Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My New Mom Friend Never Hangs Out Without Her Baby Anymore”

no babies

“Fiona” and I have been friends since freshman year of college, and we have been close for more than a decade. About a year ago, Fiona got married and gave birth to a lovely baby girl, whom I adore. I am thrilled for her new life. However, as she transitions into a new mom, I’ve realized that our friendship has gone downhill.

After Fiona became pregnant, she quit her job and is now a stay-at-home mom. We used to hang out every couple of months before her pregnancy. Now that she is a mom, we have seen each other four or five times over the past year. I adore her daughter; however, for the past five times that Fiona and I have met, her daughter is with her every time, making it challenging for us to catch up. I feel for my friend – all her attention is on her baby, and our conversation is understandably, yet constantly, interrupted by the baby’s needs. I feel like even though we spend a few hours together to “catch up,” we never get to talk about each other and the conversation seems always about the baby.

I’ve suggested Fiona leave her daughter with her husband for a few hours and we go do something together. Apparently, her husband is not so much a hands-on dad and does not feel confident to spend time alone with the baby. I also do not initiate get-togethers with Fiona as I know how overwhelming her life must be. But Fiona is the one who initiates the meet-up/catch-up each time, and, obviously, she brings her daughter with her each time.

I’d like one-on-one time with her once in a while, but, since it is unlikely given her situation, do I tell her honestly how I feel or should I just suck it up and hang out with her and her daughter every single time or should I gently reject her invitation to hang out until her baby is a little older? — Missing One-on-One Time With My New Mom Friend

So many things that make me go “hmmm…” in this letter. Let’s go down the list, shall we?

1. You say you used to hang out every couple of months before your friend’s pregnancy, but in the last year you’ve seen each other five times, implying that there’s been a shift in the amount of times you see each other. “Every couple of months” is six times a year, which is practically the same as five times a year, so…

2. If you aren’t able to “catch up” over the few hours that you see your friend every couple of months, why don’t you keep in touch between visits with occasional phone calls, texts, emails, or whatever you have time and energy for?

3. Fiona’s husband does not feel “confident” enough to be alone with his one-year-old child? That’s one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever heard. Ever! But… who knows if it’s even true? Maybe he feels completely confident being alone with his child but his wife is such a neurotic control freak that she won’t hand him the reins, even for a couple of hours. Maybe he’s behaved in a way that troubles Fiona and now Fiona is afraid to leave the baby with him unsupervised. You have no idea what might really be going on — and, for the record, a close friend telling you that her husband cannot be left alone with their child is a serious red flag worthy of inspection — because you never actually talk with her anymore about anything other than maybe what the baby is eating and whatever new trick she’s just learned. As a friend, you need to probe a little and see how she truly is doing, because being married to someone you can’t leave your baby with is weird as fuck.

4. Can she leave the baby with him after the baby goes to sleep? Most babies who are over a year old sleep through the night pretty consistently — or at least for several hours at a time. She could get the baby down by, like, 7:30, and spend a few hours with you in peace. You could even come to her house after the baby is asleep. Why has that never happened? That seems like such an obvious way to re-connect with your friend without being disrupted constantly by baby, baby, baby. Hell, you could even go over on a Saturday afternoon while the baby is napping and have lunch together. You could bring the lunch on your way.

5. It kind of sucks of you that your friend had a baby and you 100% stopped inviting her to do stuff. Imagine how rejected she must feel. She’s gone through this huge life change and her friend sort of disappeared. Unless she reaches out to you, of course. And you’re not reaching out because you know how overwhelming her life must be? I don’t buy that. Really? She’s a stay-at-home mom to a single child. How overwhelming is that? Is she also working from home? Running a small business you didn’t mention? Going to night school? I mean, I don’t want to downplay how exhausting being a stay-at-home mom is; it’s a lot of work and can be very tedious and sometimes boring and isolating (all the more reason to maintain friendships!) but unless there’s something unusual going on — the baby has special needs, maybe? Or, you know, her husband is a nut job — being a stay-at-home mom to a 1-year-old isn’t really overwhelming. If anything, it might actually be a little underwhelming. Call your friend. Invite her out after she gets her baby to sleep. Or ask if you can bring her take-out and have dinner at her place after she gets her baby down (and preferably on a night her husband is working late or out avoiding his family, which I bet he does a lot).

6. Hell, no, don’t tell Fiona how you “honestly” feel — that you are sick of her baby always being around when you want to have some adult catch-up time. Be a damn friend and check in with her. See what’s really going on, because what you’ve described — all of it — is worrisome. If she’s giving you some indication that she’s so overwhelmed she can’t even handle a phone call from a friend, and she’s telling you she can’t leave her child alone with her husband, then something is really wrong here. Maybe it’s all in her head (in which case, there’s treatment!), or maybe her husband is abusive or something like that (in which case, she needs support!), or maybe there’s something else altogether. But you’re her friend — so probe a little and find out what that something might be. This is bigger than you just wanting to chill with your friend. This is about finding out why your friend doesn’t seem to be able to chill.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

41 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Steph June 28, 2016, 8:57 am

    The one thing I learned when my best friend had a baby five years ago was that my life changed to. My expectations of our friendship had to change for about two years. We still went out and did things, with her daughter. She’d have her mom or another family member watch the baby so she could have adult time. I’d go to her house and help her cook dinner and clean bottles and do chores since she was a single mother…but we talked while doing this. We talked while she fed the baby. We talked while the baby napped, and when the baby woke up and would cry, we’d sit on the couch and try to watch TV over a crying baby…because that had become my best friends reality for a short period of time.

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  • avatar

    ktfran June 28, 2016, 9:10 am

    Wendy offered great suggestions as to how you can help your friend in this life transition, as well as get some one on one time. When one of my close friends had her first, I’d go over after work, we’d BBQ. Baby would be asleep early and we’d chat over a glass of wine. It was perfect. Her husband often works nights, so we were able to catch up. In your case, if the husband is there, perhaps he can watch tv or read or whatever he does and you two could chat in another room. We also do brunch, with baby in tow, and are able to have real conversations. We actually see each other once to twice a month, sometimes more. It’s really not that hard if you’re ok adjusting your expectations a little bit.

    As far as the husband is concerned, some men are just dicks. And some really are just not comfortable around babies. It’s a thing. It really is. I know of one occasion where the husband wouldn’t man up, step out of his comfort zone and take care of his baby. My best friend couldn’t leave her daughter home alone with him because the couple times she tried, he would complain about it as soon as she got home, so it was easier for her not deal with that. He’s super selfish. Similar situation with my cousin. Her husband was the bread winner and she the stay at home mom. Taking care of baby was her job and if she needed time away, her mom (my aunt) had to babysit. He wouldn’t. He’s a dick though, so there’s that. Anyway, both men were better once the children hit the toddler stage. Although I still think they’re dicks.

    Despite my two examples, I do think you should talk to your friend about it and see how she’s really doing. Her husband could be a selfish prick. Or he could be abusive. Or she could be a control freak. But it’s worth checking.

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 June 28, 2016, 9:53 am

      Ktfran, are you sure we don’t share a cousin. The dynamics between my cousin and her husband are the same (except she also critiqued and controlled everything he did with the kids/babies so he couldn’t get comfortable).

      But Wendy is right.

      It’s time to step up and be a real friend. Don’t avoid her because she’s ‘probably overwhelmed’. Be a friend! Reach out and ask her what would be best or easiest. Ask if there’s a good time to hang out while the baby is sleeping. Re-adjust your expectations of your friendship for now- your friend has gone through a major life change! Maybe all she talks about is the baby because her world has suddenly shrunk (no work, full time baby care, maybe not so much adult/outside world contact). Do some sleuthing, ask some questions, listen and try to find a new friendship groove that involves that works for both of you.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 28, 2016, 9:59 am

        Ha! My cousin actually isn’t a control freak. Her husband is really a dick. But my bf, she is a little bit of a control freak, so there is also that dynamic they have.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover June 28, 2016, 2:38 pm

      I agree, I have a friend whose husband wouldn’t even watch the kids on his own till the youngest was like 2.5. He always got his mom to come over, and if she couldn’t, he got a babysitter! I don’t know if I’d call him a dick, or if he’s just scared and feels like he can’t do it, or what. I know I was scared when it came time to be alone with my first baby. Difference for women is that we’re forced to do it, there usually isn’t another choice. Especially if you’re breastfeeding. So you get over that hump and then you get comfortable with it. Whereas men always have their wife around and are never thrown into the deep end, so to speak. My husband probably wasn’t alone with our first baby till he was about 6 months old. And now he’s a pro, and in fact he was the first one to be alone with both kids. I still haven’t had them both on my own yet!

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 28, 2016, 2:58 pm

        Oh, not all men like this are dicks. These two specifically are. Well, one is selfish and the other is a dick. I like almost all of my friends and family members significant others. These two though are a piece of work. It just so happens they don’t care much to help with babies on top of that.

        The cousin manages, but her mom is close and her kids are older, so he helps now.

        The friend, not so much. No close family and I don’t live near her either. I send messages and we talk occasionally. I wish there was something I could do for her. Her first has down syndome. The second has some issues too. She once asked her husband is she could get a hotel room for a night to herself for her birthday. One night. He refused. He did recently go on a ski trip with friends though, so money isn’t the issue… I saw pics on FB. They both work. Oh, his parents live close to them, but they don’t help much either. Ugh. I feel helpless in the situation.

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  • avatar

    Randee June 28, 2016, 9:24 am

    Similarly to what Steph just wrote: I mentally put it in my head that for the next 18 years or perhaps a little less, my friend’s life was going to be different than mine, and I could get on the train and go for the ride or get off and lose her. You get your friend back in pieces as the children age, and in the meanwhile you make it work as best as you can on both sides. It will be All Babies, All the Time for a while, but the ones who stick around and find other things to talk about, to ensure that mom’s world stays as wide as possible, are the ones they’ll value down the line. My friends now largely have older children and we can finally spend time solo again. It’s delightful!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy June 28, 2016, 9:47 am

      Really? You’re only just now getting solo time with your friends who have kids? This seems so foreign to me, as a mom of two. I’ve been spending solo time with friends since my first baby was a few weeks old. Who are these women who don’t leave their children’s sides until they’re “older” (whatever that means? Are we talking a couple years old? School age? Pre-teens?). Maybe it’s a cultural thing? Here in the city, with nightlife and entertainment so accessible, it’s not any big deal to put your kids to bed at 7:30 or 8 or – gasp! – let your spouse put the kids to bed while you go out and grab dinner or have a happy hour drink with some friends down the street. I’ve been doing this at least a couple times a month since I became a mom, in addition to taking solo trips without the family to see long distance friends, and I think I’m a better mom and wife because of it. Moms need time away from their kids and babies — early on, not years after giving birth.

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      • Portia

        Portia June 28, 2016, 11:12 am

        Well, this isn’t someone I know personally, but my SIL talked about how she has attempted to get together with her husband’s friend and his wife, but it had to be at the friend’s house because the wife literally wouldn’t let anyone else take care of their kid (babysitters, family, even husband). We both expressed some incredulity. This was a baby, I think, but could have been a toddler.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 June 28, 2016, 11:57 am

        My cousin refused to let anybody other than her own mother and father watch the kids until the youngest were about 3. This included the husband, except for very very short periods of time (like when she went to the grocery store). From 3 onwards, the husband, pre-approved family members or friends have been allowed to watch the kids. That’s it. And rarely.

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      • avatar

        csp June 28, 2016, 11:30 am

        So I think part of it can be location. My city friends want me to come in town and that is a big deal. So figure it adds almost two hours to dinner just in travel time. But never going out might be excessive she also might not be prioritizing this friend for her night out. Like, if I say I get 3 girls nights a month to go out. I can’t give that to every friend.

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      • avatar

        e June 28, 2016, 11:47 am

        For the first year of my daughter’s life she didn’t leave my side much. Breastfeeding for the full first year was really important to me and I hated to pump so it was just easier to have her around. Working full-time I was left with so little time so my few hours a night to hang I wasn’t giving up.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover June 28, 2016, 2:40 pm

        One of my best friend’s babies wouldn’t ever take a bottle, which means she was stuck since she was breastfeeding. So it does sometimes happen even if the mom is totally fine with leaving the baby.

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    • avatar

      Steph June 28, 2016, 10:16 am

      No. You are saying something different than me. My best friend & I share the same relationship she did before she had a daughter. Her daughter is five and we go out on double dates every other Friday night with our SOs, no kid. We also do other things together and her wife will watch her daughter. Our relationship was drastically different in the first 9 months while she was a single mom and was slightly different once her daughter became a toddler and was more self sufficient.
      .
      I see my best friend probably 2-3 times a week, sometimes with her daughter and sometimes without. But our friendship is already back to how it was it before her daughter. The amount that we talked never changed, what we did in the time we were actually together is what changed for a while. And it was never all babies all the time. She was still interested in what was going on in my life and how I was doing.

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    • avatar

      keyblade June 28, 2016, 11:10 am

      I can kind of relate. In the burbs’ it’s easy to get together with close neighbors after the kids are asleep, but it’s harder to plan times during the day. I had one friend who breastfed and tended to keep her baby with her so she could be gone for longer chunks of times.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 June 28, 2016, 9:29 am

    It’s only been a year, giver her time to figure everything out! and seriously, you stopped inviting her out, so to her it probably seems like you don’t care anymore, especially if you are inviting mutual friends to things. This seems like a one sided relationship that Fiona is the only one trying to keep together.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice June 28, 2016, 9:29 am

    Honestly, you sound jealous of a baby. Jealous of the fact your friends’ attention is focused on her daughter. Of course the focus is going to be on her daughter, but you still should be able to have adult conversations with her. You are just not trying because you don’t want to. People’s lives change after kids. That’s a fact, but if you don’t like being around kids, then maybe you should find a new friend. And Wendy is right, instead of ignoring her comments about the husband, maybe you should try to find out why she feels she can’t leave her daughter alone with him. Let me tell you, as a stay at home mom myself, I love being able to hand over responsibility to my husband and just go to the store by myself. It is a small break that I desperately need to keep my sanity. Being a stay at home mom, with a cranky, teething, crying child can wear anyone down. Of course it is not like that all the time, but when it is, trust me, you need to break away for a little while.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo June 28, 2016, 9:46 am

    I think Wendy gives great advice here, but I would more emphasize that I think the issue is your attitude. As a childless 50 yo, I have seen many friends grow up, get married and have babies. I’m still the same post-adolescent aging punk I’ve been for the last 30 years or so (hopefully with a dash of growth here and there). As soon as the child is born, your relationship with your friend changes forever. Period. Once they are parents, they have new first priorities, and they are not you. It will never be like it was again. That doesn’t mean the good times are all gone or that you have to lose your friend. But you have to accept that the change has happened and it is permanent. The instant you start pressuring someone to choose you over their child, even in small ways, that’s when you start to lose your friend. Find ways to incorporating the new reality into your time together, but basically just deal. Plus everything Wendy said.

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  • avatar

    Betsy June 28, 2016, 9:59 am

    It sounds like Fiona is trying her best to be a good friend to you, but you are not being a very good friend to Fiona. The first year with a baby is HARD. It sucks that you stopped inviting her out and are waiting for her invitations. If she doesn’t feel comfortable leaving the baby, grab some take out and go to her. You acknowledge her life is tough right now, be a good friend and make it easier for her.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 June 28, 2016, 10:13 am

    Hey LW, from reading a lot of parenting blogs, it looks like (in general!) having a baby is a lot of tiring, boring, lonely work. Imagine how your friend feels with baby, baby, baby night and day, 24/7. She is probably tired, but she probably also appreciates another adult’s company. She may want to keep watch on the baby, but perhaps you could hold/change/feed the baby while she rests on the couch. So please do call her, or if you don’t want to burden her, then text her with “Hey want to have lunch together? I’ll bring sandwiches. Totally understand if today doesn’t work. Let me know!”

    I agree with Wendy though – the never leaving baby with husband thing is weird! My friend’s baby is 8 months and she left her with me for 3 hours, no problem. Is it just the husband, or does she leave the baby with anyone? Grandparents, or relatives, or other friends?

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  • avatar

    Miss Anne Thrope June 28, 2016, 11:17 am

    I agree with everything Wendy said, except the part about how the first year can be overwhelming. I think it’s a little judgemental of a woman who didn’t write in, and frankly for all the other first time moms out there. I’m not a stay at home mom, but I find it extremely rude to say that it can’t be. What if this woman’s husband really doesn’t help with anything? And it’s entirely possible that she could be suffering from post-partum, and/or anxiety just to name a few.

    I just want to say, if you are a first time mom out there reading this, it doesn’t matter where you work, whether it’s at home or in an office, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you feel that way even if you’re “just” a SAHM. I had one month at home with my child when he was 8 months old. After one week I dreamed of my office, adult conversations, and a reason to wear real clothes. It’s not anyone else’s planner to tell your what should feel overwhelming. And tell anyone else who says differently to fuck off.

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    • avatar

      csp June 28, 2016, 11:36 am

      I think you internalized those comments a little. Being a mom is hard but it is a different type of hard. It is more lonely and the day to day is isolated and monotonous. She is arguing that you shouldn’t stop inviting friends out because you think their life is too hard.

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      • avatar

        Miss Anne Thrope June 28, 2016, 11:58 am

        Wendy wrote “being a stay at home mom to a one year old isn’t really overwhelming.” That’s a statement. It might not be what Wendy meant, but it’s what she wrote.

        I have two friends who suffered from PP as SAHMs. I’ve told them both about this site because Wendy has always fostered an environment that seems positive for women and moms. There are few things in life that actually piss me off. The thought of my friends, or any other mom out there reading this as a quick break to find support and instead read something like that does make me angry. To not understand how hurtful words like that can be to another woman is astounding. I’m glad that Wendy, like me, can find a work-life balance. I have friends who didn’t. Friends that I know read this website. And I know it’s little barbs like that which pushed their depression even further. I want them and anyone else who lurks here to know that not every working mom feels that way.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 28, 2016, 12:10 pm

        Eh, you’re REALLY reaching here. There is a thing called CONTEXT. Wendy’s context here was loud and clear. Raising this issue — where none exists — tends to make one look holier than thou… And trust me, it’s not a very good look.

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      • avatar

        judge sheryl June 28, 2016, 12:12 pm

        Being a mom is different for everyone, it absolutely could be overwhelming for whatever reason, and in different ways to different people. I think Wendy went a little too judgemental on that one.

        And just because some moms want a night out (maybe from being overwhelmed??) Doesn’t mean everyone necessarily wants that.

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      • avatar

        csp June 28, 2016, 1:17 pm

        I think she was saying that her friends shouldn’t automatically abandon invitations to her because it is too “Overwhelming”. Again, the mom didn’t say that, the LW imposed that on her.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 28, 2016, 1:39 pm

        E X A C T L Y ! ! !

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy June 28, 2016, 1:50 pm

        I absolutely think there are lots of reasons that being a stay-at-home mother to a 1-year-old can feel overwhelming, but my point is that almost all of those reasons are things that can be treated and supported. And if people see their good friends seeming to feel overwhelmed by stay-at-home motherhood, they shouldn’t avoid that person for fear of adding to the stress; they should be checking in on their friend and probing a little to see what might be causing the overwhelming stress. Because here’s the thing: while stay-home motherhood CAN certainly have overwhelming moments and days, that feeling should not be all encompassing unless there’s a problem or an issue that falls a little out of the norm (a special needs child, an unsupportive or abusive spouse, PPD, to name just a few things).

        I don’t say this to pass judgment on women who are home with their babies or toddlers and feeling overwhelmed. They should NOT feel ashamed. But they should know that, actually, feeling overwhelmed 100% (or even 90%) of the time to the point that your good friends don’t want to bother you with their presence isn’t normal or healthy and that they can have more balance and joy in their lives if they seek some support. Talk to your friends, your family, your partners, and your doctors. There are people who can help you!

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 28, 2016, 11:54 am

    If you want to see your friend. You call. You invite them out. Really, it’s that simple. When my friend had her first baby, for a year or so — said baby was constantly in tow. (A lot of this probably had to do with when we met. Random lunches on random off days I had.) Honestly, I don’t recall the baby being that much of a distraction… We talked about everything but the baby usually. As she was “sick of fucking mom talk” her words not mine. I dunno. Maybe her baby had an easier nap time schedule for this — I do recall the baby sleeping in her carrier/car seat thing a lot.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo June 28, 2016, 1:11 pm

      Oh, Mark, you’re always so reductive. “If you want to see your friend. You call. You invite them out. Really, it’s that simple. ” What about the fact that Fiona was the one who changed the friendship by having a baby, probably with full knowledge that all change is bad. She probably didn’t even ask permission from the LW, but just went ahead anyway without thinking of the consequences. And now she constantly, 4 or 5 times a year, rubs the LWs nose in it, “Ooh, look, I have a baby, I’m so focused on that and NOT on you.” What about the LWs right to nurse hurt feelings over this? To grieve the loss of not only friendship but convenience? No wonder she wants her chance to talk about how this hurts her. I say Fiona has a duty to accommodate the LW, to make the extra effort to maintain the friendship to the standard that the LW has come to expect. Why should the LW have to pay the price when she didn’t want a baby? Fiona’s an insensitive jerk!

      Tiny hints of sarcasm aside, personally, i have seen friends with babies take many positions on parenthood. My one friend would answer baby questions if asked, but basically wanted our meetings to be a few minutes away from being a new parent, to talk about movies and music and whatnot. Other moms definitely get persistent baby-brain, but so what? Hardly a problem to me. I don’t really have goals for what I want out of friendships anyway, so baby talk is just as good as movie talk, and I don’t mind changing the subject if it gets too baby for me. Other people’s kids are the easiest. The second I don’t like how it’s going, i just nope outta there. But usually, I’m just glad to have a friend to spend some time with. I guess i just don’t really get what the LWs issue is.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 28, 2016, 1:40 pm

        REMEMBER, Diablo… It’s Lady Gaga, who was/is “reductive.” 😉

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      • Diablo

        Diablo June 28, 2016, 1:47 pm

        Well played, sir.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover June 28, 2016, 2:48 pm

      It does depend on the baby. My first wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in his own crib. Still doesn’t, and he’s three! It’s a bed now of course. But he won’t sleep in a stroller, in the car, in the carseat, etc. So during the day I couldn’t go out without an awake baby who needed attention. Meeting for lunch would have definitely meant spending the meal holding him and dealing with him constantly (he was fussy). So that kind of thing doesn’t work for everyone.

      However! That being said, there are *always* times the baby is asleep. By the time they’re a year old, they’re probably having a solid nap during the day and they almost definitely have a “bedtime” and are able to stay asleep through the evening once they’re down. So if she wants non-baby time with her friend, all she has to do is suggest doing something while the baby is asleep. The friend’s husband can surely manage sitting at home with a sleeping baby while she goes out. And even if he refuses, then the LW can go over and have dinner or a glass of wine in the evening. It’s totally doable, she just has to ask.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star June 28, 2016, 12:38 pm

    You dropped your friend after she had a baby. I don’t blame her for not trying to arrange sitters for one-on-one time with a friend who shows through her actions that hanging out is not a priority.

    Why should she make the effort, if you make none?

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  • avatar

    Gwyneth6 June 28, 2016, 2:21 pm

    I only left baby with husband. and I couldn’t leave them for long because baby didn’t take a bottle. I didn’t realize I suffered from anxiety then and now I do realize it. It’s more common for moms than is PPD. (Recent study.) I also am an introvert (so when I’m not interacting with husband, baby or the moms around preschool etc I want to be alone). I gradually lost a lot of friends after having my first child. Not all friends and I am constantly around friendly acquaintances, kids are at a great school with warm friendly parents always available to chat though I rarely feel the need. I became closer with husband too so I’m not necessarily lonely but I do mourn the losses/changes. I care about my old friends but I didn’t have the energy and I am not sure they can fit me in anymore. One thing I tried was emailing and texting friends but they always wanted to meet up (I mean the ones I kind of lost, some are happy with that and we are still close even though we can’t visit often.)

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  • avatar

    dinoceros June 28, 2016, 4:30 pm

    You imply that your concern is just that you don’t get to catch up, but the sole alternative you listed was to just not see her until the baby is older. Doesn’t that seem a little counterproductive? I mean, if you decline every single invite for the next however long, don’t you think that she’ll think you’re a jerk and not want to be friends anymore? How exactly would that help you to stay in touch and caught up on each other’s lives? To me, this sounds like you just find it annoying and rude, and less like you are concerned about your friendship.

    Can’t you just continue hanging out with her but then assume that when the child is older, you can have a little more time to catch up? Is it really that terrible to be around her? Because even if she gets more free time, she’ll still talk about her kid and she’ll be around, so that’s something you’re going to have to probably get used to if you want to be friends with people who have kids.

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  • avatar

    Ange June 28, 2016, 7:18 pm

    It can go either way when friends have a baby. I had one who dropped me like a hot rock, i’ve never even met her kid. When I look back, however, she did the same thing when she got a boyfriend or basically anything else she deemed more important. Those friends you don’t miss. My other friend had two babies in a year, the second was born 3 weeks before the first one’s birthday. She was busy! I sent gifts, visited, met the kids and whatnot. We didn’t hang out much except for the odd stolen work lunch but she made the effort and I appreciated it. I moved away and now both kids are in school. Last visit she invited my husband and I to stay at their house and we had a blast. Somewhere about 5am the littler one decided to come in and snooze between me and husband. It was truly heart melting until he informed me I snored lol.
    .
    The point to all that is it does generally get better if you’re friends with a good person. You know whether or not that’s your friend. Make the effort because in a few years it pays off, plus you might have some new little buddies as well.

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  • avatar

    Sonia June 28, 2016, 7:48 pm

    Little late in my comment, but i went out to LA to surprise a friend for her 40th bday with another friend (both of us on the East Coast) and I arranged with friend’s boss and boyfriend to take her away for the night and she was originally supposed to stay with us at our hotel which was only a 4 block walk from her home. She had a hard time leaving her 4 year old alone for hours at a time during the times we arranged stuff (and we made plans that would involve the daughter also but wanted time with a friend we AT BEST see once a year). She also wouldn’t sleep over with us at the hotel.
    She also believes that her BF can’t take care of their daughter well (he yells at her too much). So it really can come down to the personality of the mother and it compromising time with friends. I didn’t have an issue with her daughter coming, I just wanted time with her too and did all I could to make sure she could be away from her.

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse June 28, 2016, 11:21 pm

    Honestly, if you truly valued her friendship, you’d make it work right now. Forgive her mom brain. Steer the conversation to other things. It can be overwhelming, it can be very lonely and when you are that hyperfocused on something new, it can take over your life for awhile. Some moms aren’t comfortable (especially with a first baby) leaving the baby for even a few hours.
    What you should be thinking is how can you help her, support her, or distract her- instead of focusing on how her behavior has affected you. It truly takes a village. Babyhood is brief, she’ll be dying to get out and about on her own soon enough,

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy June 30, 2016, 1:10 pm

    From the LW:

    “Thank you for your advice. I enjoy reading it as well as the honest comments from your readers. It truly makes me reflect on my friendship with “Fiona” and dig a little deeper on what is really going on between us over the years.

    I have many friends who are married and a number of them have babies. We hang out with or without babies, with or without their spouses, doing all sorts of things together. So after reading your comments and replies, I asked myself, why so different with Fiona? Why did I stop inviting her out, stop making effort and why am I wanting to catch up with her but also avoiding her at the same time? Is it really about the baby?

    You are right – her husband not being “confident” taking care of the baby even for a few hours IS a red flag. I remember Fiona told that when their baby was a few months old, they were moving to a new house. So her husband did her “a favour” (his words) once and took the baby off her hands for 2 hours so she can stay home and pack/unpack. She told it as a joke and I didn’t think much of it. Her husband is a nice enough of a guy, but does suffer from depression. So his ability to take care the baby is limited especially after a long day of work. Fiona said that he must take a nap after work to recuperate.

    Another piece of information that I didn’t mentioned in my initial email is that Fiona gave birth to a stillborn baby two years ago. I went through that dark period of time with her and saw her seek therapy alone, angry at her husband for not grieving “properly” and so on. I think this may play a big part in Fiona that her possibly not trusting her husband with her baby now. Though she did complain once that her husband does not spend enough time with the baby.

    As well, I’ve learned that Fiona was planning on returning to work a few months ago but her husband asked her not to and to stay home as a full-time mom for the baby. She told me that she wants to work but is also happy to stay home. I don’t know how true that is.

    I’ve known Fiona’s husband for 7. 8 years. For some reason we never had a chance to hang out, just three of us. So I don’t know the dynamic between these two. I feel like there is more to the story that Fiona is letting me know and she does not like to talk about her marriage and her husband (unlike my other married friends). I feel like even when we do sit down and catch up (with or without baby), I don’t seem to be able to get anything out of her.

    Honestly, I am annoyed by the fact that she can’t leave the baby with her husband even for an hour so I can take her out for a quick drink. Now I realize that I am more upset about her husband not supporting her enough than about the baby.
    You are right – I need to probe more and find out what is really going on and be a friend for her, rather than what I do now — avoiding her and pretending not knowing about the red flags about her marriage. I don’t know what to do exactly though, Wendy. I need you to nudge me to the right direction — how can I be a better friend and support her? How do I initiate the “probing” process? Given that fact that it is difficult to talk about things like that in person (as she will bring her baby), maybe I can send her an email and ask? What should I do if she denies any problems?”

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph June 30, 2016, 1:29 pm

      What makes you think you can’t initiate the conversation with the baby there? I mean she’s gonna bring a 1 year old? Granted I don’t have kids but I’m pretty sure you can speak freely around a 1 year old without fear of them knowing what you’re saying. Not that you want their first word to be “Fuck”, but it’s not like they’re going to come home thinking dad is a deadbeat based on what all mom just said. They don’t know.

      All I hear are excuses. Call her up, invite her for coffee, let her bring the kid. Start small, I’m sure she’ll tell you what’s new and if you’re attuned to finding those red flags, you should be able to probe there. If not or if she resists, take that as it is, remind her that you’re always there to be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, and then try again in a month.

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