Can We Still Be Friends?
One of the hardest things about being single is the feeling of being alone. While you may not actually be alone, it’s easy to feel that way if all of your friends are in a different stage of life. For me this was especially true once my friends started having babies. I remember feeling like this was an insurmountable difference in our lives and that our friendship wouldn’t last. This doesn’t have to be the case. One of my best friends in the world is mom to 4 beautiful, busy children and our friendship is stronger than it ever has been. Here are few tips that can help you preserve those precious friendships:
1. Expect Change
No matter what your friendship was like before, there will be changes after your friend has a baby. Obviously if your friend was your go to side kick for hitting the clubs on the weekends, the change is going to be bigger than if your favorite thing to do with your friend was go to Starbucks and talk. Hanging out might become coming over and rocking her baby so she can vacuum or sitting at her kitchen counter while she gets dinner ready. Since it’s a lot of work to pack a baby up and take them out, you’ll probably need to be open to going to her at whatever time works best for her and the baby’s schedule. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one trying to make the friendship work, but remember, if she invites you over to her house to hang out while the baby naps, she’s giving up time that she could be napping or catching up on work to spend time with you. Appreciate that effort. Even though it will look different your friendship can still be just as sweet as it was before, if you let it be.
2. Be Flexible
Finding time to hang out with your friend will be a bit more challenging than it was before. It’s easy to get frustrated and feel like your friend doesn’t value you anymore. I would encourage you to have grace with her. Remember that her life has completely changed. She’s now responsible for keeping a small human alive, that’s a pretty massive responsibility! Babies are pro’s at screwing up plans. They seem to enjoy having massive diaper blowouts minutes before it’s time to leave, or getting sick only on weekends their parents have plans. Be gracious if she’s late, or if she has to cancel your plans. Trust me she’d rather be hanging out with you than cleaning up vomit or whatever fun activity the baby has forced her to participate in.
3. Be Honest
This is maybe the most important. Your friendship probably won’t last if you sugar coat your life and only share the glamorous parts. If all I told my friend was how much I loved sleeping in, and how much time I spent going to the gym and getting my nails done, we probably wouldn’t still be friends. She honestly doesn’t have time to sit and listen to me brag about how much extra time, money and freedom I have because I’m single. I’m not saying you should lie about these things, but make sure you are being honest about the hard things too. Be vulnerable enough to admit that you hate coming home to an empty house, that you’re sick of going on dates with guys that suck and that you worry you may never get the chance to be a mom.
Being honest and sharing the tough stuff will also make your friend feel that she can be honest with you. While being married and having children is a blessing, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Ask your friend how she’s really doing. There’s more to motherhood than making perfect Pinterest crafts with your kids all day. Be genuinely interested in your friend’s life. She may tell you that she’s exhausted, that she feels like she can’t keep up, that she has constant anxiety because she’s not sure she’s doing this mom thing right.
A great way to encourage a deep level of honesty is to pray for one another. Sharing prayer requests and spending time in prayer together may seem uncomfortable at first but it’s a great way to add lasting value to your friendship.
Hopefully this is helpful and encouraging to you! While your friendship may get a little more complicated after a friend has a baby, it’s definitely worth the extra effort to preserve that friendship.