Before having a baby you probably had a good, healthy array of friends that you considered were an important part of your life- and you there’s. However, when you have a baby it’s common to find that you see a lot less or completely lose contact with a certain proportion of your friends. This can be for many reasons; they were your drinking/bar going buddies and so you don’t have much in common with them anymore, you’ve moved to the suburbs so it’s harder to organise a catch up or the more obvious one- your main focus now is your kids and that keeps you fully occupied most days!
If any or all of these examples apply to you, then there’s a number of ways you can look at this situation and address it or merely observe it for what it is- depending on how you feel about that friendship.
The first point to make is that real friends will not drop off the radar for any reason, in my experience the demands of life may mean you see less of them for a time- but you’ll both continue to make catch ups happen, even if they’re not as frequent or in the form that they used to be.
Your friendships- especially the close ones, can continue to be the rewarding and important sources of support and care for you that they have always been- it’s just going to take a little more effort to maintain them.
The thing that worked really well for me was to have a reminder in my phone calendar to catch up with friends at different times every month or two. If I was having a particularly crazy time of it when the reminder went off, I’d just give them a call for a quick catch up or at the very least send through an SMS letting them know I was thinking about them and asking how they were going. But whenever I could, I would try and organise a face-to-face catch up.
Particularly, if your friend/s have kids of their own, Play Dates can become a great way to catch up with them that is beneficial for you both and your children. But even if they don’t have kids, you’ll probably find they are very eager to see your little one’s anyway!
As with the relationship you have with your partner, it is fantastic if you can organise a catch up with friends when it’s just adults every now and then- this may be as little as twice a year. For similar reasons as the need for a date night- having this kind of catch up with your friends will give you the space to really reinvest in your friendship with a good catch up.
It may be as simple as delegating your partner to babysitting duties so you can have a girls’ night out. Of course, this should work both ways- with your partner being given the opportunity to do the same thing every once in a while.
While we’re on the topic and I’ve now convinced you of how important it is to maintain your friendships, why not strike while the iron’s hot and enter in a couple of reminders into your phone to contact your friends in the near future?
The most likely scenario here is that you’ll end up seeing a whole lot more of your family, because they naturally will want to support you and are so excited about the new addition to your family.
Personally speaking, I didn’t appreciate my parents or siblings as much as I did after having my son. The support, dedication and tireless love they have given to me and my family has been invaluable. Particularly because I was quite unwell for a few months after our son was born – I honestly can’t think how my husband and I would have kept up with it all without our family’s love and support.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help when and if you do feel overwhelmed. After all, we weren’t meant to do it on our own- we should naturally be offered and seek support from our family.
How have the dimensions of your relationship with friends and family changed since having kids? Do you feel like you’re still getting the support and social network that you want and need? Feel free to post me a comment- I’d love to hear from you!
Have a happy day!