When you have a baby, your whole world shifts.
When I was pregnant, I could sense the change. Not my growing belly, though that was plain to see. There was also a palpable shift in my relationships with my closest friends, particularly those who didn't have kids.
I could see an invisible wedge slowly take up residence between us, and it only got more apparent after the baby came. There were hug-filled visits, there were beautifully wrapped gifts, there were offers to help and cook and clean, and then, all of a sudden, there were periods of silence that felt truly deafening.
Becoming a mom was one of the greatest things to happen to me, but it certainly wasn't without some casualties.
Not surprisingly, long-distance friendships were the first to take a hit — save for the occasional comment on a Facebook post, it was just impossible to keep up. But when I started to see that even my best friends weren't quite the same around me, I realized that there was a lot of misinformation and half-truths about what it's like to be a mom and the friend of one.
Here, a few things I hope my child-free besties know about me now.
1. I'm terrible at email.
If I don't reply to your email in a timely fashion (read: three weeks, minimum), please don't be resentful. It's not that I'm not interested or not thinking about it. It's just that having one free hand, never mind two, to type a response is a rarity.
Another tip: the longer the message, the longer it'll take me to respond. If you want a quick response, I'm oddly much better at texting.
2. You shouldn't assume I don't know what's going on in the world.
I may be a few episodes behind on a show we both love (please stop with the spoilers), and I probably won't read that 5,000-word Slate article you told me about for another few days, but I do still try to keep up with news, pop culture, and politics. So what if most of that is through Facebook and Instagram.
3. I can still be spontaneous. It's rare, but it's possible.
When I see that you went to the modern art museum last weekend, I admit I get a tinge of jealousy — not just because I've been wanting to see that new exhibit ever since I read about it online but also because I happened to be bored out of my mind last weekend and would love to have joined you. It's true that most of the time, I can't stop what I'm doing to meet up, but don't give up on me completely.
4. I didn't invite you because I didn't think you'd want to come.
Just like I can feel snubbed for not getting a heads up about an after-work happy hour that we both know I wouldn't be able to attend, I need to remember that you might "just want to be asked" too. The next time I have a bagel brunch with moms from playgroup, I'll be sure to include you. But if I forget (which is sadly a distinct possibility), know it's not because I don't want you there.
5. I don't want you to talk about the things you think I want you to talk about.
You probably assume that whenever we chat, the conversation has to revolve around my little bundle of joy. On the contrary, I talk about my baby enough with my husband, my parents, my nanny, and my mom friends. When I've got you on the line, I honestly want to talk about anything else.
6. You really aren't that tired.
I know it's not appropriate for me to assume I know how overworked and stressed you are, but complaining about how little time you have is not something I can tolerate. Just as I won't complain to a mom of twins about being exhausted, please save your frustrations for someone who can better relate.
7. I don't always want to drink, even though I had to abstain for nine months.
I'm sure you think that because I had to give up booze during my entire pregnancy, I'd be craving cocktails. If I say I want a glass of wine, great, but if I stick with water, please don't give me that look. Especially if that look is you wondering if I'm trying to get pregnant again.
8. I won't replace you if you won't replace me.
Every time I hear you talk about another person, particularly if it's a name I don't recognize, I'll internally freak out that I'm being phased out. I understand that becoming a mom means that there are some voids in our friendship that you'll need filled elsewhere, but please don't fill so many that you don't need me anymore.
This article was originally published at PopSugar. Reprinted with permission from the author.