5 times motherhood will shake your friendships

I was one of those pregnant women who swore life WOULD NOT change after baby. I’d have the baby, go out often, travel the world, be a fun and constant friend, work full-time and climb the corporate ladder. Needless to say, things didn’t quite turn out that way.

Parenthood turns your life on its head. It shakes up everything. Including friendships. And it’s not just immediately after baby, there are other times when motherhood alters the landscape of your friendship circle.

Friendships Rocked

Here are 5 times motherhood will shake your friendships…

Announcing your pregnancy to a friend who is trying to conceive without success or who has recently experienced a loss

I have been on both sides of this particular situation and neither is easy. But let’s face it, the balance of grace needs to tip towards the person hurting. It may be simply too painful for that friend to be around a growing bump and baby talk. They might need to take some out from the friendship. The best thing you can offer is understanding and the assurance that you will still be there for them in the future. If you’re the one facing heartache,  it’s okay to put yourself and your needs first. A good friend will understand.

Heading back to work after maternity leave

Your child is nearing one. You feel like you are finally getting this parenting gig sorted. You have a regular catch up with on a Tuesday morning with your mothers group and it’s the highlight of your week. Then it happens. There are increasingly less of you as your friends start heading back to work. The group dissolves into nothingness. Suddenly it’s impossible to find a week day that suits you all – everyone’s part-time schedules are so different. You promise each other weekends but in reality it’s not possible with existing commitments. Again, I have been on both sides of this particular coin. It can be really tough to find that your support system no longer exists. And from the point of view of a mum heading back to work, sometimes it’s hard to keep your head above water, let alone find time for a mothers group. Some friendships last for a season and others are longer term. You will know the women in your group that you want to form strong friendships with. Concentrate on those and be open to irregular catch ups with the whole group.

Your parenting styles are completely different.

It’s terribly exciting when you find yourself pregnant at the same time as pre-kid friend. You start planning play dates for your kids, marriage even. Then when the children actually come along, you find that you parent completely differently. Maybe your friend smacks and you have a big issue with that. Maybe you are fine with a pre-packaged sugary snack here and there and your friend is dedicated to healthy eating. Maybe you are quite lax and they are quite strict. Every relationship needs give and take but if your parenting styles are polar opposites, then both of you are going to feel really uncomfortable. Perhaps this friendship can be salvaged when it’s just the pair of you, but the play dates are going to have to go for the sake of everyone’s sanity.

When your child’s friends change.

As your kids grow older, their friends tend to dictate your friends. You find yourself making close friendships with the mothers of your kid’s best friends. Which is all fine and dandy until the friendships change or you move schools or (forbid it ever happen, but it does) there is a blow up between the kids that explodes into the parent’s life as well. Again, some friendships are seasonal. But if you really, genuinely adore spending time together, you make it work no matter what the situation between your children.

Friends without kids who don’t get it.

I have wonderful friends who don’t have kids that my boys absolutely adore. Those friends understand children. They are happy to talk to them (however banal the topic). Happy to play with them. Know that when we come over it’s best to put the precious vase out of reach. Then there are those who don’t get children. Who would seemingly prefer that they didn’t exist at all. The ones we can’t visit because their house is not kid-friendly, who suggest catch ups at restaurants completely inappropriate for under 18s and can’t quite comprehend that 3am shenanigans are just no longer a possibility. I am still happy to catch up with those friends, sans kids. But my boys are a huge part of my life. I’d prefer to share them with my friends than pretend I don’t have them.

Arrow 2

Have you experienced a friendship
shake-up because of your kids?

21 thoughts on “5 times motherhood will shake your friendships

  1. The HIpsterette says:

    Agreed. It’s a different experience for everyone and, as much as you can, you have to be flexible about your life plans (and those of others). At the end of the day, life will be your teacher. Corporate high flyers might find themselves happily covered in Play Doh. Those who expected to be stay-at-home mothers might find themselves thrown back into the workforce – to put food on the table. First-time parents can be a little obsessed about the ‘perfection’ of their offspring – but that’s understandable and really to be expected. If it’s too intense for a childless friend to be around a new parent then it’s okay to step back as well. True friendship is about understanding!

    • Robyna says:

      That’s very true – we should also think about it from the point of view of the child-less friends. Before I had my own kids, and some of my older friends started having kids and it was ALL they talked about, I found it a bit difficult.

  2. Heike Herrling says:

    This is all so true. I was committed to being a cool and easy going mum – that didn’t let my baby get in the way of my friendships… but I do feel myself drifting away from friends who have toddlers who are always sick, for example. Especially when the friend, the other mum, isn’t always so good with telling their little sick munchkins to not get too close to the baby. I find it really awkward to ask someone else’s kid to go wash their hands before they touch the baby – or please don’t slobber all over my babies face when you’ve clearly got green goop coming out of your nose!?! I especially hate it when said mum then goes on and on about how I’ll just need to accept that kids just get sick and it’s really good for them longer term. Ahem. Yes. But, that doesn’t mean your child needs to go out of their way to avoid social convention and infect my child. I know we all parent differently – but surely some basic hygiene is for the greater social good…
    Also, I’m actually quite sure that when their now snotty toddler was a baby they would have felt the same way.
    *phew* /end rant/
    Heike Herrling recently posted…Travel – Cradle to Coast Farmers’ MarketMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      I must admit – you do become a lot more lax about sickness as your kids get older – but I think it pays to be a bit more careful with the under ones. I am absolutely sure they would have felt the same way when their child was a baby.

  3. Christine @ Adventure, Baby! says:

    Yes to all of the above! The hardest for me was telling a friend I was pregnant when she was trying to conceive. It was so hard and she cried. Thankfully she has since had two beautiful kids, so all is good! I also have hilarious stories of people who don’t get what life with a kid is like – “can’t you just go out and leave her (my 3 yr old) locked in the house on her own?” Ummmm no.
    Christine @ Adventure, Baby! recently posted…Adventures in Parenting: This is FOURMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      Hahahah – or people who come to see you six months after you have had the baby and think they should be walking and talking already. The pregnancy announcement thing can be really hard.

  4. Lauren - Gold Coast Mum says:

    So much truth here! I can definitely identify with the different parenting style aspect you’ve mentioned here. It’s really interesting to see how people you knew really well BC parent! Even my sister and I will do things differently! It’s amazing!

    • Robyna says:

      Hi Lauren – thanks for popping by and being so kind over on IG as well! It can drive a wedge if it’s hugely different and particularly if either party then starts using their style on the other person’s.

  5. Dawn says:

    I could not agree more with every single point. I think the one that bothers me the most is the friends who ‘just don’t get it.’ Maybe I was that person once…but then again, I’d like to think that I would have had enough compassion to at least pay attention. We want the people closest to us to try and have a bit of empathy- it’s even worse when this happens with family members. It’s all quite sad but then again, I’ve found some beautiful friendships in the strangest places since becoming a mother. Its a balance between some beautiful surprises and taking what we can get in the moment I suppose! At the end of the day I think this all tends to make our little family units we’ve created even closer. xoxo
    Dawn recently posted…How One Melbourne Company is Revolutionizing Gift GivingMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      Family is harder – you cannot really let family go as easily (well, I personally don’t think you should but I know some people have much more complicated families than my own). Motherhood has brought me some of my closest friends.

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