How To Maintain Friendships While Being A New Parent?
Why do most friendships fade out and do not survive parenthood?
Because most of your friends (who are childless) ‘assume’ you have absolutely no time now that you have a baby to take care of. They also feel that the baby is your priority and not friends. And most of the parents (like you) feel that the little free time you get, it would be so much of a bother to disturb your friend.
And this way, due to assumptions and genuine time crunch, communication fades, meetings stop and slowly the friendship wither away! Can you save your friendship?
Ironically, it is after having a child that you need your friends the most. Why? Because everything else you do, you do for your baby. But when you are with your friends, it is “me time”, as they help you unwind and talk about non-baby related, normal things in life. So, even though it is challenging, it is absolutely important that you maintain your old friendships through your pregnancy and parenthood. Here are:
5 Tips To Maintain Your Friendships While Being A Parent
“We know your baby is cute. Just don’t talk about it all the time”: Let us make this clear: none of your friends, not even the ones with their own kids, want to listen to how your kids smiled and peed and pooed and ate all the time. New parents have, at times, no clue how much they talk about their baby. And this can be, sorry to be blunt, quite boring for others. Sure, they will feign interest. But they will also stop looking forward to their time with you. All the baby talk that marks your very existence can cause your friends to get bored
“We know your life has changed. But we need support too”: Of course, you have gone through a life changing experience. You need all the support you can get. That said, let us not forget your friend has a life too, with his/her own challenges, happiness, problems and so on. When you are a parent, your perspective changes. You do not think your friend missing a promotion is not that big of a deal. And that breaks the deal! Remember, your priorities are changed, not your friends. So if you get a call at 9 pm from a sobbing girlfriend wanting to talk about a breakup, pick up that call. She can’t be there for you, if you are not there for her
“Make time for us”: If there is one single reason why most friendships fade after a child is because of time crunch. Friends assume you do not have time. And you definitely do not. But you do get some free time every day. And you think that is too unpredictable and you assume it will be a bother for your friends to keep their plans hanging midair. Throw these assumptions and formalities out of the window. You can make time ‘if’
you want. We repeat, ‘if you want’. You can get your spouse to watch over your child one evening every week, and plan it with your friends. Or you can get a baby sitter to watch your sleeping baby and plan a lunch with your buddies. There are options. What is more important is you make up your mind to make time
“Ok, you can’t meet us every evening. How about at least a message?”: Just because you cannot physically meet all the time, it does not mean the friendships need to die. Thanks to technology, now you can phone, text, skype, and so on. Sharing pictures and nuances of your day to day life is quite easy thanks to some of the advanced chat platforms like Whatsapp and Viber. Use them
“Do not assume we want to play with your baby every time we meet:” Your child is your life. So when your friends come over to visit you, you assume (quite wrongly) that they want to join you in your parenting. So you hand over your child with an excited “aunty will tell you a story” message. Umm, no. May be aunty does not want to tell a story. Aunty only came to spend some time with her friend over a cup of coffee. Aunty assumed there would be someone else who would be taking care of the baby while aunty chatted with her friend. Point is, you need to give your friends some exclusive time when they take the pain to come over to your place
How did your friends take it when you became a mom? Let us know