Having children means a big shift in lifestyle, and while you may have thought that you were prepared, the reality can often feel overwhelming. Not only do you have to contend with sleep deprivation, a change in body shape, fluctuating hormones but a dramatic change in your social life too.
There are two things that typically happen to friendships when you have children: they breakdown or new friendships develop.
It can be profoundly upsetting when old friendships wane. You begin to question how genuine the friendship was in the first place, and whether there was ever any value in it. It is easy to lay the blame of the failed friendship on the birth of your child, but it is more likely that the friendship would have become less intense over time anyway. Friendships come and go over time, and perhaps the birth of your little one simply moved the process along quicker.
Maintaining friendships requires effort and consistency, so how can you keep your friendships alive now that socialising is that bit harder?
Socialise with the children
Naturally there are some occasions that are not appropriate for children to be at, but there are many that are. Children, particularly babies, are both portable and adaptable, and so a weekend away with close friends is a great way to socialise without the pressure of having an intense one night out. Weekend holiday rentals such as the properties from Amberley House Cottage Holidays can be the ideal way to spend quality relaxing time with friends without having to compromise family time.
Be aware of your child’s limits
However, there will be times when social events happen that are just not child friendly, and you need to be aware of their limits. If you know that your child becomes a terror if they miss their afternoon sleep, it is not fair to take them to an upmarket restaurant for a lazy lunch.
You know your child best, and so you should trust your own judgement and be sensitive to their limits. You may have to miss out on a couple of gatherings, but your friends will appreciate the thoughtfulness and not resent spending time with you.
Make other mummy friends
It’s important to have support while you are bringing up your children but save your detailed parenting talk for the mummy friends that you make. Friends who aren’t at the same life-stage as you do not have the same level of interest into your child’s eating, sleeping, or bowel habits. By downloading the minutiae of your child’s life, you risk alienating yourself from your friends. Keep the details for your mummy friends, otherwise you could become a baby bore.
Although there an extraordinary number of books written about what to expect when you become a parent, few address the changes in friendships after the birth of a child. Many parents are shocked about how even long-term friendships can become diluted or even dissolve once a family is started. However, it is not impossible to keep friendships alive.
How have your friendships changed since having children?