Can New Moms & Old Moms Be Friends?

There is this scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where the title characters are debating whether men and women can ever really be friends. It is a recurring theme throughout the film, which I am sure you know. (If you don't know, I'm not sure how we know each other because I believe in and quote this movie like other people do the Bible.) And because I often relate my real life to my favorite movies, I had a play date the other day that made me think of a similar conundrum with a twist:

Can new moms and old moms ever really be friends? 

"New" and "old" are of course in reference not to age but amount of time entrenched in motherhood. I'd say the cutoff for newbies is one year, but it is open for debate. It also factors in how many children you have, so maybe new moms are new moms until they welcome another small human into their world. Because all of us "old" moms know how much more things seem to change upon arrival of the second one – not just double, as one might imagine, but exponentially.

What brought me to this conundrum was a playdate with a friend who I hadn't seen since my baby shower when I was expecting T. It's been a loooong time. She is now a new mom to a 16ish month old boy, expecting a little girl this summer. We were always friendly, attended each other's weddings, etc. and seemed to have a good rapport. So when she mentioned getting together, I thought "sure, why not?"

In retrospect, there were so many "why nots." The most obvious being that she is still a "new mom" and I am an "old mom." She still travels with snacks for her kid. She hasn't succumbed to allowing the television to babysit her child yet. Her kid doesn't kick, or hit, or bite other kids – yet. See the pattern here? "Still, yet." Because all of us old moms would wager a guess that these are things – like many others – that will change in the coming months with the arrival of baby number 2.

So when A decide to act like her bedroom was a steel cage match and the prize was her toys, rather than that she was having a new friend over to play, I think my old friend/new mom was more than a little shell-shocked and horrified. Add to that an infinite chorus of T screaming "Moooooommmmm, can I play Angry Birds on your iPad? Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee?" and we had a recipe for the worst play date EVER. Whereas my "old mom" friends wouldn't bat an eyelash, because they know what I know – we've all been there at one stage or another, with one kid or another.

I have to give my old friend/new mom credit, she toughed it out for longer than I would have as a new mom to T. She was gracious about A being vicious, ill-tempered and mean. She even offered up the obligatory "we should do this again sometime" on her way out the door.

But my husband (who is benefited/cursed by having a home office and got an earful of our ill-fated playdate) summed it up best when he emerged from his office after the wailing had finally abated and said, "so, you'll never see her again." To which I replied, "of course I will. In about six months or a year, when she's an old mom."

Until then, to my old friend/new mom – thank you for trying to be gracious and putting on a brave face. I forgive you for whatever you told your husband about my children when you recapped the event. And I look forward to hanging out again sometime in several months – I bet we'll be able to laugh about this then.

PS The inspiration for this post came partially from K, for when I told her about our ill-fated play date, I believe her response was something along the lines of "Oh L, you know better than to hang out with new moms." And yes, I do.

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