Making mom friends
“I wonder what Lori’s been up to?” I thought as I scrolled, zombie-like, through my Facebook feed. “I haven’t seen much from her on here lately.”
I met Lori at a mom-and-baby class when my daughter was about 6 months old. “She looks cool,” I thought as I admired Lori’s well-worn motorcycle boots and her “stormy grey” Chewbeads.
Lori and I eventually met up for a hangout with our babies. I brought her cookies from Lucia’s. We discussed the pros and cons of having a doula. Our babies rolled around on her living room floor, “playing” with the occasional ball or block.
Our mom friendship sort of fizzled out after that, probably because our class ended and we didn’t automatically see each other every week. But we still chatted when we ran into each other at Lake Harriet a few months later, and she was my Facebook “friend.”
When I looked her up, I was met with the message that confirmed my status: “To see what Lori shares with friends, send her a friend request.”
Friends for life?
I’d been “defriended” on Facebook before, and it’s never really fazed me — maybe because the people doing the defriending were usually people with whom I shared little in common.
But getting defriended by a mom friend felt different. Getting crossed off Lori’s list seemed to directly contradict one of the many ideas I had about parenting, which was, “The friends you make when your children are babies will be friends for life!”
I think this a common assumption, and one that holds a lot of truth. My mom-and-baby class meetings were the highlight of my week in the weeks right after my daughter was born.
It was good to talk with other women who were struggling with breastfeeding, who were conflicted about going back to work, who were almost hallucinating from lack of sleep, just like me.
And we were a supportive little group for the six-week duration of our class. We passed the box of tissues when someone started to cry. We met up for group lunches with our babies in tow, taking over large sections of restaurants with our caravan of strollers and bucket seats. We shared recommendations for pediatricians, lactation consultants and baby chiropractors.
It takes time
Then our class ended, and we dutifully set up a Facebook group. And then ... things sort of fizzled out. Meet-ups were occasionally proposed, but never quite seemed to get off the ground. A couple members moved away. We continued to “like” each other’s photos as the babies turned into toddlers, but we weren’t meeting for happy hour in support of our bond.
Whenever I meet the mother of a 10-year-old who happily reports that she still regularly sees the friends she made in her mom-and-baby group, I feel pretty sheepish about my social ineptitude. That said, I do have friends-in-parenting (most were friends pre-baby). And I’m confident that I’ll find new, like-minded friends in the years to come. Like one woman said recently on a Facebook forum about “building your village,” “However you go about it, gradually you’ll find your tribe."