I was one of the first of my friends to get pregnant and subsequently decide I was ready and willing and able to become a mother. I was lucky in that a best friend was also pregnant (just a few months ahead of me) and my friends were wonderfully supportive, albeit very surprised, and I didn't have to deal with too much judgment or raise eyebrows. However, from time to time I did hear some of the things every new mom in her 20s doesn't want to hear from her friends; things that don't make a life-choice as big as parenthood any easier.
I think the majority of what a new mom's friends say, especially when they're in their 20s, comes from the best of places. Their intentions are good and they just want to express to their friend that they miss them. Your 20s is a time of massive transition, whether it be school or marriage or traveling or a career or military service or parenthood, and all of those changes can leave you feeling nostalgic. You can't help but long for the simple days of high school or college, where all of your friends were in one specific place and you were just a few minutes away from them and seeing them was about as big a deal as putting on clothes in the morning; it was just a thing you did every day. Now that we're making decisions that effectively set the tone for the rest of our lives, well, emotions get the best of us and we end up saying things that are more hurtful than helpful.
Still, it is important to think about what we're saying to our friends, especially new mothers who are having a tough enough time transitioning into parenthood sans sleep, so that we can be supportive. With that in mind, here are a few things every new mom in her 20s is so tired of hearing her friends say to her. I mean, we love you guys, but just, like, no.
"I Never See You Anymore"
Um, I'm sorry? I mean, this might be true and I can understand a friend being relatively sad that they're not seeing their now-mom friend as much, but chances are both parties are aware of how frequent they're seeing one another. If it's hard on one friend, it's probably hard on the other (or, in some cases, even harder, because the mom isn't sleeping and is spending her time caring for a tiny dictator of a human and would probably do terrible things for a happy hour menu.)
"Going Out Isn't The Same Without You"
Trust me, staying in isn't the same either. The super secret guilt trip isn't helping anyone, and even though it's always nice to hear that you're missed and that your absence is felt, it's also kind of unfair to put it all on the shoulders of a new mother who isn't just choosing to stay in, she kind of has to stay in. She can't go out every single night, at any ole time, because there's a baby in the mix now, and they kind of require a certain amount of supervision.
"You Always Look So Tired"
I highly suggest you just never say this to anyone, because everyone who is tired knows they're tired and is probably aware that they look tired and drawing attention to the amount of sleep they know they're not getting only makes them want to crawl into a hole and die. Seriously, don't do this. It's not kind. It's not helpful. It definitely shouldn't be a thing.
"Motherhood Has Changed You"
Well, yeah. That's kind of what it does. It doesn't have to change every single aspect of a woman and, no, motherhood is not synonymous with a lobotomy, but of course a person is going to change when they have grown and sustained and birthed a human being. In fact, you saw this change happen, literally as it was happening, so acting surprised or somehow re-packaging this change into a "bad thing," isn't helpful.
The truth is, everyone changes. Motherhood isn't the only type of change a person can experience as they continue to grow and make life decisions. Whether you become a mother or not, who you were even a year ago is not the person you are today, so we can stop picking on mothers, and assuming they're the only adults who have gone through some transformative situation.
"Oh, The Other Night Was So Fun. You Should Have Been There."
I wanted to be there, OK? Oh, how we always want to be there, but we can't, because we're up all night feeding a tiny human and changing diapers and lamenting about the ridiculously small amount of sleep we're getting. Please don't remind us that we could be somewhere else, doing something else, when we're in the throes of hormonal fatigue and unable to see the forest through the trees.
"I Am So Hungover"
I'll trade you one nasty hangover for one sleep-free week of motherhood.
"Don't You Miss Your Old Life?"
Sure, sometimes I do. I think that a lot of mothers don't want to admit that parenthood, like anything else, can make you long for the easier days of yesteryear, when simplicity ruled all and nostalgia has smoothed the ridges and road bumps. Hell, before I became a mother I started to think that high school was the absolute best and I would have given anything to go back. I mean, obviously I don't actually want to go back (being an adult has its perks, after all) but sometimes, just how easy everything was can seem appealing. The same can be said for motherhood. Would I actually want to go back and not know my son? No. But do the kid-free days seem somewhat appealing, from time to time? You bet. You bet your ass.
"I Couldn't Imagine Having A Baby Right Now"
Well, then don't have a baby? I mean, we all make our own life choices and some of us decide to procreate, while others don't. You might not be able to imagine being a parent, but your failed imagination is my reality so, you know, just don't.
"I Love Not Being Tied Down"
And I love baby snuggles. I respect your need for constant freedom and I think it's wonderful, but my baby isn't a prison sentence. I can still go places, I just have to bring a few extra bags with me.
"You Seem Like Such An Adult"
I would hope so, because I am. Honestly, the whole "adulting," thing has subsequently made it a "bad thing" or a "weird thing" if you have your life together. But really, we're all in our 20s now and learning how to cook for yourself and do your taxes and be a semi-responsible human shouldn't be some mind-boggling, unbelievable achievement.