The Evolution of Friendships between mums and non mums
Friendships often change over time. Having children is one factor that can impact the relationship you have with your friends, but when one person has a child and the other wants to remain childfree, it doesn’t need to end a friendship either.
I think friendships can fall into a number of categories when our friends have kids:
- Category 1 – I am so happy for you. I’ll babysit and be the best aunty ever.
- Category 2 – I am happy for you and your choice. I will support you over the phone and let’s catch up when you can.
- Category 3 – Ok that’s cool. As long as I am not expected to spend time with it, we can see each other occasionally.
- Category 4 well that sux, I don’t want anything to do with your kid. See ya!
You might have had friendships that fall into 1 or a few of these categories. Sorry, I will never babysit and I am not going to apologise for it. I am not that friend.
I have found that many of my friendships have changed over time but that doesn’t mean they were all negative changes.
Many of my close friends have had kids starting in their late twenties. Whilst I was out partying, traveling, and settling into married life, many of them had different priorities.
When they got pregnant, we still saw each other and spent time together (just not as often). When the baby was born, I did the initial congratulations visit and the check-in visits and calls. As they adjusted to their new world, they didn’t have time for me, and I knew that would happen. Sure, at times, I was pissed off by this, but I soon realised it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to be friends, it was simply that has this new priority that didn’t include me.
So, I left them to it while I got on living my life. We’d talk and visit occasionally, and I knew that when they were through this phase in their life, we’d see each other more.
I think part of staying friends is not only being happy for the other person but having a realistic expectation about the future. Of course, they are going to be focused on their kids and you become less of a priority. That doesn’t mean they don’t value you or your friendship.
As my friends have gotten older and their children have also grown and become more independent, our friendships have changed and evolved. They become more available again and want to spend time on social outings because they no longer have a child that they have to watch 24/7. They get back some of the freedom they had pre-kids and you can help them enjoy that.
I admit that as I have gotten older and had older friends having babies, I have been far more absent. That has been by choice. I don’t like babies and I don’t want to spend time around them. I am happy for my friends, but I can support them from afar. I refuse to hold them or coddle them, and I don’t care who doesn’t like it. That confidence and ability to say “no” comes with age too.
I think the main thing is that you need to have realistic expectations about your friendships. They will change when one of you has kids and the other doesn’t. All of my life-long friends have children. Some of my newer friends do, but not all of them.
Being prepared for how your friendships change and evolve, definitely helps. You need to manage your expectation and remember that all friendships can change, with or without kids. That is life. But it needs to be a healthy friendship that has love on both sides.
I have friends that I see very rarely but when I do, we just pick up where we left off. I don’t expect too much of them. We are all busy living life and have different priorities. It doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. There is not quote that says I have to talk to my friends a certain number of times a year. Good friends can do months or years without talking. It’s OK! Don’t put pressure on your relationships.
But friendships also go both ways and your friends need to want to make the effort. I have sadly, seen friendships fade away due to lack of effort and sometimes that will happen. But being friends shouldn’t feel hard or like it’s too much effort. Move on. It’s ok! You don’t have to stay friends forever.
They save friends are for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I have friends that have fit into all categories.
Your friendships will evolve so embrace them while you have them and if you both value the friendship you will both make the effort to stay friends.