During my pregnancy, even before my daughter was born, I felt like I had been automatically initiated into the exclusive “Mom Club”.
The women I worked with who had children immediately took me under their wing and I felt my social circle exponentially widen.
But, at the same time, I noticed something happening with my non-mom friends. There was a distance slowly building between us as I shifted into a new phase of my life.
I’d like to say that true friends, especially those without kids, will stick by your side after your child is born – no matter what changes.
What you have to remember, however, is that these people are experiencing changes, too, as they adjust to your new lifestyle.
It wouldn’t be fair to simply sit back and expect them to maintain the friendship.
So, if you notice your non-mom friends slowly slipping away, here’s how you can keep in touch and keep the friendship going:
1. Don’t Compare Lives
When you enter motherhood, and your friends do not, your lives become as similar as apples and oranges.
Trying to explain the overwhelm and exhaustion of being a mom to someone who doesn’t have kids is like talking to a wall.
It’s no fault of their own – it’s an experience you can only understand and appreciate if you, well, experience it.
That’s not to say you can’t unload your stresses onto your friend in an effort to seek support. A good friend will offer their shoulders and listen to your woes.
But you have to remember that friendship works both ways. So, when your friend brings you her stresses (as underwhelming as they may seem compared to yours), it’s important to not downplay them.
Our level of busyness in life, as well as stress, is all relative to each individual. In order to maintain a good friendship, you have to take an empathetic role and understand that a stressed friend is still a stressed friend.
2. Include Them in Your Child’s Life
As soon as you have a child, they are your life – so anyone who wants real estate in your social circle will have to accept your little one as well.
That doesn’t mean that you can just sit back and say, “Well, if she wants to be a part of my life she has to involve herself.”
Sometimes non-mom friends don’t know how to stay a part of your life – they may feel like their presence is infringing upon your precious time.
The workaround for this is to invite your friends into your mom-life. Have them become a part of your child’s life – invite them to birthday parties, trips to the park or simply to hang out at home.
To give you a real life example, my best friend does not have children. She instantly became an aunt to my daughter and plays a very active role in her life.
This actually fulfills my friend, since she doesn’t plan on having her own children but loves to delight in the children of others.
(I think it’s because she can send them packing when they become too much.)
It can be especially hard when your children are young to find time away from them. While taking time for yourself is crucial, the time you get may not be enough to nurture your friendships.
So open the door and let them come on in.
3. Find Your Communication Groove
I used to have a close friend with whom I would talk on the phone for hours each week. This worked well for us, especially since she lives in another city.
However, once I became a mother, we lost touch.
This is because talking on the phone was impossible for me as I was caring for a newborn. And, just so you know, it doesn’t get much easier as they grow.
How is it that kids seem to gravitate to you as soon as you make a call?
Whatever the reason for having no time to talk on the phone, you need to find other forms of communication in order to maintain contact with your non-mom friends.
This is why texting and messaging are fantastic tools of communication! I don’t care what the nay-sayers say about it being impersonal – sometimes it’s the only way I can communicate with my friends without going insane.
This, unfortunately, did not work out for my friend that lives away. We do send each other messages from time to time, but it wasn’t enough to maintain the lines of communication we used to have.
And that’s okay, because sometimes there’s only so much we can do.
So if you and your friend can keep up with communication through text and messaging – Great!
Otherwise, you can always schedule weekly phone chats to catch up. Whatever works for you!
4. Don’t Shy Away from Making Plans
Even if it means you’ll have to break them.
Mom-life is totally unpredictable.
Your friends may not completely understand this but, as long as you’re open and honest with them, they should be able to at least grasp the fact that your schedule is demanding and stuff happens.
When you become anxious about having to flake out on your friends, you begin to shy away from making or accepting any plans. This guarantees that you will miss out on time with your friends.
As hockey-great Wayne Gretsky once said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
You don’t want to drift away from your non-mom friends because you think your hectic schedule won’t allow for time with them.
The more you accept invitations and make plans, the more chances you will have of seeing your friends.
5. Limit the Mom Talk
Everyone knows how proud you are that you created a human being and pushed it from your body – even your non-mom friends.
But, remember, they were your friends before motherhood was thrust upon you. They want to remain friends with the person they became friends with.
That’s not to say you can’t share your mom-life with them. Just, maybe, don’t share EVERYTHING about your mom-life with them.
Friendship is not built upon a mere exchange of mundane information. Friendships are more important than that – they fuel your soul and excite your brain.
So try to limit child-centric talk – your friends care about and want to hear about your life.
They also want to share their life with you as well.
Stick to a funny or significant story or two when it comes to your little ones.
Unless, of course, your non-mom friends WANTS to hear all the gory details. Then, by all means, unload.
6. Give Yourself Time
Immediately after giving birth is not a great time to focus on and worry about your friendships.
As you enter into motherhood, your friendships may cool off for a bit. Just know that, as soon as you gain your footing in life, your friends will be right there for you.
And if they’re not – are they really worth keeping around?
As long as you are open and honest with your friends, and have a genuine care of them and their lives, the good ones will be there when you finally find time to put down your baby and flee for an hour or two.
How have you maintained friendships with those who don’t have children? Let us know in the comments!