it. You have just performed The Miracle of Life and
you have run out of wedding pictures to post you want to let the world know. I don’t blame you for wanting to post a picture (or two, or 35) of your adorable little baby who’s definitely not only cute to you and your husband. But because all of us are oversaturated with endless content, just how much should you be sharing? If you want to be a cool mom and not a regular mom (or dad), here are some guidelines to posting pictures of your baby on social media.
Think About How Often You’re Sharing
I’m going to start with a hard truth: beyond the obligatory birth announcement and occasional posts marking milestones, the vast majority of your Instagram and Facebook (ew) followers are not all that fascinated by the daily goings-on of your spawn. Your mini-me is alert? Glad to hear it. Your little one just rolled over? Cool. So did my dog, like five times today, but I didn’t feel compelled to broadcast it on social media. (I cannot confirm or deny whether I saved the video and watched it a dozen times that week, however.)
But seriously, as much as the world loves a cute baby, anything in excess tends to become irritating. It’s like that couple that never misses an opportunity to post about how in love they are. It’s kind of sweet at the beginning, and you genuinely feel happy that these two people found each other. But when they continue to post week after week about #bae, #mcm and work up to weekly countdowns to the day that they “get to marry my best friend!” the novelty has worn off. The same goes for posting pictures of your baby, no matter how adorable. Your mom and dad may want daily updates, but I can assure you that your larger circle and the random drunk girls you bonded with in a club bathroom six years ago do not. Anything more often than biweekly is too much, IMO.
Think About The Way You’re Sharing
One of my biggest frustrations with platforms like Instagram is how in-your-face the feeds can be. I’ll open the app with the intention of
stalking someone searching for a specific meme or post, and I immediately forget why the hell I logged on because I am visually assaulted with pictures of the kids of people I went to high school with who I barely even speak to anymore. Is this really necessary? No, because the Instagram gods have blessed us with the story function. If you really can’t help yourself and feel pathologically inclined to take to social media every time your baby passes gas, you now have an outlet that is easy to find and 100% less obnoxious. The people that are baby-obsessed can check it whenever they like and everyone else people like me can kindly skip over it when we prefer to focus on the food porn and cyber creeping we came for. Everybody wins!
Think About Why You’re Sharing
Let’s be real. We aren’t posting things like selfies or luxurious vacation pictures because we feel it is our sworn duty to keep our followers informed. We all want validation; it’s only human. But when this desire for approval turns into a daily or weekly spamming of your circle with posts, pictures, texts, and snaps of your baby, fatigue naturally ensues, and the compliments start sounding as enthusiastic as Kourtney Kardashian when she says anything. I try not to pay compliments just for the sake of doing so, but not everyone is as
cold-hearted conservative as I am. When faced with an unsolicited baby pic, it’s hard not to immediately rattle off some praise because the alternative silence just feels rude. If you’re economical with what you do share, it will be more impactful, and you can be sure that any positive feedback you get is from the heart.
And if you’re finding you constantly need the validation that comes from social media, it might be time to reassess and take a step back. Too often, we become so obsessed with capturing every little moment that we forget to actually experience the experience. At the risk of sounding like a yoga instructor coming off an ayurvedic cleanse, try putting the phone down the first time your baby smiles and take some space to let the feelings of joy fully wash over you for a change. OK, back to your regularly scheduled snark.
Think About What You Are Sharing
One of the worst things about social media is that users get to curate what they share with the world. Not only does projecting the image of a perfect life make those around you depressed, it’s also inherently false. None of us are perfect, yet so many of us have portrayed our lives that way at times, me included. Yet one of my favorite people to follow on social media is someone who posts the various ways her toddler terrorizes her—tantrums, drawing on the walls of the house, cutting her hair without permission, etc. I enjoy these posts not just because they are hilarious, but also because they are relatable. They’re also a lot more original than the token serene-baby-as-flower pics. Sorry, Anne Geddes. It’s also important to keep in mind that as your baby gets older, he or she may not appreciate the fact that you stuck angel wings on their butt-naked self and shared it with hundreds, if not thousands, of your nearest and dearest. Thanks, mom and dad.
Parenting a newborn:
50% changing diapers
80% becoming so sleep deprived that you forget how to do basic math
— Lurkin’ Mom (@LurkAtHomeMom) June 24, 2015
Think About Who You’re Sharing It With
While posting pictures of your baby on social media might make you feel happy, the same can’t always be said for your peers receiving it. Just like a barrage of Valentine’s Day posts makes your single friends feel down, too-frequent baby posts can have a similar effect. For the acquaintance who just lost a baby to a miscarriage, or friend who is struggling to get pregnant, viewing a seemingly never-ending feed of other people’s children can be at best, bittersweet and at worst, downright agonizing. We are all entitled to share our bliss, but it’s important to be sensitive and respectful with our sharing, too. If you’re public and allow the literal world to see what you post, it’s also important to exercise caution. I
definitely may have watched too many episodes of Law & Order: SVU, but it’s hard to deny that we live in a world with a lot of sick people. It is worth considering that before you go live or tag your location with your little one.
To be clear, it’s not that I don’t like looking at cute baby pictures—I have several friends with children who post frequently, and I like their posts
sometimes every time. But I do believe a little mindfulness and moderation go a long way, and that social media would be a better place if we all adopted a sharing philosophy that’s less Kim Kardashian and more Fran Fine:
Images: Dakota Corbin / Unsplash; dizzle_saint_james / Instagram; LurkAtHomeMom / Twitter; Giphy(3)