We all have personal timelines in life: private ambitions relating to schooling, career, love . . . Maybe marriage – and maybe even starting a family? Assuming “being in the family way” is part of your reality, the question is – whether you are the first or last among your friends to have a baby – how do you maintain the bonds of friendship with one another inside of the challenges of meeting your baby’s needs and your own needs during early childhood? Firstly, it’s vital to acknowledge that by having a baby, things will change. Some relationships can take time, commitment, and work, and sometimes it’s easy while in other cases you may grow apart.
Including Your Non-Parent Friends
Acknowledging that your priorities will change once the baby arrives and that there is often a lack of energy that goes along with the early stages of parenthood,
it can, nonetheless, make a difference to say to your “non-parent” friends that you miss them and want to stay connected, but the way you do so will have to be altered while you get used to being a mom. For instance, a night out on the town may not be realistic right now, but meeting up for a coffee or a much-needed pedicure together could be much more manageable. If you are unable to get out to meet friends, consider creating a “No Toys” zone in your home. Friends that do not have children will have an “adult space” in your home to visit in, and won’t feel like there is literally and symbolically no room for them in your life.
Creating a New Network
Maintaining your old friendships is challenging, especially if your stories of all the cute things baby does leaves your friends feeling cold – but other moms will understand! Join Mama and Me groups so that you feel connected, heard, and understood in the outside world. In doing so, you will more likely be able to be focused and interested in what is going on in your “non-mom” friend’s lives because you have had a chance for “mom talk” already. More importantly, you will meet women in similar situations that otherwise you may never have met and find there a support network for yourself, not to mention play-mates for your child.
Rekindling that Friendship
A true friendship never dies. Sure, it may hibernate for a while, but once you start getting regular sleep and become comfortable with your new routine, you may realize that you have the time and energy to go out again. It is okay to reach out to your old friends–they will be happy to hear from you and probably equally excited that you want to be social! Acknowledge that you have been less available and that you probably won’t have the same lifestyle you had before baby, but affirm that “you’re still you!” and miss spending time with friends, and always look forward to being able to re-connect with them.