***This is an extension of a recent Facebook post in which I expressed gratitude for my fellow mom friends. In this post, I extend this gratitude to include the importance of non-mom friends in my life.
I wrote a Facebook post about how grateful I am for my mom friends. To be clear, I am also very grateful for my non-mom friends. They remind me that, beyond being a mother, I am also a woman who has dreams, ambitions, and interests independent of my child. It’s important for me to remember that there is a world that exists outside my daughter and that I am still my own person. Sorta.
The reality is that my daughter is the most important aspect of my life. By far. There is not one other aspect that even comes close (sorry husband!). Her needs are put way above my own, especially at this age where she is dependent on me for literally everything (although she is starting to play independently (yay!), but only if I’m watching her (boo!). She will actually look up every few minutes to make sure I’m looking at her and not doing something productive like folding laundry or writing this blog post… because how dare I?).
I find it sometimes hard to explain this to non-mom friends. They don’t always get it (I thought I got it before I had a kid, but nope, I didn’t*). And I’m not talking about not getting it in a Louis CK “Why” or a Michael McIntyre “People Without Kids Don’t Know,” way. Although, let’s be honest, those videos are hilarious. My non-mom friends don’t think raising kids is a piece of cake, that their future offspring will never misbehave in public, or that their babies will be sleeping through the night in their own bed by day two. At least I hope not. In truth, I find they demonstrate a great deal of empathy and understanding.
But I’m talking about the little things that you don’t even think about before having kids. Here is an example:
Nap schedules: my life is actually ruled by my daughter’s nap schedule and I make no apologies for it. She has three naps per day at specific times and I need to be home for them. “Can’t she just sleep in the stroller?” Not well. “Can’t she nap a little later?” No. If I miss the nap window, it’s closed. “What about skipping a nap?” Sure. I can do that, but then I will pay for it at bedtime and all through the night. I like the five hours of sleep I currently get. Miss a nap and that number drops to two or three hours. It’s not worth it to mess with the nap schedule. #napscheduleforlife
To be fair, some people have easy babies. They sleep anywhere. They switch between bottle and boob with ease. How I envy those mothers! (Not really. My daughter is awesome.) But I have a lot of mom friends and I would say that these babies are the anomalies—not the norm—and those moms who do have them know how lucky they are and refrain from bragging to us sleep-deprived moms.
I am happy to have mom friends with whom to lament nap schedules. Who really understand the challenges of breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding). Who get what it’s like to go six months with a maximum stretch of five hours of sleep per night. Who don’t bat an eye when my daughter is having a meltdown in public or otherwise. Who talk about poop, vomit, spit up, and various other bodily functions with both the alacrity and worry of only a mom (and maybe a gastroenterologist). Who get what it’s like to have your identity and life forever altered by a tiny ebullient human (who yes steals your sleep, but also your heart).
But as I write this, I realize that it’s so important for me to have non-mom friends too. I don’t always want to talk about poop (believe it or not). And sometimes I want to do something for me (ladies, my manicure lasted four days). And there will be a time when my daughter is not totally dependent on me and I can re-focus on my own dreams and ambitions, however altered they have become**.
This blog post meandered a bit. The point (I swear I had one) is that while I am lucky to have friends in a similar situation who understand what being a mom is all about, I am equally lucky to have friends who remind me of the independent woman I was and still (hopefully) am. Here is to all of the amazing women in my life, mom and non-moms alike!
*As a side note, one of my bridesmaids had four-month old twins during my wedding. I always knew she was amazing, but when I think back to all the activities in the lead-up—and on the day—I’m pretty blown away by her ability to manage it all at the time. I can’t really recall the details, but I can only hope I was understanding if she required flexibility during that time. My best friend is getting married this weekend and she has been both patient and accommodating of my/my daughter’s needs and schedule.
**I find my dreams have mostly shifted to dreams I have for my daughter… you know, after I become the CEO of a major corporation