It’s no secret that the first person in a friend group to have kids usually has a tough time. They’re the first to experience all things baby and really have to navigate motherhood on their own. However, I want to also recognize the last person in a friend group to have kids. Because, let me tell you, I am her and it is also very tough.
The Good Old Days
I had my first child at age 32. While that’s not terribly old, it’s on the older side of average. I got married at the respectably median age of 26. My husband and I got plugged into a young married ministry at our church and found ourselves surrounded by 20 or 30 other newlywed couples. It was amazing having so many friends in our same season of life. We made incredible relationships with these people, and we all pretty much did everything together all the time.
But then it all changed when everyone started having children. I mean, ev. er. y. one. It seemed like all our friends were shooting out spawn a good 2-3 years before we did, but we just weren’t in a hurry to grow our family just yet. Of course, bringing children into any corner of your life is fun and exciting. I was genuinely thrilled for all my friends, and I truly do love and adore all of their children. But, inevitably, your friendships change when one of you becomes a mom. Motherhood does suck the life out of you, and you’re no longer footloose and fancy free able to drop everything at a moment’s notice for a pedicure, or heck–even just a phone call.
Umm..I like giraffes!
I wasn’t mad at everyone for moving on in their lives and not really having time for me or our friendship anymore. What really upset me was that everyone suddenly had this one thing in common that I couldn’t relate to. I can’t tell you how many times the conversation would turn to kids and I would sit there for what felt like hours with nothing to contribute. I would try to recall any nugget of information my sister-in-law or long distance best friend had told me about their kids to try to insert some story about “my niece” desperately trying to feel included. I felt like everyone could see straight through my miserable attempts to connect and it was borderline humiliating.
I also remember no less than 10,000 times that my friends would talk about something that happened “this weekend at the zoo when so and so and I met up with the kids.” Umm, hello? When did it become a requirement to have children to go to the zoo? I like giraffes! No one thought to invite me to zoo dates, too? It really hurt my feelings. Just like the first mama friend, I also felt like all my friends were in a different place in life, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t be part of it with them. It was so lonely.
Finally In The Club…But where is everyone?
When I finally got pregnant, I thought all my friendship problems would be over. I would be able to talk babies and breastfeeding with the best of them. Now, before I go on, I have to caveat that all my friends were absolutely amazing when I had my son. The outpouring of love and support (and clothes!) was so moving, and I felt so incredibly loved! However, as I was just starting my motherhood journey, they are now all raising toddlers. Who can walk. And only need to be home for one nap a day. While I’m over here feeding on demand in Mommy Nap Jail, they’re all at splash pads and the park and Story Time. Things my little guy won’t be ready for for…you know…2-3 years.
And then I feel dumb talking about the things that worry first time moms because they’ve all #beentheredonethat. When they all were consumed and confused by baby poop color, they had each other to commiserate with and figure it out together. And while they’re all happy to answer my questions, I can’t help but now feel really behind the curve. Still in a different stage. Still nothing I can do about it.
This Too Shall Pass
Maybe it’s just my personality that thrives on and longs for deep friendship connections, but I know this is just a difficult season that will eventually pass. I try to remind myself that my son is at that point where even just a few months difference in age between babies puts moms in totally different stages. But when my son is 3 and everyone else’s kids are 5 or 6, it won’t be that bad. Again, I don’t fault anyone for living their best life in the season they are in. Just don’t forget the last one in your friend group to become a mom. Because it’s just as tough as it was for the first.