Being a parent is hard. You’re warned about body changes, sleepless nights, staying home or working, financial obligations, your baby’s diet, your marriage . . . and yet, no one mentions you’ll lose friendships. And if you’re unlucky enough, you’ll lose the ones you thought were strongest. 

As I reflect back on some of my happiest memories in life, I remember my friendships. How can you not? The hilarious nights we couldn’t stop laughing, the tears, the thousands of text messages, the triumphs, the years of building something so special no one can come between it. I remember showing up late to school because we just had to have breakfast together. I remember telling each other no man could come between us and that we’d all live together in a big house. Imagine Bachelorette, but for friendships. So many close partners, and there’s one after all this time you just know is your soulmate, your lobster, your Christina Yang. You knowingly give this person that title. 

And then, someone has kids. Poof. Everything changes.

Priorities change. Availability to call, text, remember a birthday, go see a movie, you name it, it’s gone. Sometimes it’s manageable and gets back on course. But for a lot of us? It doesn’t. New friends are made and you’re left feeling replaced. And maybe you’ve even done the replacing yourself. I’ve been on both ends and I never meant for it to happen. 

For me, “she” was a mom first. Five years later, I had children and realized all the things I should have done and all the ways I had failed as a friend, too. I’ve been green with envy as other moms are on my old best friend’s social media and I’ve pondered exactly where it all fell apart. I talk to moms all the time in our mom groups locally and we can’t pinpoint what happened, but what we all know for sure is that’s it’s sad. It’s sad when she doesn’t make your baby shower or your child’s first birthday; when she no longer comments on your posts. It’s sad when you text and it goes unanswered or the conversation is just about her. And it’s OK to be sad. Sometimes she moves on and it’s not worth begging for a seat at the table and being the only friend putting forth effort. Sometimes you move on and you’re grateful for all the memories but you’re in a new place in your life and it’s just not working out with certain friendships for whatever reason. 

I see you, mom at Target, trying to make small talk and become my friend. I know the nervousness in your eyes at taking on such a feat. It’s hard. And it’s hard because we’re scorned, forgotten, and don’t know how to handle friendships as new moms. It’s not just you. We’re all around you embracing this new role of being a mom, where we’ve lost our old selves and our old friends. 

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For those of you who are still faintly in contact with your old gal pal bestie from high school, I see you, too. I Snapchat “her” and we have surface-level discussions—but it’s just not the same. I applaud your efforts and know your heart hurts. 

For those not in contact at all and ghosted, I see you, too. I lost a few close ones myself and it makes me angry, disappointed, and embarrassed—and I feel bit unworthy of such behavior after all my efforts. I’m sorry you weren’t made to feel important during this challenging time in life. It’s not fair. 

For those who thought they were over those tough times and were certain they’d found new mom friends but that didn’t pan out, I see you, too. I joke that I’d have an easier time finding a new husband than I would a new best friend. It’s THAT hard. Please know you are awesome and she’s out there. Don’t stop trying! 

It’s OK to have loved and lost. You’ll learn you don’t need to stress about if they care how you’re doing or why they don’t care about that beautiful new baby of yours. It’s not healthy to what if. Their lack of effort and friendship is not a reflection on you. Did you hear me? It’s not you. You’ve done all you can. It’s time to shut the door and let someone else in. Another mom who needs you and is ready to put forth the effort it takes. 

You matter. Your baby matters. And you will make new mom friends. You won’t have that deep-rooted history, but you’ll begin to grow new roots and you’ll find your person again.

It’s OK to mourn that loss. It’s OK to feel responsible. It’s OK to cry. This is a new life, and if life ever brings me back to “her” and brings us back together, I look forward to my son having a fun auntie to play with. If not? Hear me out, moms. We’re here for you. You are still fun, still silly, still loyal, and still worthy of friendship. Stay hopeful, make that effort, and know you’re not alone!

KMP I love you for life and cherish 12 years of memories. What a beautiful family you have. I’m always rooting for you!

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Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.