Dear New Mom Friend:
So far, we’ve only had a few play dates and we’re still in the process of feeling each other out. The first time we met—that day at the playground when you caught me lusting after your top-of-the-line double stroller from the other side of the swingset—I liked you immediately. You didn’t panic when your 2-year-old ate the mudpie my son offered him and I saw you sneak a glance at your phone a few times, the way I can’t help but do, too.
Our friendship is still in that beginning phase where it could go either way: we might wind up becoming lifelong friends who eat dinner at each other’s houses once a week or the kind of acquaintances who do nothing more than like each other’s Facebook posts for the next several years. But I think there’s potential for us. And because I do, I want you to know a few things before we delve any further into our friendship.
Right off the bat, you should know that I will be horrendously late to absolutely everything we do together. I will try like hell to keep that from happening, but it’s a reality I’m better off admitting now than trying to cover up later. I have good intentions and I don’t mean to let time get away from me, but suddenly my keys are missing because they’re buried in the toy box or the baby naps longer than 15 minutes for the first time ever and then, unintentionally, we’re leaving our house 10 minutes after we said we’d be at yours. But I promise that on the rare occasion when I finally show up on time to the play gym and you’re still at home nursing the baby, I’ll tell you to take your time; I’m in no rush.
I have a spotty track record when it comes to answering text messages. (I’m great at answering them in my head, but that probably doesn’t count.) Sometimes I’ll think I’m waiting on you to respond until I realize I didn’t hit send three days ago when I was interrupted by my toddler pouring honey on the Blu-ray player. Please don’t take it personally, I do it to everyone; even if the Pope or President Obama texted me, I’d probably forget to respond. When I send you an adorable picture of my kids playing at the beach and I don’t hear from you, I’ll just assume you saw it, smiled and have a half-finished response sitting in your inbox.
There are times I’ll be clingy; days when I desperately need a friend to assure me that I’ll make it through in one piece. I’ll want to commiserate with someone who understands how hard it is to function on three nonconsecutive hours of sleep or how frustrating it can be to potty train a reluctant toddler. I won’t always want advice or a solution to my problem, I’ll just need you to tell me it’s OK to cry in front of my children and eat ice cream before noon. I’ll send you a recap of my awful day and accept your offering of wine glass emojis and then, in turn, I’ll let you complain about your lack of thigh gap and tell you you’re beautiful.
Occasionally, I’ll need to break our plans because I’m just not feeling the idea of getting out of my bathrobe. I’ll hate to flake out on you because I know how much it sucks to suddenly have a huge hole in your day, but I won’t want to lie to you and blame it on my kids when it’s really me who’s tired and cranky. Just know that I’ll extend you the same grace when you’re having an off day, too. We’ll catch up with each other when we’re both up for it and have double the things to discuss then.
My house is dirty. Pretty much all the time. I don’t wash my floors nearly as often as I should and you might have to brush graham cracker crumbs off the couch to sit down. I tidy up (read: shove everything in the hall closet) for company, but if we’re good enough friends, I’ll know you won’t mind our mess. When we come to your house and there’s a week’s worth of dishes in the sink and a weird smell in the front hallway, instead of grossed out and horrified I’ll feel comfortable and right at home.
Despite my (many) flaws, I’ll be a fiercely loyal friend to you. I will never judge you or make you feel like you can’t be yourself around me. How you raise your children has nothing to do with me and I won’t tell you what I would do or offer up suggestions you didn’t ask for. I don’t care if you breastfed for five minutes or five years; if you let your baby cry it out or plan to rock him to sleep until he’s 17; if you ate soft cheese when you were pregnant or buy generic Oreos or put clean clothes back in the washing machine because you don’t feel like folding them. As long as you accept me exactly as I am, I will do the same for you.
I know this is a little premature. We still don’t know each other very well and you might decide after this letter that I’m an overbearing, unreliable lunatic with way-too-dirty floors that you’d rather not spend your days sitting on. I’ll understand if that’s the case. But if you decide that I might just be your preferred brand of crazy, you’ve got my number.
I’ll try to remember to text you back.
Your New Friend