Tips for Making & Keeping Friends After Baby
As soon as I got pregnant with my first baby, I knew things were going to change in relationships with my friends. I knew that my world would soon be consumed with all things baby and it would be hard to refrain from constantly talking about my children.
My friends without children probably wouldn’t want to hear me go on and on about my child. Likewise, my friends who already have children may not have the patience to listen to my new mom banter. Whether it’s connecting with old friends, having friends who don’t have babies or making new friends, it can be challenging and rewarding on all accounts.
When I had my first child, it felt like it was a motherly code to only make friends with other mothers with the same number of children who were also around the same age and the same gender. Maybe it was just the city I was living in at the time. But, let’s get real. What are the chances that this scenario will happen? There are very few times I have ever met another mother, even online, that has such similarities. As I’ve had more children, I’ve realized that friendships come in all shapes and sizes.
Today, I have two boys and would love to have more children. However, I have a friend who doesn’t have any children, a friend who has just one girl who doesn’t plan on having more children, a friend with two boys who are older than mine and who is pregnant with a third, a friend who has one boy who is exactly the same age as my youngest boy…I could go on and on.
Friends have different perspectives on family and life, but we almost always have at least one thing in common.
What I’m getting at is that all of my friendships are different. We have different perspectives on family and life, but we almost always have at least one thing in common. Whether it’s what we have experienced with some of our children, an interest outside of our children or a hobby, it seems like it’s most helpful to have some sort of commonality to make a friendship last. Let’s look at the ups and downs to maintaining old friendships and making new friends after you have a baby.
Tips for Maintaining Friendships
Find common ground
You and your friends may have a different number of children, different-aged children or some friends may not have children at all. I’ve learned that if prior friendships are important to you, you need to continue to pursue similar interests to maintain that common ground. Likewise, it’s still good to have interests besides just your children. For example, I’ve taken an interest in exercising, food and traveling. While I may include my children sometimes, I’ve also learned how to exclude them from the conversation and activities.
Customize your speech
Depending on who I’m talking to, I’ve learned how to customize what parts of my life to talk about. Everyone comes from different walks of life, and it’s respectful to take certain things into account when hanging out with different friends. For example, I try to steer topics away from children when I’m with my friends who don’t have them or aren’t married. Children and building a bigger family just aren’t common interests in those friendships, and I am respectful of that. On the other hand, it may come naturally to only share parts of your life that are similar to the friend you are with.
Tips for Making New Friends
When you put forward the effort to make friends after you’ve had a baby, more often than not, you’ll be doing so while taking care of your child. This will usually be when you’re out and about with your baby. It’s multitasking at it’s best! Say hello and start a conversation at places like:
- Mommy & Me classes
- The park
- Preschool (Volunteer and remain active in your child’s classroom!)
- Play dates
- Through other friends
We all have bad days and we all have different parenting styles. Don’t base the future of your friendship on a bad day. It’s in your best interest to give that friendship time to play out and not give up on it if your friend and her children are having a bad day.
Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t met anyone new in a while. It took me over two years to make mommy friends after I had my first child. I would spark up many conversations at the park or with neighbors, but they would lead nowhere. It may be because I didn’t offer to exchange contact information or it may have been because they just weren’t looking for a new friend. It’s a two-way street, and it won’t happen instantly. Give it time and keep trying.
As you and your growing family change, your friendships will also change. It’s not uncommon to lose friendships when you start having children. And that’s okay.
There’s a natural ebb and flow to friendships. It may be more drastic when you have a baby because that baby is going to rock your world. Your way of life and way of thinking completely changes and you’ll change, too. With that said, your interests may change and you may begin to have different priorities.
As you and your growing family change, your friendships will also change. It’s not uncommon to lose friendships when you start having children. And that’s okay—it’s a gradual thing and it just happens. Of course you still stay friendly, but you just may not have much in common any more and lose conversation quickly. Be thankful for the good times you’ve had and remain positive about the future. You’ll make new friends in no time!
When You’ve Made Some New Friends
After you’ve actually put the effort forth to make friends, now comes the hard part—maintaining those friendships. When you’re a mom, you hardly have enough time to eat lunch or go to the bathroom, let alone keep up with too many relationships. But, if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that these friendships are worth the effort.
Without my friends, I would be lonely and wouldn’t have anyone to celebrate the exciting times with or have a shoulder to cry on. They are my support system outside of my spouse. I love them and would do anything for them or their children. Friends after baby are worth the effort.