What (really) Happens When Your BFF is a Non-Mom
May 15, 2016
When you get the news that you’re pregnant and going to be a mommy, your BFF might be the first (or second) person you call to tell the big news. You’re expecting and you can’t wait to share it with her. After all, you guys do everything together. You finish each other’s sentences, have a secret handshake, and now, you’ll welcome a new bambino together, too. But after nine long months of doctor appointments, cravings, sleepless nights and swollen feet, the baby enters your lives and the pal you once thought was attached to your hip, suddenly takes a back seat. If your BFF is a non-mom, here are a few tips to help ease you both into your new reality as a party of three:
Prepare for a schedule change with your BFF. If you usually text your BFF every five seconds, spend time together every day or set aside time on the weekends exclusively for BFF activities, prepare for a schedule change. When baby arrives, not only will your family need time to bond and get to know each other, but you’ll also be (so) tired, taking every opportunity to sleep when the baby does (per the doc’s orders). Let your BFF know that you’re not shutting her out intentionally; you’re just trying to learn how to keep another little human being alive and tend to their every waking need. Let your BFF know how she can offer support in a way you need. That might mean telling your BFF to show you how much they love you by doing your dishes or folding the laundry you didn’t get to in between feedings. Your routine with a new baby will change, and your routine with your BFF will need some modification too. Babies can be unpredictable, but lucky for you, BFFs are usually a sure thing.
Understand that your BFF may not always understand. Part of what makes two people great friends is solidarity, commonalities, empathy and each person’s ability to relate to what the other is going through. But when you have a baby and your BFF is a non-mom, understand that she might not always understand what you’re going through. Some things – like staying up for 24 hours with a screaming, colicky infant – can only be fully understood by experiencing the misery first-hand. Your BFF may not always “get it” but that doesn’t mean she can’t help or support you as you go through it. Welcoming a new baby into your life is one of the most intense biological and emotional experiences a woman can go through. But it really does take a village and your BFF is part of that support system.
It’s normal to be a little jealous of your non-mom BFF. Don’t push away your BFF just because they got a full night’s sleep and you didn’t. It’s normal to be a little jealous of their non-mom life (the life you used to live) of staying up late to binge watch a show on Netflix, sleep until noon on a Saturday, or not be the life source for another human being. Any new mom would feel nostalgic about her former, pre-baby life and a BFF can be a glaring reminder of how you used to be. But she might be jealous of you, too.
Don’t brag too often about your “Mom Friends.” Becoming a mom is a great way to make new friends with other women going through the same experiences you are, but you don’t want to make your non-mom BFF feel left out. Remind your non-mom BFF that you (and she) probably have other things in common with your “Mom Friends” that have nothing to do with motherhood. Encourage them to get to know each other and learn more about their common interests.
Remember you’re still you. Having a new baby can make you feel like a shell of your former self. It can take some time to feel “normal” again and sometimes that doesn’t happen right away. Your BFF isn’t going anywhere, and sometimes she’s the person who can most get you in touch with who you were before baby came along. Pull out that secret handshake. You’re still you, mom or not.