Making friends in adulthood is not the easiest thing to do. You cherish the friendships you’ve had since you were young and hope that they’ll be strong enough to last a lifetime. It doesn’t always work out that way though. Some friendships die out completely while others change. When friendships change, they usually do so following some other change in our lives.
Through the biggest life changes, like moving to a different country, for example, our tightest friendship bonds can start to loosen. Pregnancy and especially motherhood are also changes that might cause friendships to change. That first year with baby is the hardest.
3 Things your non-mom friends may be thinking of you after baby
“My friend had a baby and disappeared.”
You’ll have one or two friends at least who will feel this way about you. Unless you put in a whole lot of effort to stop that from happening. Unfortunately, particularly as a new mom, that won’t always be within your power. If you’re breastfeeding, separating yourself from your baby for any length of time might be tough. If you’re not breastfeeding, there may not be anyone around you that you can trust enough to have your baby so that you can go off rekindling your friendship flames.
Ghosting your friends for days and weeks may be the norm for a few more months to come. It’s hard enough for new and first time moms to keep track of what day it is, much less if they replied the last three texts they received.
“My friend isn’t herself anymore.”
Honestly, how could you be? Having a baby has made you someone else. You’re getting used to a new family structure and a new body. You’re doing these things while hormones rage through you. As happy as you may be, you’re also in a different space in time from your non-mom friends. Even if they’re mommy friends, as long as they don’t have a baby exactly the same age as yours, they’re probably having different experiences. They either do not fully understand your current experience or it’s been a while since they’ve gone through it themselves so they’ve forgotten.
“We haven’t got anything in common anymore.”
Speaking of not understanding your experience, your friends might struggle to find topics of conversation that they think you care about now that you’re a mom. They might think you do not care anymore about the latest piece of gossip on that couple that you always used to chat about together pre-baby. When friendships change, the most basic forms of communication like texts can change too. Texts can turn more formal. Your friends might think you only want to talk about your child (and maybe you do) and if they don’t find that an interesting topic, your conversations could start to get awkward. It’s not just you who changes after pregnancy. Your friends change after your pregnancy.
Make the effort to remind your friends that you’re still the same person. Let them know that even if you cate about slightly different things now, you still care about them in the same way and that’s the most important thing. Remind them that things change and one of the things that will change is how little time you may seem to have for them now.
Can friendships survive parenthood?
When friends become parents, the dynamics have to be different. It’s only natural. It’s good to remember though, that some of your friends may not be as excited about motherhood as you are. Some of them love their childfree lives so much that they do not want to be around any children at all.
Not all your friends will want to be around you much when you have your baby with you. And they do not have to want to be around your baby. When your friends become parents, it does not mean you are a parent too. Other people’s babies are not everyone’s thing. “What to do when you don’t like your friend’s kids” is amazingly a question that people have. They have to go to Google with this question because…well…it will not sound great admitting to anyone that you don’t like your friend’s children.
Know that the best friendships do survive parenthood. The most valuable friendships do not have to die out. They only change. Your friend will only grow to appreciate the positive changes that motherhood has brought to your life.
Friendships can survive parenthood if each of you only aim to be supportive and understanding.
Positive ways that motherhood changes friendships
1. You each cherish your time together more
You both know you won’t have that much free time available before you have to rush off to your baby again. You have to maximize that time together so you treasure it more. You catch up on everything that you need to and ignore the unimportant things.
2. You get to reciprocate
You now have the experience to offer help in the form of tips and hacks to your friend if she does become a mom too. You’ve gone through it before and so while you may not have experienced everything that she will experience, you’ll have a lot to share.
3. You let it roll off your back
You’ve got a focus that’s bigger than anything else now so you’re less sensitive to what you may have previously viewed as offences or slights. You choose to ignore things that you previously would have taken issue with because you’ve simply got too much more on your mind now that is of greater importance.
4. Aunty privileges
She gets to be the favourite aunty. Your friend gets to enjoy your child without the ties of taking responsibility for them. She does not have to worry about disciplining them when they’re being naughty if she does not want to. She can help you out with them when you need it but she gets to hand them right back over to you. If she’s not one of those people who are asking Google “what to do when you don’t like your friend’s kids”, then she can forge a special relationship with your child.
5. Saying goodbye could be for the best
Finally, when friendships change, it could be the sign that this friendship was not meant to be. It is possible for your relationship to change so much that you two cannot interact with each other normally no matter how hard you try. In that situation, you should consider whether you should continue to try so hard. Maybe it wouldn’t be the end of the world to let that friendship go.
Keep all this in mind for when your friends become parents too.
How did your friendships change after you became a mother?