The Baby Effect and Relationships in Your Life - Part 1
Now that you’re a mom, you’re bound to face new challenges when dealing with your friends, your MIL, or your older sister. Our advice will help you sidestep the drama so you can all - finally - get along. There’s nothing like bringing a tiny human being into your home to officially rock your world. One day you’re merely a rounder version of your usual self. The next day you’re tethered to a newborn, your body is a cauldron of bubbling hormones, and your house is a minefield of soft toys, miniature blankets, and blinking, beeping, vibrating baby gear.
Then there’s your personal life, which in no way resembles the one you were enjoying just a few short months ago. When you were pregnant, your relationships with friends and family probably ambled along unchanged - but now that the baby is on the outside of your body, everything’s up in the air. “Having a new baby is shocking, and it’s impossible to emerge from the experience unchanged,” insists Heather Gibbs Flett, coauthor of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook. “If you apply the same old rules to your relationships, they will suffer.” Nevertheless, with an open mind, some realistic expectations, and a few comebacks, you can maintain your relationships - and your sanity. We’ve got the strategies to make nice with a handful of the players currently starring in the drama that is your life.
Your Childless Single Girlfriend
You’ve known Gaby since you were 7, and nothing has ever stood in the way of your weekly night out. You’ve road-tripped across the country and shared the sort of secrets only a lifelong pal will ever be privy to. She’s your soul sister. But now she doesn’t seem to understand why you’re not available the way you once were. Lots of women who don’t have kids yet - or don’t want them ever - relish the role of glorified auntie and will play it to the hilt. We’re not talking about them. We’re talking about that amiga who’s noticeably bent that you are no longer as freewheeling as you used to be. She gets upset when you have to cancel your plans with her, complains when your phone calls get cut short, and begs you to accompany her on daylong shopping jaunts or overnight adventures. Hello?
Doesn’t she see the very small person attached to your hip? Quite possibly, no. Or at least, she can’t fully grasp the magnitude of the new demands that person is heaping on you. Actually, who can? Before you write her off for the duration, consider all of the many blessings she brings to your life: If a sudden window of freedom does present itself, she’s more likely than your mommy friends to be free to enjoy it with you. She might babysit when you’re in a bind. When you can and do get to spend time with her, it will be a breath of fresh, baby-free air.
After all, she doesn’t want to talk about diapers or breast milk. If she isn’t supportive of your new-mom status, Shoshanna Bennett, Ph. D., a clinical psychologist in Santa Rosa, California, insists the best approach is one that’s clear, firm, and upbeat. You might offer: “I’d love to see you, and I’ve got exactly two hours to enjoy your visit” or “Let’s go for a walk instead of happy hour, so we can get some exercise and really catch up.” With each of these, you’re taking charge without whining or needing to defend your new role.