It’s true that everything changes after you have a baby, but motherhood can be lonely without your friends. Although your perspective on just about everything changes after your baby arrives, your child-free friends’ hasn’t. Once you have kids, maintaining friendships takes work.
Maintaining Friendships After Baby
First, keep talking. The best thing you can do to preserve your friendships is to be honest and communicative from the get-go. This frank advice comes from F. Diane Barth, psychotherapist and author of I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women’s Lives (Harper; 2018). Barth says you can say something like this to a friend, “I love you and I hate that I don’t have a lot of time right now, but I’d rather see you for 30 minutes than not at all.” Then you can make a plan for a 30 minute coffee — and stick to it. It’s so much better than bailing on a brunch or something on the day of. And when you do manage to get together — for a walk or a workout — remember not to only focus on your baby. Aim to talk about the same things you talked about before like books you’re reading, what shows you’re watching and romantic relationships. You may find it refreshing to be reminded that all of life isn’t about changing diapers and breastfeeding!
“To a new mom, a friend’s dating or work issues may seem trivial, but be careful not to be condescending,” Barth says. “Make sure to be a partner in the conversation by valuing what your friend has to say.”
For friendships to thrive — with old friends, new or even with your spouse — it requires 50 – 50 effort. Aim to focus on your listening skills, compassion and communication. And remember, being a good friend means offering support through thick and thin.