High school was hard. You’re struggling to find out who you are in a building with hundreds of other kids. If you’re lucky, and I was, you find a core group of girls that become your best friends. You grow up together. In college, you meet all new friends and struggle to maintain ties with your best friends from high school. In your twenties…. oh, your twenties…. you actually find out who you are and for better or worse, who your real friends are. They are a mix between the high school girls and the college girls. This whole process highlights who is really there for you and by nature your “group” becomes smaller. As you reach the end of your twenties, you meet your husband (your new best friend) and you get married. Insert another struggle to maintain ties with your girlfriends who may or may not be married as well. And then you have kids.
Well, before you have kids, you have a baby. And before you have a baby, you’re pregnant. And seriously… nothing in your life has prepared you for what is happening. Your husband (your best friend) has no clue either. He can’t even imagine or really sympathize, nor does he probably want to most of the time. He doesn’t want to know about all the aches and pains and weird stuff happening to your body. So here comes this friend. Here comes your Mom friend. She is your friend who is also pregnant or maybe was pregnant within the last year. She is the only one. She is the only one who can give you what you need right now. Call it sympathy. Call it understanding. A lot of times it’s commiseration.
Your Mom friend is the only one who will respond to your pregnant text of “I just sneezed and peed all over myself” with “Yes! I did that last week!” She’s the only one that you can ask about this weird post-baby symptom you’re having without being embarrassed or going through the hassle of calling your doctor. When she says “yep I had that happen to me with my first” it’s like all is well in the world. She’s the only one who cares how long your baby slept last night and whether or not you had to nurse every time you went in to soothe her back to sleep. If you were successful in putting her back to sleep without nursing, she wants details on how in the world you even did this and you will text her with the answer which includes exactly how many bounces you did and how loud your hum was and then how when you laid her back down you put her left leg on the crib first and did a sort of tuck and roll to release her onto her crib mattress. Because clearly that was the trick that did it. She wants to see pictures of your baby and she wants to know what milestones your baby hit this week. She is the one who will respond to a “No one is napping” text with “Ugh. That is the worst! I’m sorry” because she understands. She knows that is actually the worst thing ever because she’s experienced it recently. And she is the one who will text you a picture of her kid’s poop in the toilet because this was the best thing that happened to her all day.
To be honest, no one else cares about this stuff. Your friends with older children have been there and done it and either don’t remember or don’t want to remember all those little details. These little details are pretty much all that make up your life right now. Your friends without kids just don’t understand. This isn’t a slam against them; it’s just true that they have never experienced the worst thing ever (which is when your kid skips a nap). But your Mom friend that has babies the same age as yours… they get it. They understand. They want to know whether your kid fell asleep on the way home from your play date in the car and whether you were able to successfully transfer to the crib (the answer is always no for me). They want to know what sippy cups you’re using and what didn’t work. They want to know whether you will wake your baby and feed her or let her sleep (omg let her sleep). They want to know that you only got .5 oz. when you pumped this morning and that you’re going to try oatmeal and more water to increase your milk supply. They want to know if it works. They want to know that you spilled that .5 oz. while trying to reach for your phone and that you cried real tears over the spilled milk. They want to know all of these things because you are literally in this together and trying to figure it all out.
It’s not that no one else in your life cares about you. They totally do. Your husband can certainly understand a lot of what you’re going through but I think guys just don’t share as many details about their day as girls do. I have no clue what my husband ate for lunch but most days I can tell you what my friend’s babies had and whether or not they threw it all over the floor. People just have a million other things going on in their lives that don’t have to do with babies so these seemingly small details about your day can’t possibly hold a candle to the deadline they are trying to meet or the vacation they are trying to plan. Or the hot cup of coffee they are trying to drink because they can. Sometimes I forget what it’s like to have something else to do besides take care of a baby and a toddler. Does coffee still come hot?
I am grateful for the Mom friends in my life. I have quite a few of them. We all help each other. We give each other advice and tell each other what’s working and what’s failing in our world of babies. Sometimes we just need to hear what we want to hear. Most of my texts to my Mom friends will result in one of two responses. I’ll either get a “ugh… awful” or “yay! Go Cora!” I need these Moms in my life. I guess right now, texting them is the thing I do besides take care of a baby and a toddler and I am so fortunate that I’m sharing these years of my life with every single one of them. You all know who you are.
P.S. As I finished writing this, my toddler decided for the first time ever to climb out of his crib. You can bet that the text “Leo just jumped out of his crib” went out to several of my Mom friends and I got what I was looking for. The responses quickly came back, “Nooooooooooooo!” and “Omg.” They got it. They got that the second worst thing ever just happened.