5 Ways Friendships Change When You Have A Baby That Are Hard And Beautiful At The Same Time
Remember friendship? It’s that important thing that keeps getting pushed off your list of priorities, usually by either “bathe baby,” “buy diapers,” or “eat something.” I’m just as guilty as the next new mom of letting the changes brought on by parenthood affect my friendships. Here’s the best example I can give of just how much they come into play: none of the ladies who stood up with me at my wedding has been able to visit my son more than twice in the year and a half he's been alive. Granted, it doesn’t help that they all live at least three hundred miles away, but still, I have no doubt that even if they lived closer, we wouldn't see each other nearly as often as we'd like. While I’m doing a little better with my local friends, it’s still an uphill battle. And I’m not talking just a regular old uphill battle, I’m talking pushing-a-stroller-uphill battle.
Thankfully, the women in my life who I can call my close friends are pretty rad, so none of them have disowned me. At least, not yet. For a while now, I’ve intended to give it to them straight about just how much I’m actually thinking about them, and still caring about them, but to be honest I haven’t found the right words or the time. Perhaps someone out there with greeting card connections might want to get in on this market? I’m sure lots of us would consider ‘thank you for still being my friend even though I’m super-distracted and completely unavailable right now" cards. You're welcome for the free idea. While you're doing the math to figure out my commission on the millions of dollars you're about to make off friendship-deprived moms, let's take a deeper look at just what else changes with your friendships after you have a baby
You End Up Not Seeing Each Other As Often
Let’s begin with the most obvious one, shall we? Unless you’ve got some sweet nanny situation (in which case, please call me if you will let her watch my kid too, because I've got some friends I haven't seen in a while), you are probably going to see your besties less than usual after your little one arrives. Like opening a dirty diaper, I think it works best if you simply accept the inevitable: socializing with kids is complicated.
Sorry, I just felt like we needed to get that one out of the way, because it's the worst. The simple fact is, you have a brand new, very needy little person in your life, and they're going to occupy more of your time than anyone else, and that's just the game. Let's not waste time whining about it, because we always knew that was the game, and that energy could be better spent focusing on the ways in which your friendships are not about to shrivel up and die. Everyone in? Cool.
You Sometimes Forget What You Have In Common With Your Kid-Free Friends (Spoiler: You'll Remember Eventually, And It'll All Be Gravy)
Surprise! Now you have even more in common with your friends who’ve already started having kids, and less with those who don’t. It’s going to be really easy for you to find things to talk about with your fellow mom friends, though it might be trickier to do when you’re with your child-free favorites.
For the record, all of this is true... some of the time. Until you settle in to parenthood, and realize that parenthood isn't the new whole sum of your existence, and that you really are still you, and you know exactly how to talk to your friends.
They're On Your Mind More Than They Know
My friends are actually on my mind way more than they would think. Thanks to the wonders of social media, and all the extra hours I have to play on my phone while expelling breast milk in some way, I know everything about the house my college roommate just purchased, or the new musical my high school bestie is loving. I might not have as much time to actually see my friends, but god knows, I have all kinds of time to think about them.
You Communicate Differently Than You Did Before One (Or Both) Of You Had Kids
Before kids, I did a decent job of staying on top of phone calls and emails. Once our little came home, my texting game got much, much stronger, since it can be a one-handed, silent activity. For the first time, my husband and I also did holiday cards, opting to send our loved ones photos so they knew that we hadn’t forgotten about their existence. Holiday cards are the new parents' way of saying: "Hey, I know this kid didn't really grant me much free time over the past year to prove that I care, or even exist, but look, I'm still alive, and I care about you enough to lick a stamp. Let's call it even. Better luck to us all next year!"
You Do Different Things Together Than You Did Pre-Kid
Those cherished moments when I finally am able to see my friends? More often than not, I'm bringing my babe with us. In my son’s first fifteen or so months, I think I managed maybe four or five solo friend-dates that tended to be strategically planned around nap time and my trusty co-parent's availability to hang out with our little toots.
And when we hang out, sure, we sometimes do the same things we did before I had a kid, but there are definitely fewer raging nights out until 4 a.m. But hey, here's the thing that you don't consider when you're mourning the lack of raging nights staying out until 4 a.m.: Doing that was not actually that fun. Or rather, it was fun, but it's only fun for so long. It's easy to feel like the arrival of kids onto your social scene is what tamed it down so hard, but the truth is, you probably would've chilled on all of that anyway. Because guess who's getting older? You're old ass. And guess whose old asses would have an even better time hanging out on your living room floor drinking a bottle of wine and watching TV? You and your friends. So that's the biggest way your friendships change after you have kids: You realize that to social things you used to think were so lame are actually the most enjoyable things there are—and you still enjoy the hell out of them with your BFFs... after little toots is asleep, of course.
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