Babies and Buddies: Do They Mix?

June 16, 2009

Team Newborn
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sellers Patton

Does a baby make it difficult to cultivate friendships?

In my opinion, yes.

At a time in a woman’s life where she really needs other women, it’s often quite isolating when you have a new infant.

A reader wrote:

“My biggest challenge is probably developing friendships and nurturing relationships.  I moved to a new city just after I found out I was pregnant.  My son is now nine months, and I’ve yet to really connect into a friendship.

There’s a group of mamas who get together weekly to accomplish tasks that can easily get neglected being home alone with a kid- special meals, gardening, detailed cleaning, etc.  The ladies are lovely, and so are their kids.  But I find the scenario too hectic.  It’s almost impossible to complete a thought, much less a sentence.

While it’s fun, I’m not really getting a strong friendship out of it.  Just some social time.  I thought that a baby would give more depth to potential friendships, but am finding it’s not the case for me.

I don’t feel particularly lonely, but don’t want my husband to be my one and only confidante.

I have a feeling that my son is really benefiting from our days together, mostly alone.  We go to the library and the park fairly often, so he’s not a shut-in.  And he interacts very well with older kids and adults, but shows little interest in most babies his own age.  I feel his social interaction is fine for this age.  I am confident that our concentrated time together is great for now, and as he gets older and less dependent on me, we’ll both have more friends.”

I can understand her feelings completely.

When my oldest was a baby, I often went to La Leche League meetings 3 times a month (3 different groups!) just for the social interaction. But it was very difficult to have a real conversation with all that was going on.

It does get easier. As the little ones grow up and leave your lap to explore, they free you up to engage more with other people.

Although I still have a difficult time having a phone conversation with my kids around!

How did you deal with this issue when your babies were little – or if your babies are still new?

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5 Responses to “Babies and Buddies: Do They Mix?”

  1. Sarah V. on June 16th, 2009 1:52 pm

    I’m always struggling to make new friends. In one way, having a baby makes it easier to engage in small talk with other moms and say, “Hey, we both have little ones, let’s hang out.” But that’s only if I get the opportunity to actually talk to anyone!

    I go to a playgroup every week and it’s just like the one described above–hectic. My one year-old son and I always arrive late so I miss out on all the conversations. Then I’m always chasing him as he tries to climb up chairs. I barely get to talk to anyone. Week after week we go to this playgroup and I still feel like a stranger to the group. I can’t help but feel like the outsider.

    It’s so hard to break in. I don’t want to be melodramatic or paranoid, but I feel like they all hang out and leave us out. I mean, I remind myself that I go to playgroup primarily to expose my son to other kids but it’s as much for the moms, too. Hopefully I can actually talk to people when my son starts playing by himself.

    Thanks for posting this! I (obviously) can completely relate! Good to hear I’m not alone in my lack of close mama friends.

  2. Wendy on June 16th, 2009 2:48 pm

    I can relate and then some! Being shy and introverted doesn’t help. Living way out in the country makes it worse. Being the only homeschool mom in the community is kinda like the final nail. At this point, I think I’ve honestly given up on the idea of gaining any deep, meaningful relationships in real life…casual friends is probably the best I can do here. I still make sure the children are getting a good amount of socialization opportunities, so I’m happy with that.

  3. octaviaorca on June 16th, 2009 5:34 pm

    ever notice how at the park moms (who haven’t arrived together) talk through their babies and almost never make eye contact? even if you have seen each other week after week you never share first names… and then it gets to late to ‘introduce’ yourself. or that it feels like a singles bar at times? ‘you come here often’ being the only thing that comes to mind to strike up conversations.

    i agree. it’s hard to make friends with babies around… mostly because i don’t always want to talk/hear about babies. there are too many land-mines. one woman likes to compare constantly, one woman feeds mcdonalds at age 3mo, one woman gets up in your business too fast… it’s too much to navigate when i have a less than agile mind from all the cookie monster songs.

    we are like the other posters… we do classes, story time and park but the kids and i hang together mostly and though i go thru periods thinking i need to socialize the 2 year old more, i try get a little perspective and remember that she’s a great kid and i don’t think its time to worry. she doesn’t love to run and play with others yet but that will be something there is plenty of time to learn about.

  4. Michelle on June 19th, 2009 8:47 pm

    My story is very similar to Wendy’s, only add to that chronic health problems and looong winters and what you have is a monkess! Now if only I could find a hooded robe!

    Although I have tried to make connections with some of the home school moms in the area, it seem that they are too busy.

    Contentment and an independent spirit are qualities I have had to learn in increasing measure. Through my relationship with Christ and my husband it’s doable! However, it’s not for lack of trying or being introverted. I can talk to most anyone!

  5. Phoebe on July 25th, 2009 10:19 am

    I don’t have many women friends to begin with. Now that I have a 10 month old baby, I find myself constantly struggling making mom friends. I try striking conversations with other moms I see riding the subway but it never leads to anything. It seems easier making friends with men than women. I am glad I am not alone.

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