When 'Mom Friends' Break Up & Why It's Bound to Happen

mom and baby waving goodbye

Few friendships are forged as quickly and deeply as those between new mothers. You bond over sleeplessness and leaking breasts, and disclose a litany of fears and complaints you might not tell anyone else. "New mom" friendships are as intimate and intense as first love -- which is why they don't always last.

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Go to any park, playground, or library during a typical weekday, and you are sure to see at least one new mom scanning the area, looking for not just someone to talk to -- but some other mother. We've all had that look of not-quite-desperation, but yearning. The same stuff that drives single people to speed date or sign up for Tinder.

(Note to self: Tinder for Moms is a billion-dollar idea. Trademark immediately!)

Having a baby doesn't just turn your world upside down, but shakes it like a snow globe. Things you once had control over -- or were able to do or say or even believe -- are suddenly in a million pieces over your head. It takes a while to settle back together, and during that time, there is no better company than another mom experiencing the same exhilarating terror.

Your mom can empathize and your husband may listen and help as much as he can, but only another mom can vigorously nod her head and exclaim, "My daughter just blew out her diaper in the car, too!" We are comrades in arms.

More From The Stir: 8 Tips for Staying Close to Your Friends Even When You're a Mom

When my son was born, I fell in with a group of seven moms with babies roughly the same age. We locked eyes during a baby gym class and that was it.

Chats between parachute games and bubble-blowing turned into weekly play dates at the park or each other's homes. We fixed each other coffee, held each other's babies when we went to the bathroom, and laughed about the goofy missteps we'd made as mothers.

For years, I knew what each of these women fed their children, what time they put them to bed, the complaints they had about their husbands and even their in-laws. Play dates turned into occasional road trips to museums and zoos, or occasional barbecues and pool parties where our husbands drank beer together.

About three years later, we all became pregnant for the second time. We watched each other's kids during OB visits and glucose tests. Once babies arrived, we dropped off meals and passed off bags of nursing pads and hand-me-down baby clothes.

It's hard to say when or why exactly things changed. (But isn't that the case for any romance?) Perhaps it was because we were more comfortable being moms for a second time and knew what to expect. We needed less hand-holding. Maybe it's also because as our firstborns became older and better able to communicate, they asserted that they didn't really like playing with the other kids anymore. Certainly beginning (different) preschools and participating in (different) activities came into play.

Our close-knit group of moms didn't break up so much as drift apart. Emails and phone calls became less frequent, and when we did get together, the first thing we'd say to each other was, "I can't believe how much ___ has grown!" Deep conversations trickled to small talk.

I think it became quite clear to all of us, although we were too polite to come right out and say it, that we'd outgrown our need for each other. And when we considered ourselves as individuals rather than fellow moms, perhaps we realized we didn't have so much in common.

Ten years later, I still consider myself close to only two of those moms, the two whom I would be friends with, whether or not I had kids. When my son and daughter come across pictures of our old "moms' group," they look up at me quizzically and ask, "Who's that?" They have zero memory of these other women who read to them, held them, offered them snacks, and occasionally brushed them off when they fell at the playground.

But in an ephemeral sense, they do, since those friendships helped make me the mom I am today.

Have you had a "mom romance"?


Image © iStock.com/Gajus

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