Becoming a mother changes your life in almost every conceivable way. In my opinion, when you're going through such an upheaval you really need close friends around you. Being able to vent any frustrations you may have about your new parenting role, to someone you trust, can be the difference between feeling supported and feeling totally alone. However, and even though our friendships can sustain us as we become parents, there are some friends every new mom can do without.
When I became a mom I made a lot of new friends from a local birth group. All our babies were born in the same month and these women were fierce, independent, strong role models. Over the last four years, they've helped and supported me in every stage of my son's development, whether I was pregnant or when I was postpartum. Unfortunately, I did encounter at least one "bad friend" that actually had to be eliminated from my life. If I hadn't distanced myself from her, I'm convinced I would've turned into a total nervous wreck. She made me constantly question myself and my parenting choices, until I wasn't even sure what my own beliefs or views were. Once I ended communication with her, I felt nothing but relief. Like a bad breakup, the proof of my decision was that it hurt less to be without her, than it hurt to be with her.
There are a variety of friends that are best avoided once you become a parent. The end of a friendship doesn't mean that friendship was useless or unnecessary or even failed in some fundamental way. It simply means the relationship has ran its course, is no longer fulfilling for both parties involved, and it's best you both go your separate ways. So, if you have someone in our life that fits one (or all) of the following descriptions, you might want to consider a change in friendship.
The "Nothing's Changed" Friend
We all need to keep our child-free friends for a multitude of reasons. After all, they knew and loved you before you became a mom and are able to offer advice based on the “you” that you were before everything in your world changed. Plus, isn't healthy to only surround yourself with one type of person. If your only friends are other moms, you could be missing out on a ton of differing perspectives on a range of issues and scenarios.
However, we all know at least one girlfriend who is unwilling to accept your new role as a mom. Maybe she calls you up in the middle of the night to talk about her on-again, off-again boyfriend, or doesn't understand the implications of being an hour late to meet you. Yeah, not helpful.
The "Always Has To Compare" Friend
Every child is different, but there are some moms that live to compare their child to yours. Of course, the result of this constant comparison is usually always the same: her kid is better than yours. Shocker.
The danger with this particular friend is that you can end up being drawn into these poisonous little games. Not healthy, dear reader.
The "Activist" Friend
There are so many decisions to make when raising children, and so many loud opinionated voices on both sides of almost every choice imaginable.
How you choose to clean, feed, and parent your own child should be a personal matter. Still, there are those parents with strong views who seem to think lecturing you on their own personal views — and trying to "convert you" to "their side" — is appropriate play date conversation.
The "It Takes A Village" Friend
Being a mom is hard, so we can all use a hand sometimes. However, some moms seem to think that parenting is a communal activity without asking you if you agree, and may try to chastise your child if they think they are misbehaving. Personally, this makes me very uncomfortable. Unless my kid is about to stick his fingers in a plug outlet, I would rather other moms not tell him off.
The "TMI" Friend
Once you become a mom, subjects that were previously "out of bounds," like toilet talk and bodily functions, become your regular banter. However, there is always that one mom that seems to think describing the exact shade of mucous her daughter coughed up is appropriate lunch time conversation. I, personally, would like to finish my sandwich before I hear a detailed description of someone's placenta. But hey, that's just me.
The "Being A Mom Is Everything" Friend
I love being a mom. I honestly and truly do. It really has made me a better person and I feel that it was a role I was meant to fulfill. However, I am lot more than a mother, too. I am also a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a slew of other identities that I take pride in cultivating and sustaining. I am more than just what I mean to others. My worth can’t only be tied up in my status as a parent. So, if you're friends with someone who believes that their only worth (and as a result, your only worth) is tied up into motherhood, I venture to guess a few heated, passionate, potentially hurtful debates are you in your immediate future.
The "I'm Perfect" Friend
Fine, I'll admit it. I'm jealous. However, the mom who looks perfect and dresses perfect and acts perfect — who never talks about a "difficult" day because she swears she never has difficult days — is just a difficult mom to be around. She makes me feel inferior. She makes me feel worthless. She makes me feel, well, like I'm constantly failing because I'm just honest about how difficult motherhood truly is.
If I am going to a party or an event, I can scrub up quite well but my daily “look” is more yoga pants and ponytail than heels and lipstick. I guess I am just a hater.
The "Not My Child" Friend
It can sometimes be hard to admit that your child is not a perfect angel, especially when you're around company. However, they're just, you know, not. They are most likely a normal child that sometimes does as you ask and sometimes rebels and does the opposite, especially when they are very small.
The mom that consistently says “not my child,” in the face of evidence to the contrary, is living in a fantasy world and most likely won't take kindly to you pointing out that her kid can act like a kid, too.
Being a parent can be tough, so it helps to have good friends who can help you through the difficult times. Just make sure you choose friends who actually add to your life and happiness, and not drain the energy right out of you. Arguably one of the best parts of "growing up" is realizing that you don't have to be friend with people who don't support you. So, you know, don't.