Mom Talk: My Thoughts on How Friendship Changes After Children

How Friendship Changes After Children

One of the most requested topics in my reader survey was my thoughts on how friendship changes after children. It’s a tough topic to tackle, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and have finally wrapped my head around it.

If you think about it, like most everything else, friendship before kids is easier. Before kids, you had common classes or activities in High School and College, coworkers and mutual friends after graduation and typically after that you’ve found your squad. Then, you become a Mom and it adds a bit of complexity to the mix.

How Friendship Changes After Children

Your Priorities Change

As a Mom, it’s inevitable that your priorities change. It takes a lot of work to prioritize friendships when your world has been turned upside down and from my experience not everyone will have the patience or perspective to stick around. Priorities change and you just have to accept it.

On the same vein, no matter what phase of life you’re in, friendships will change. Time is limited, priorities shift and as you get older it becomes crystal clear who is a true friend and who is not.

It’s been interesting to see how my friendships have changed over the years. As time has gone on they have gotten increasingly harder and easier at the same time. Sometimes I think I just got lucky, but I think there’s a bit more too it.

How Friendship Changes After Children

Be Grateful Rather Than Bitter

I’ll admit, I felt bitter towards a few of my friendships that have changed since moving to Chicago, getting married and becoming a Mom. But what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s ok to let friendships go.

Once I had the clarity to accept my friends for who they are, I had to take a step back and consider my friendships. I realized that a lot of my friendships had become one sided and as my priorities shifted and my time became even more limited I had to make some decisions.

The decision I made was to be grateful for the friends that I do have. The ones who lift me up, support me and put the same amount of effort to make me feel appreciated as I do for them.

Having Compassion

Personally, the most important lesson that I’ve learned in the past several years about friendship is that you can’t force it. Friendship is easy when you’re in the same phase of life and all you really need is someone to hang out with. But what happens when we grow up?

The most important lesson I’ve learned in recent years with friends is that it’s ok not to be on the same page. I’m glad I learned this lesson before becoming a Mom because it’s become increasingly important.

We’re not always going to be on the same page or even reading the same book, but that’s ok, because being a friend is not always about finding commonalities but rather accepting each other for exactly who they are. This is where compassion comes in.

I got some really key advice that helped give me clarity on my friendships a few months back. The advice? It was that stress scales, meaning that we’re all stressed out and no matter what we are going through we all have our struggles. For me looking through my relationships through this lens has helped give me the clarity I’ve been needing.

For the past few months I’ve been working on acceptance. Instead of trying to understand the friends who have drifted away or disappointed me since I’ve become a Mom, or even gotten married or pursued my career, I’ve learned to accept them. And for the friends I have, the gentle reminder that our differences are what make is great has only made them stronger.

What are your thoughts on friendship throughout all of life’s changes?

Comments

  1. I was so sad after my son was born because almost all of my friendships became non existent. I was the first of our group to be pregnant and in some cases my friends weren’t even married. I knew that my relationships would be changing but I had no clue how isolated I’d feel.
    I’ve learned to let go of that and realized that it’s just life. We all change and grow from where we were and who we were and eventually we may reconnect. Great post!

    • Have you found it hard to make new mom friends? That’s been hard for me, so I’ve relied on my friends who have become moms around the same time.

  2. A few years ago, we (husband and I) went through a big shift where we had been spending a lot of time with a squad we had known since high school, but it was clear that we were all drifting apart. It was something we just had to accept – we just weren’t on the same page anymore, and the friendships weren’t a good fit. That was a hard adjustment, because we had been spending a lot of time with them, and suddenly we had this void, and it felt like we had no friends, or at least, no one to hang out with. Shortly after that, we moved into the city and had to form new friendships, which can be really hard as an adult.

    However, I do have some strong friendships with people I have known since grade school, high school or college. Those have stood the test of time and I’m glad I still have them in my life 🙂 Even if I don’t see them all that much.

    • I totally get that! One thing I’ve really learned within the past few years is that my closest friends I’m just not able to see a ton and that’s ok, because when I do it’s as if we saw each other yesterday and it’s refreshing. Quality over quantity, both in my time and people I spend time with!

  3. Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue says:

    It is really hard to maintain friendships when your lives start to go in different directions whether it’s due to marriage, career, babies, moving. I feel that with some of my friends we’ve managed to stay close despite difference (and distance) and others I have drifted apart from. Currently as I try to make NEW friends I do find myself naturally connecting more towards other moms with little kids since that is such a big part of my life we have this automatic something in common. Plus – Playdates!

  4. I’ve found that it is so hard to make new mom friends! I’ll eyeball a mom at daycare and be like, I could totally be friends with her, but how do I go about this? I have been lucky in that most of my good friends have gotten pregnant and had babies around the same time I did, or have just been around so long, that it’d be impossible to not do life without them in it.

  5. None of my friends have kids (or want them). Most of them are still in my life after I had my son who is now a year old. But it’s definitely harder to relate to them when they don’t have kids…I’d love to find other moms in my area with kids around the same age as mine and it’s SO hard! A lot harder than I was expecting!

  6. I am the only one without kids in my group of closest friends from my hometown area, and we are all still as close as ever. There is no reason friendship should change after kids–whether you have them and they don’t–you are friends with someone for who they are–not for what life experience they are going through that is the same as you. I may be luckier than most, but I have had no problem maintaining my friendships with my best friends who have kids–I put a ton of effort into my friendships, and this may be why, but they also don’t look at me any differently or as someone who “doesn’t get them”–they have even told me they love that I don’t have kids yet because I am always available to have girls weekends, etc! I have 7 nieces and nephews and come from a huge family as well, and completely understand life with kids. We all love each other for who we are, regardless of our kid status! I think the more we put ourselves into two categories–those with kids and those without, the more we will alienate ourselves from wonderful people with whom we could have a great friendship with. We are all in this thing called “life” together! 🙂

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