I’ve heard it before: Once you have a baby, your friendships with your non-baby-having friends suddenly change, become strained, or even cease to exist. A friend of mine recently sent me an MSNBC Article: “Baby makes 3: How kids rattle friendships. Child-free pals often feel dumped just when new moms most need support.”
I read it with interest–just as I had other articles that broach the subject of how friendships change after you have kids. And I also breathed a sigh of relief that a friend with a child–not a friend without–was the one who sent it to me.
Even though I’ve seen many articles that predict the ultimate demise of most mom and non-mom friendships, I’m happy to report my friendships with my childless friends still exist. They didn’t dump me when I had a kid, and I’ve tried not to dump (or bore) them.
Although, to be honest, our friendships have changed a bit. For one thing, I’m not always available to chat like I used to be. Just recently a good friend called to talk, and I had to end the conversation because O was fussing. Then she called another day, and I had to cut the conversation short because O was fussing (See a pattern, here?) And I feel bad about that. But what can I do? Ignore O? Not really an option, plus, I’m sure she doesn’t want to hear a crying baby either.
I have also started to become more conscious of how much I talk about O with my childless friends. Sure, they probably do want occasional updates, but I know they probably don’t care how many teeth he has (I’m not even sure my child-having friends care.) Yet, I’m compelled to give them this–and other baby information–on a semi-regular basis. So, I’m trying to curtail any incessant baby-sharing.
In another child- v. non-child-friend moment, I was invited to a Super Bowl party this weekend. The only way I could really attend was to bring O. The host extended an invite to my son, but I had to wonder, did they REALLY want a baby there or did they just invite him to be kind? I’ve been declining too many invitations lately, so I went to the party, O in tow, but I then I began to wonder–have I become that woman that drags her kid everywhere? Never to be seen out of the house without her child–unless she’s at work? Does that annoy my child-free friends?
I’m among the first in my group of friends to have a child. So, I’m wading these waters with uncertainity. My friendships with moms and non-moms both mean a lot to me. I want to make sure none of them fade away. I like hearing about Cassie’s eating schedule or Jonah’s preschool adventure just as much as I like hearing about a single friend’s dating adventures. Having a baby opened a whole new world to me, but it didn’t completely close the one I used to live in.
8 thoughts on “Moms and Non-Moms: How Friendships Change Post-Kids”
BC (Before Cassie), I had a lot more time to devote to friendships. I don’t think I realized it at the time, though. Now, nearly every minute of every day is “spoken for.” I either work, take care of Cassie, do house stuff and errands, spend a time with my husband, or sleep. In my non-existent spare time, I try to find opportunities to call or email my very closest friends. On rare occasions, I might even go out with them! But it’s tough. I continue to value my friendships and hope my friends can stick with me until I have a little more time for them (someday …)
My friendships definitely changed after I had kids, but I also made new friends who were “there in the trenches” along with me. Now that I’m past the baby/toddler stage, it’s much easier to have a social life with friends who don’t have kids. The first few years, though, are definitely hard on those pre-baby friendships.
I’ve had a lot of friendships that have fizzled since I had my daughter. Mostly, the problem is that my friends without kids don’t understand why I can’t just take off right after work for a couple of drinks or head out to the movies at a moment’s notice. Plus, I worry that they’ll see all the toys around my house and my filthy car and think I’ve turned totally square and unhip. I don’t want to force people to love my daughter or hang out with a toddler if they don’t want to. So I’ve let a lot of my childless friends call the shots, and some have quit calling altoghether. I’m sad about it, but honestly? I don’t have a lot of time and energy right now for folks who aren’t my husband, child, or co-workers. I feel like an asshole for admitting that, but it’s true. Sucky, but true.
I was the first of my group to have a child, and it was soooo hard to stay in touch because I was getting adjusted to this new life. Now they all have kids, and now they understand!!
I admit I’m a part of the mommy mafia… it’s hard to get out! I’d like to see the single folks with no kids out there try to avoid it when they have kids as well. It’s easy to point fingers when you’re not living the reality. However, I am trying to make more of an effort to see my friends without kids. As long as I don’t have to go out past 10:30 🙂
I was just thinking about this very topic this morning. How sad it is that we have good college friends that are in the next town over that NEVER call us. The only time we see them is if we call them or invite them over. (One is married and the other is not.) In this case, they never make the effort and we are starting not to either. We are tired of the one-sided friendship. So sad….
It seems to be even worse when a friend has a child and another friend has infertility issues. Suddenly the pregnant or friend with a child is almost afraid to talk to or get close to infertile friend. Such a weird assumption and so insensitive!