When I was a kid, I remember thinking that the friendships I had then would last my entire life. I learned phrases such as friends forever and through thick and thin, and you KNOW I wore one of those awesome half-heart Best Friends necklaces (I had the side that said “Be Fri”). But as I grew up, I saw and felt my friendships change in the same ways that my life did: frequently and sometimes unexpectedly. The most significant shifts happened after giving birth to my son Sonny because every priority I had literally changed overnight.
EVERYTHING CHANGES. EVERYTHING.
After having a child, relationships change — partners, family, friends… everyone. The fact is, new parents have a lot less time on their hands and sometimes it requires a borderline embarrassing amount of planning to even get out of the house. For those reasons and about a thousand others, every single one of my friendships has changed since becoming a mom. I’m closer to some people, more distant with others, and I’ve made a lot of new friends too. That’s been the best part: meeting moms with kids around Sonny’s age has widened my friendship circle more than I ever could have imagined. I better get more necklaces…
THE NEW FRIENDS
Sonny’s now in full-on toddler mode, and I’m connecting with people I hardly knew, or didn’t know at all, before I was a mom. I remember my own mom hanging out with my friends’ moms, and now it makes so much sense to me! I’ve embraced being introduced to new communities as Sonny grows, and they’ve given me a much-needed support system of women going through the same things. They “get it,” and I feel like I can be candid with them about my feelings, worries and wonders about motherhood. Plus, how many times in your adult life are you in the position to make so many new friends, right?! Opening up to new relationships has been both valuable and validating for me as I navigate parenthood, and I would encourage all new moms to seek out fresh perspectives and people along the way.
THE FARAWAY FRIEND
My best, best, BEST friend lives in New York. Not only has distance contributed to our changing friendship, but also the fact that she’s not a mom. While she used to be the person I’d call or text about anything, she’s not necessarily the one I go to with kid stuff. It’s not because I don’t value her opinion or want to share things with her. It’s because she hasn’t been in my position. Your whole frame of mind changes when you become a mom, and sometimes you need someone who’s been there. The same thing happened when my dad passed away. My friends wanted to be there for me, but I found the most comfort in people, even strangers, who had also experienced similar losses.
Conversations with this friend have become incredibly refreshing to me because we talk about things other than kids. She reminds me that I still have my own identity, and I value that we still know one another as individuals. QUICK TIP: When you have a free moment, think of someone you haven’t checked in with for a while. Ask them how they’re doing, tell them you’re thinking of them, and make sure you actually have time for a conversation. “Hey!” followed by a fast, “sorry, can’t talk now,” can feel like an empty gesture, and that’s not the message you want to send.
THE LONGTIME FRIEND
One of my longest friendships is with a woman who has a child a couple of years older than Sonny. While it may not seem like a big age gap, we’re at very different places in our parenting journeys. Additionally, she’s no longer married and is now dating someone new. My connection with her has shown me how drastically things can change depending on where we are in life. Luckily, we have the type of friendship that enables us to go a long time without talking, and then pick right back up where we left off. I treasure my relationship with her and feel like I can truly be myself when we’re together, even despite the fact that we have less crossover in our day-to-day lives right now.
THE MOM FRIENDS
I have two close friends with similar-age children as Sonny, and I’ve really gravitated toward them since we all had kids. Becoming a mom revealed a new side of our friendships, and they’ve now become some of my closest confidants. QUICK TIP: Group texts seriously rock. I stay in touch with these two friends this way, and it’s fostered a great group dynamic. If I have an urgent mom question or want to send one of them a pic of Sonny on a particularly cute hair day, the other friend can be in on it too. Texting them both at once saves time and keeps us all connected. My husband has a bunch of group texts that I’ve always been jealous of, so I guess I should give him credit for the inspiration. Thanks, Timmy!
THE JUST-WANNA-HAVE-FUN FRIENDS
Since having a baby, I’ve found the most difficulty maintaining friendships with my “just having fun” friends. I know it can be hard for some moms to let go of friendships and routines that no longer fit in their life, but in my experience, people generally understand that babies equal change. The people I’ve chosen in my life recognize that my priorities have shifted, and while our closeness has faded, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about them. We just don’t have as much in common anymore, and that’s okay. Sometimes life requires you to make space for new things.
MAKING TIME MATTERS.
Kids or no kids, you gotta have friends.
We’re social beings, and it’s important to make real, meaningful time for our friends. Timmy and I try to make plans with friends once or twice a week, whether that’s going out to dinner on a night our nanny can stay late, inviting people over for bagels on a Sunday morning, or having a monthly BBQ where a bunch of us can get together. I also find myself most drawn to people who are willing to work into my mom world, like coming over to catch up and watch The Bachelor while Sonny naps or dropping by for a glass of wine after he’s asleep. I try be conscious about people I haven’t seen recently and suggest plans that are easy for everyone (translation: hosting at our house). Because the fact is, people want to see Sonny and be invited over, and that’s often easiest for our family too. Plus, even though I love dressing up, I’m not one to turn away an opportunity to stay in my sweats these days. Guess that’s just the mom in me.