being a mom
STFU Parents: When Moms Lose Their Identity On Facebook
One of the most common complaints I hear from STFU, Parents readers is the concern over losing a friend post-baby. I’ve received hundreds of emails about this subject, and the majority of the emotional outpourings aren’t even related to the submissions themselves. They’re related to a longer history, a backstory that unravels when a submitter tries to explain the meaning behind a submission. Sometimes I get the sense from submitters that the point of emailing wasn’t even to submit to the blog, but to share a sentiment in the hopes of feeling understood. As much as I don’t believe that parents and non-parents can’t get along or remain close friends after babies wedge themselves into every hour of a new parent’s life, the truth is, there are a lot of frustrated and lonely folks who are left wondering where their friend(s) went. They ask themselves if it’s “them.” Maybe they’re not paying enough attention to the friend’s new post-baby stories. Maybe they’re not exhibiting enough interest. Or maybe they’re exhibiting too much interest? Ultimately, I think most people come to realize that babies transform parents’ entire lives — and, occasionally, their personalities, too.
The types of relationships I’ve heard about that match this description run the gamut, and not everyone who feels like she’s mourning the loss of a friendship is a non-parent. The upset usually has very little to do with Friend A being disinterested in hearing about Friend B’s baby, but rather Friend A feeling like she doesn’t even recognize Friend B anymore. Most people (even us heathens without children) are genuinely excited to see the latest baby pics and follow along with the documomtation of big milestones on Facebook (as all “quality” friends in 2014 should). It’s not the baby fodder that leads to the loss of friendship. It’s the fact that some people just change after having kids — a shift that parents of the internet are anything but shy about detailing on their blogs and on sites like Huffington Post Parents and Scary Mommy. While these posts are funny, they often seem to translate to, “I’m a MOM now, so don’t ask me to “go out for drinks” unless they come in a sippy cup! And no, I won’t attend events that require attire other than yoga pants, and I won’t apologize for not caring about your meaningless life when I’ve got my awesome kid on my mind, because guess what? He’s more interesting than your marathon training or political views or whatever it is you want to chat about.”