One of the questions I’m asked the most in regards to new motherhood is, how do you stay connected to friends? In truth, it’s not easy. Both parties have to make it a priority, both parties have to make the effort, and both parties have to remain dedicated to the friendship. It’s all much easier said than done because, well, life happens. This is why so many new mothers often find themselves looking for new “mom friends” who might be in the same position but often carry the same hours (middle of the night feeds are the perfect time to catch up) and don’t mind photos of spit up. This is not always the case because there can be room and time for both new and old friends. Take Sara Hussey, Jen Staples, and Haylie Schwartz, childhood friends who found themselves with newborns around the same time. They came up with an idea for a monthly brunch originally intended for the moms but eventually came to include the whole family. A no-fuss, come as you are, casual hour or two that allows the families to be together, support one another, and leave feeling fulfilled of both friendship and food.
How did the idea for Breakfast Club come to be? How does it work?
SH: I can’t remember exactly…Jen, Haylie? Life is so busy so when there is a day or a few hours in a day where we’re all free to get together we usually jump on it. At the very first brunch Jen and I were both still pregnant. We picked up bagels and smoothies and just hung out. It was nice to be in someone’s home vs. a distracting restaurant. It was such a fun way to start the day we kind of decided then that we would try to make it a regular thing with each of us taking turns hosting. I’m pretty sure the husbands invited themselves to the next brunch.
JS: It’s not super organized – the three of us talk almost daily so when we realize there is a weekend we’re all available we jump on. Its potluck style so there isn’t too much for one family to provide. We usually have coffee, fruit, bagels, Fairweather Cider (shameless plug) and whatever else anyone wants to eat.
HS: I think it actually started with a gathering we all did before babies. Jen had just gotten married, and I remember Sara and I were trying to get pregnant at the time and probably annoying Jen with all the conception talk. Even though we had all been friends forever, it felt good to formalize a routine get together. Even pre-kids our lives were hectic and any time we could dedicate to just relaxing as friends felt precious. That is even more true now that we all have babies.
JS: That’s right. It started as a BBQ with the dudes (pre babies/pre pregnancies)….turned Breakfast Club (ladies only), then yeah, the dudes invited themselves to the next Breakfast Club. Weekend evenings/afternoons got so hard to coordinate. Weekend mornings were a good time to get everyone together before the craziness of our days started. Let’s be honest…we don’t actually go out at night anymore so we party in the morning. For that reason, breakfast club was born and now we work around the babies nap schedules! Girls Gone Mild…Mom’s Gone Mild?? Maybe we should rename the group.
Why is it important to keep this tradition going?
SH: I think it’s important to create a space for us and our families to feel safe to be whatever we happen to be feeling that day. We don’t get dressed up or do our hair. Speaking for myself- I typically just roll out out of bed (get the baby ready) and go. We’re all typically about 30 minutes late. It’s a very casual, low pressure environment.
I feel super lucky that Jen and Haylie and I have had our first babies so close together. Parenting is such a humbling and intimate experience that even though we aren’t with each other at every moment of the day, we all very much understand what each other is going through. And this includes the husbands too.
I think it’s important to keep it going for our sanity but I also love the idea of showing Serena, even at an early age, about friendship. Jen and Haylie and I have been friends through so many different life stages (more than 20 years!) but getting together in someone’s house, early in the morning, helping each other cook and clean, it’s transitioned our relationship from a friendship to more of a family.
HS: I echo what Sara said about family… there is a level of ease and comfort when we’re all together that you don’t find in newer friendships. Our babies are all at different stages and have different schedules, but we manage to make it work and it’s always a welcomed reprieve from what is usually a hectic week. I’ve found that having a child has really rocked my whole identity in a way that I didn’t expect. Something about getting quality face to face time with some of my oldest friends helps me stay anchored to those parts of myself that existed before I was a mother – whether we are explicitly talking about funny memories from the past, or just conjuring up those parts of our personalities – when I’m with Jen and Sara I know I’m with people that take and love me for who I am and who I’ve always been.
JS: It’s important to keep this tradition going because we might not see each other otherwise! Hah! When you have a baby and a full time job, you don’t have time, you make time! This tradition is low-key, no frills, no fuss. Everyone is kind of on their own schedule, coming and going as needed, contributing what you can or nothing at all. At the end of the day, we’re all there to support each other, have a good time and expose our children to some of their very first social experiences!
When girlfriend-time is so sacred and hard to come by as mothers, why was it important to include your husbands?
SH: The brunch ends up being very middle school with the boys in one area of the house and the girls in another. I love that my husband, Trevor gets some dedicated time with other dads. I don’t think he really seeks out dad camaraderie like I do with other moms but I know it’s important for him to have. Having the husbands there to help with the babies or to make us a plate of food if we’re breastfeeding is a bonus!
HS: Just like the three of us are all pretty different, the same can be said for the guys, but we’re super lucky that our husbands all get along and seem to enjoy our BBB Brunch as much as we do. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we still crave girlfriend time, but mom guilt is real! I love that I can look forward to seeing my girlfriends without worrying about childcare or feeling like I’m passing up time to see my husband over the weekend.
Also, in a different life I studied to be a therapist. In a class about relationship health, I remember the professor debunking a myth that couples should prioritize one-on-one time (aka date nights) over everything else. There’s actually a lot of research out there that shows how much a relationship benefits by being in the presence of other happy couples. Think about it – if you’re hanging out with other couple friends you are way less likely to get dragged into a conversation (aka argument) with your spouse about who is cleaning more bottles or whatever other household battle may be brewing. You are way more likely to laugh at each other’s jokes and engage in a feel-good atmosphere. While we didn’t arrange the brunch with this philosophy in mind, I think we definitely benefit from it!
JS: Well I think we determined that the dads invited themselves….haha. But like Sara and Haylie said, it’s great to get the dads together too! Whether or not they gab as much about babies and sleeping patterns as we do, I think it’s nice for them to be around other dads and socialize just like us mamas! We’re lucky in that each of our husbands are super hands-on when it comes to baby–gives us mamas about 5 minutes to slurp down coffee and a pastry.
How has keeping this monthly tradition supported you in your postpartum journey?
SH: They have both been amazing resources – I can ask them anything about anything and there is no judgement. Also, being friends with Haylie and Jen outside of motherhood means we’re not always talking baby – but on the flip side being with people that are ok talking baby things 100% of the time is pretty nice too. Because let’s be honest, that’s all I want to talk about these days.
HS: Oh wow… so.much.support. I seriously cannot imagine going through this without Jen and Sara. I was the first of the three of us to get pregnant and I was TERRIFIED. I had a really rough experience with postpartum depression and anxiety. I didn’t ever really have to spell it out for Sara or Jen, or explain in detail what I was going through. I just knew I felt better when I was around them. When I found out they were each expecting I cried tears of joy, but also tears of relief knowing I would have two of my best friends by my side in the motherhood trenches. Watching them become mothers has been so incredible – they each have such natural instincts and ability to be attuned to their babies. I really admire the fact that we probably each have different approaches to parenting and experience challenges in different ways, yet we sincerely support one another in our choices. Upon having a kid, it’s all too easy to fall into giving unwanted advice or making judgement calls about other moms, but this truly never happens between the three of us. At least I hope not… maybe I give a tad too much advice ,)
JS: Monthly is not enough, but luckily the support goes far beyond our breakfast club. I never thought I’d be entering motherhood alongside my best friends. I wasn’t ready for it…figured I’d catch up to them a year or 2 or 3 down the road. You can’t plan everything I guess! In less than a year, me and my best friends ALL gave birth to our first child. There’s a reason these things happen. You need support. You need to build your tribe. Whether you’re low, low, low, or high as a kite, you need other women to share your experience with.
What have your husbands gained from this monthly tradition?
SH: I just asked Trevor and he said, “That it’s important to keep the tribe together”.
HS: Hmmm, good question. He probably appreciate the happy mood it puts me in, and I know he loves seeing our son start to interact with other kids. Now I’m curious to ask him!
JS: John’s “more of a dinner guy” but I know he appreciates the coffee, the pastries and the bro time.