I love friendships. I love the concept of it and the actuality of it. Friendships have broken my heart worse than a man ever has. I’ve had some for over 3 decades and some for less than a year. I’ve also proudly been a friend to people of about 40 different nationalities (maybe more). But what I never prepared for, was how the swelling of a tummy and the appearance of a mini-me (or 2) would suddenly alter the dynamics of my most cherished relationships. Selfishly, I thought that because I was going through one of the most important and life-changing moments of my life, everyone would be right there with me. But that’s usually not the case. I ended up having family and a few close friends with me, while the others went about life, like they should have. Did it hurt? A little. But more than anything else, it taught me a bit about what motherhood can do to friendships.
Motherhood changes friendships. I’m always up for stuff. Even today, if you offer me a fun proposition, I’ll suffer from a serious case of FOMO if I have to say no. I love new experiences and I love being around people. But when motherhood strikes, you realize how fast the day goes and how little time you actually have to just ‘be’. You end up spending the quiet moments reading a book or watching a TV show (if you’re lucky) but mostly just taking a shower or sitting in silence. You are so overwhelmed and tired that you can’t keep up. Now, again, you friends didn’t change. You did. Your life did. So some understand and some don’t. Some stick around, trying to fit into your new life while others drift. You can’t return the calls as fast as you used to and you can’t stay out as late as you would like to. And it’s confusing. But slowly, you fall into a new state of being. You realise the ones that are willing to still stick around are the ones you’ll be carrying forth into your new life. The others will have to stay back as they go on their own path. You hurt. You pine. You thank them for the memories. And then you move on.
Motherhood is isolating. When L was born, my confusion about point no. 1 lead me to feel like a flailing chicken in a cliquey coop. I had just settled into life and friendships in Dubai when suddenly I was thrown a curveball. I had to stick around at home for months because there weren’t many nightclubs that allowed newborns (I joke). I must admit, a part of me was also purposefully saying no to plans. I was just so happy getting to know my little one. But then when life outside goes on, you start to feel that life inside might just be a tad bit stagnated. I had moments when I felt so lost, I didn’t know who i was. Was I a mom, always caring for a baby? Was I a party animal, always up for a fun night? Was I a career woman, struggling to make something of myself? But over time, I realised that I could be all I wanted to be. And I needed to find people who could relate. But you know what, no matter how many people you know and how many play-dates and night outs you plan, when one child or both (eek) need you or fall sick or refuse to sleep, you’re going to be back on that bed, discreetly holding a phone in your hand as you decline the plan and try to put your child to sleep.
Motherhood opens doors to different kinds of friendships. I’ve seen some old friends become moms and evolve. And luckily, we evolved together. We fell into a new sort of friendship which has babies snatching phones and trying to highjack conversations. And I was blessed to find some new friendships. Friends that understand when you’re too tired to meet up and when you whine about how clingy your child can be. Friends who don’t judge if you let your kid eat fries. And especially friends who understand completely when you say you’re dying for a glass of something other than orange juice.
So here’s a shoutout to all my friends who stood by me, mommy brain and all. Thanks for standing by me as I walk this unchartered territory of limited sleeping hours, crazy schedules, cut phone conversations (from when L hangs up the phone while I’m still talking to someone), shorter meeting times and obsessive photo sharing.
First published on Latte and Love
Image by Sarah Khan