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.
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.
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.
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?