marriage and certainly not children. We are already the odd ones for being married. I am starting to fear that once we have a child, we will have no one to relate to regarding parenthood.
Now, I’m not saying my friends don’t care about us. I just feel like we are all going down very different paths and growing apart. One couple is about to travel to India for a year. My best friend quit her job and moved to Europe to study massage therapy. Another friend is into taking heavy party drugs and staying out all night at gay bars. All of these friends are exciting, magnetic people whom I love and enjoy spending time with. My husband and I also enjoy traveling and certainly have our share of late nights, but it has just winded down at bit over the years, and we’re a more settled now. I’m afraid once we become parents, it will be very lonely and isolating because we don’t have anyone else in the same boat.
I have a strained relationship with my family, which is part of why I have always considered my friendships so important. Maybe that is why I am so fearful of us growing apart. Is this just adulthood? — Settling Down
Here’s the thing about growing older, whether you get married, stay single, have kids, or remain child-free: there will be times when you’ll feel lonely. There will be times when you’ll feel like everyone else has a more interesting, exciting, less messy life than you. There will always be people who will represent choices you could have made but didn’t and a life you could have had but don’t. There will be friends who disappoint you and friends who surprise you. Some of the people you think will be in your life forever will fade away, and some people who exist on the fringe of your social circle will be the ones you come to depend on and love the most.
Now, here’s something specific about having kids: when you become a parent, your life will simultaneously open and close in ways you can only begin to imagine right now. You will no longer have the time, energy, or interest in some of the activities that once filled your weekends. You’ll spend far less time with some of the people you consider your closest friends, particularly if they don’t have children or if they live farther than a 20-minute commute from you. And at the same time, you will meet SO many more people — people who, like you, are parents whose lives revolve, in large part, around the children they’re raising. You will meet them in neighborhood moms’ groups, and prenatal yoga classes, and at the playground and preschools and baby swim class at the Y. You won’t be able to STOP meeting other parents even if you want to. And from that pool of acquaintances, you will make new friends, some of whom may replace the friends you no longer feel as connected to. And some won’t be replacements, but additions.
And here’s the wonderful thing: whether you have kids or not, as you age, if you remain open to new connections and you keep yourself available and receptive to new friendships, in time you will find that your life is overflowing with people whom you connect with on a variety of different levels. Some will be the friends you count on to help you escape the mundane, day-to-day drudgery of domestic life. These may be the friends who knew you when you were 20 and whose company instantly takes you back to a time of few responsibilities and self-involvement. Other people will be those you connect with because you share similar hobbies or interests. Some friends will be vital to your well-being because they know what you are going through right now, in this moment, and can lend you support without asking more in return than you are able to give. And some friends will be the people you can count on no matter what, not just because they’ve known you for so long or because they have kids too or because they live in the same neighborhood; they will be the people you can count on because they are the people you invest in — the people you would drop most everything for to be there for.
Yes, friendships shift and change as we grow and as life pulls us in different directions. But if you have a true connection to someone, find the time and energy to keep nurturing it, despite your different life circumstances. Marital status, where you live, whether you have kids or not — those things mean something, of course, but the most important thing in determining the longevity of a friendship is whether your souls connect. And if they do, nothing can take that away. Certainly not the addition of a kid in your life. (And if it does, then your souls probably didn’t connect all that deeply anyway).
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artsygirl January 14, 2013, 9:18 am
LW – I am in the same boat as you. My husband and I are talking about starting a family and all the stresses that will entail. We will be the first in our friend group to take the step and we assume that it will change the nature of our friendships since we won’t be able to travel at the drop of a hat, stay up all night at a bar, host spontaneous parties for sporting events, etc. Now most of our friends are married or heading in that direction so we will just be ahead of the curve. I would point out that of the four friends you mentioned above three of them are moving away for an extended period and the fourth sounds like he/she is still living out their college glory days. Personally, even if I was not planning on having kids, taking recreational drugs and then dancing the night away does not really appeal and it sounds like you aren’t into the scene either. Basically, you have to live the life you want and assume that your friendships will continue on as well as opening up opportunities for new ones.
katie January 14, 2013, 9:21 am
i think that the short answer is yes and no, and then the long answer is WWS.
Turtledove January 14, 2013, 9:23 am
Wendy is right. Also, as a childless person myself, I can say for certain that not all childless people will drift away from you. Some will, and that might make you sad, but some people will make an effort to stay in touch and stick around even though your needs and schedules have changed. Pay attention to who those people are making an effort, and they might surprise you.
I think a good way to think about this is that every time your life changes in a big way, whether that’s going to college or leaving school or changing jobs or getting married and on and on, your friend circle will change. Some friends will drift away and some new friends will come into your life and some people will stay for the next cycle. Having babies is just part of your next cycle and some of your friends will fit into that cycle and some won’t. It might feel lonely and scary, but you’ll find a new configuration that fits you.
Desiree January 14, 2013, 9:34 am
First of all: WWS, that was brilliant. LW, I can give you my take as a childless person with a bunch of friends who have kids, and that is this: the kind of parent you are will partially influence how your friendships do or don’t change. All of my friends with kids are really awesome and involved parents. However, one of my female friends with kids hasn’t maintained enough individuality for me to feel like there is a person left with whom I can have a friendship. Case in point: I go to her house to visit her and her baby when her baby is 8 m/o. I am perfectly ready to admire and coo over her baby (I want to be a pediatrician, for heaven’s sake). But for the ENTIRETY of my stay, my friend is constantly (without pause) looking at and talking to her baby. I eventually stopped trying to have a conversation, and after a few minutes of silence she gave me a startled look and says, “You can keep talking! I’m listening.” But I couldn’t engage her because she wouldn’t really look at me or talk to me, even when I asked her direct questions about her baby. Many other friends in our circle have reported similar problems with her. Other than that friend, I love my friends with kids and enjoy socializing with their kids.
MMcG January 14, 2013, 10:07 am
I just want to second this so much… I have friends who have incorporated their children into their lives and I have friends that have rearranged their lives for their kids.
The former group that I hope to be a part of (but not having had kids I know there is no predicting absolutely), brings the balance and retention of self that I think makes keeping friends/hobbies/interests much more easy. You still have to be ready to coo at the proper times of course, but they also will pour out a glass of wine after the kid is in bed and hang out. The latter group seems to have a much harder time in my experience, especially after the infancy years, almost as if the myopic focus on the baby results in a loss of perspective and social skills that leads to baby talk conversations and way TMI about baby bodily fluids when you really just wanted to gossip about what was worn at the Globes 😉
katie January 14, 2013, 10:25 am
i think “I have friends who have incorporated their children into their lives and I have friends that have rearranged their lives for their kids” is the perfect way to describe it.
when i visited my friend last year who just had a baby, and who is the first friend i know who has had kids, it was just like old times, but with a baby. we still went out to dinner, we just had a baby with us. we still went to the saturday market in portland, we just had a baby with us, we still took goofy pictures, we just took them with a baby added… ect. i never felt like things were really different, even though they were different, if that makes sense.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 11:36 am
It is often easier to do this with a baby than with a toddler so don’t be surprised if it gets more difficult. Some toddlers can sit in a restaurant and some can’t sit still long enough to get through a meal. A meal at our local restaurants usually takes about an hour and a half from the time you walk in until you leave and most toddlers can’t sit for that long. So your day might change in some ways like you go to the market but it is more stressful if you have a toddler than is fearless and darts away. Then when you want to go eat you might have to get fast food because that is what the child is able to do. You end up with your day out but it isn’t exactly the same day out you would have without the child.
FireStar January 14, 2013, 11:37 am
I’ve had conversations with friends about how I so do not need to hear about anything related to diapers or spitting up. If there is a medical issue and you are scared or stressed no problem – but I don’t need a daily play by play. I’m lucky with my friends – none got so absorbed in their kids there was no room for friends anymore. Even for the kids’ events – I’ve heard of people getting vex if you forget their kids birthdays or events but the rule in our group is if you want me to remember – then go ahead and remind me… because my life doesn’t revolve around your kids and I don’t expect your life will revolve around mine either. My best friend really is the best – our conversations usually go “the party is on Sunday – but there will be 20 screaming kids and a clown and a bouncy castle – you don’t have to come – I’m already having a headache thinking about it” so my answer can be – “Okay – bring her by the office on Monday and I’ll take her to the book store for a shopping spree/lesson in budgeting”. Everyone ends up happy!
MMcG January 14, 2013, 12:11 pm
I’m pretty blessed in that the majority of my friends that have children completely understand and accept that I have no idea how old their kids are, or when their birthday is… I mean I remember who is the older one or the younger one – but I had a friend look me straight in the eye and say “if you don’t have kids yourself, so you don’t have a little one to measure by ala “oh Tim is 6 months younger than Sue” than why would you keep it straight!?!” Ummm… THANK YOU 🙂
FWIW, I’ve also noticed a difference in culture… I have one friend who grew up abroad and she is way more laid back than some of my friends that grew up in the US. Much more likely to have a glass of wine while pregnant, eat cheese, etc. that is so OMG YOUR NOT TAKING OPTIMAL CARE OF YOURSELF AND DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR BABY judgy judgerston here in the states
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 12:23 pm
I love your last paragraph. Everything about babies seems to be so blown out of propotion in the US these days.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:28 pm
gg, If you trust that you and your husband are doing a good job, ignore what anyone else thinks. I really think that’s the key for parenting.
MMcG January 14, 2013, 1:25 pm
Hell I think that’s the key for life lbh!!
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:56 pm
Ha, very true. Good call.
lemongrass January 14, 2013, 11:31 am
Wow, I have never met someone like that. I wonder if they never had babies around them before and that’s why they are so engrossed? How could you even function on a day to day basis if you can’t stop looking at your baby?
katie January 14, 2013, 11:50 am
oh geez its such a widespread problem… although maybe only in the us?
another symptom of helicopter parents.. its terrible.
lemongrass January 14, 2013, 12:16 pm
I thought it was such a stereotype from people who didn’t want anything to do with babies ever. I didn’t think people actually acted like that. But maybe it’s because I’ve been around babies my entire life and people just lived normally? Like I love all my nephews and nieces and pay them one on one attention but not while I’m talking to someone else. I’ll hold them the entire time I’m around as long as they don’t wiggle away and I’ll give them the occasional kiss or raspberry but I’m still fully able to have a conversation. Usually it’s the kids that are ignored over the adults!
katie January 14, 2013, 12:38 pm
haha- you know all the letters we get from people whose partners have parents that are really, really unhealth-ily involved in their lives?
helicopter parents. lol
lemongrass January 14, 2013, 12:49 pm
That’s crazy. I could never be like that. At least now I don’t have to worry about “losing myself.”
Desiree January 14, 2013, 11:51 am
It was truly bizarre. I have babysat lots of babies and kids, and I had never seen any parent act like she did. There were some complicating factors in her case (quite young, new and difficult marriage, recent move), and I think focusing on her baby was kind of a way to evade certain problems. But it was…creepy, to be honest.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 11:53 am
WWS and WDS. Such a great point about depends on what kind of a parent you are.
I know this one couple that takes their baby everywhere, parades, ball games, parties, etc. Since maybe 2 months old. They still see everyone, have a blast hanging out, take turns on who will stay totally sober. Its great.
MMcG January 14, 2013, 12:15 pm
@lbh – that’s awesome and the best part about that is that the kid will be so much more able to handle different situations and experiences! Nothing worse than the parent saying that the little one can’t do X or go Y – and it’s because they’ve never tried it, or tried it once and it was just too hard. I’m not saying take your toddler to a fine dining restaurant at 3, but that’s what Chucky Cheese and places like that are for… practice makes perfect 😉
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:22 pm
Yes, exactly. We all went to the St Patricks Day parade together and the baby slept through half of it. The other half? Smiling being passed around to friends. It was amazing. I mean, not every baby is going to be happy all the time obviously, but he’s so able to adapt to any setting.
katie January 14, 2013, 12:39 pm
i read somewhere that it is really good to do that with kids… because if you dont take them places based on the fact that they are going to act, well, like children, you arent teaching them how to act in public and it will backfire later on in the kids life… like, learning how to act in public starts from birth.
JK January 14, 2013, 12:43 pm
I think it applies to a lot of things with kids. Like a friend of my brothers didn´t let anyone make noise or turn lights on around her kid when he was sleeping as a baby. You can guess how well that turned out in the long run.
katie January 14, 2013, 12:46 pm
oh god. that would be terrible…
yea, i guess you really just have to treat kids like normal people. cuz, you know, there people…
bethany January 14, 2013, 2:29 pm
My friend’s 2 year old could sleep through a bomb going off. I’m convinced it’s because they never tiptoed around when the baby was sleeping. My theory will be tested with the arrival of the 2nd one this summer though 🙂
JK January 14, 2013, 2:44 pm
It does depend a lot on the kid, with both of mine I made sure to have them nap with noise, light, etc. The 1st can sleep through literally ANYTHING (like one time we were locked out of the house banging on the doors and windows for over an hour. in winter), the 2nd wakes up with pretty much everything, unless she´s absolutely exhausted.
MMcG January 14, 2013, 1:39 pm
plus it’s a great way to get to know your child… I have cousins that loved, and I mean LOVED, being tossed around as little ones, going to sporting events where they either zoned out and slept through the noise or happily clapped and shouted while watching the lights and people — guess who likes to ride the scary roller coasters and go to be noisy events now? I’ve got another cousin who is totally mellow, has been since birth, and is content sitting on the bench in the amusement park laid back watching life pass him by.
it’s such a shame for the kids who never get the chance to experience things for themselves or have to live through their parents lens of likes/dislikes.
ktfran January 14, 2013, 3:24 pm
And this is why I can’t wait for my friends to have kids. Most of my friends are easy going, and so I think they’ll take their children out and we’ll have fun. Of course, that won’t always be the case, but I’m looking forward to the parents who want their babies and children to experience life! But I also love babies and kids.
JK January 14, 2013, 9:54 am
WWS. I never really was in your position LW, since I was one of the last in our friend circle to have kids (my eldest is at least one year younger than the oldest of my friends), but pretty much all of our friends do have kids. And our social life has always been more about getting together with friends for dinner,so that doesn´t change much with kids or without.
Wendy is so right about making new parent friends, I´ve become close to some of the kindy mothers, and it is great to have people that are going through the same things as you are, being able to exchnge advice, vent, etc.
lucy January 14, 2013, 9:56 am
The truth is that no one is ever READY to have a child. If people waited until they would have children, then the world would be childless.
JK January 14, 2013, 10:02 am
I know I was ready for kids. As was my husband. And our friends. And I´m pretty sure Wendy was. And most of the other parents on here.
jlyfsh January 14, 2013, 10:05 am
I might be reading to much in to this response from lucy but I think a lot of people are ready but are still scared/nervous. And maybe that’s what she meant? That if everyone waited until they had zero reservations and weren’t even a little nervous about how a baby would change things no one would have kids? At least that’s how I took it, even if it wasn’t the original intent, haha 🙂
JK January 14, 2013, 10:09 am
You might be right. But then you´re always too nice to people 🙂
jlyfsh January 14, 2013, 10:12 am
Haha ahh you’re probably right 😉
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 10:22 am
jlyfsh I think you are right. What I read this to mean is there will always be something that you could use to justify putting off trying to have a baby. My relationships with my friends might change! We might not be financially ready! I haven’t done x, y, or z yet! Sometimes you just have to take the jump or if you wait for everything to be “perfect” it’s never gonig to the right time.
lucy January 14, 2013, 10:58 am
yes, that is what i meant. that no matter how ready you are for kids, you’re still nervous and there’s always MORE you can do to get better prepared and “Settled”.
JK January 14, 2013, 11:07 am
Not necessarily. Are you a parent?
Although I was nervous about aspects of becoming a parent (childbirth) I was never nervous about being a parent.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 11:15 am
I wasn’t nervous either.
lemongrass January 14, 2013, 11:34 am
I’m not nervous, not even about childbirth (although I’m probably being naive in my positive thoughts!) And my husband- cool as a cucumber. Seriously, once he decides to do something then it’s done, not a second thought.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:01 pm
You never felt like you could be MORE prepared? And you seriously were never nervous about any aspect of parenting? Really?
JK January 14, 2013, 12:05 pm
Yes, really. I get excited over ech new phase we go through. I mean I´m sure once they hit tee years it will get harder, but I know I´ll do my best. WHich is all anyone really can do-
As far as parenting goes I´ve NEVER had one of those “oh shit” moments.
Taylor January 14, 2013, 12:12 pm
More power to you, you sound like a pretty chill person. I have a near constant, low level grade of anxiety about, well, most things. I can’t imagine not worrying about the kid having/raising.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:15 pm
I’m not even an anxious person, but I of course have worried about how to handle things before. Its crazy to me that jk hasn’t. Lucky I guess?
JK January 14, 2013, 12:21 pm
For the most part I do what feels right. If it doesn´t come naturally, I consult with the pediatrician, my mum, friends whose parenting I like, or go online.
But up til now I´ve only been through easy ages, like I said somewhere else I guess as the girls get older things will get tougher.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:24 pm
Yea, I’d say I do/feel the same. But I still worry if I’m doing X right. Even being confident in my parenting decisions, I get what lucy was saying.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:27 pm
I’ve been struggling with an issue lately (still plenty of time to decide though), and I’ve asked friends and family of their opinions, looked online, etc. but I’m still not sure what the best choice is. So even while the day to day stuff is easy, its the other, bigger, things I worry about.
JK January 14, 2013, 12:16 pm
I am actually a bit of a worrier sometimes, but definitely a lot less than I used to be since I´ve had kids. And I definitely have a relaxed parenting style, no schedules for us! I mean I do freak out of course when one of the girls is sick/gets injured (I´m not a monster haha) but I just find everything really natural, I go doing what feels right for me, and for the girls.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 12:31 pm
I’m very laid back and so I don’t get worried about things. I assume I’ll handle what happens and there is no need to worry ahead about things that might not happen. I plan ahead but don’t worry ahead.
lucy January 14, 2013, 1:20 pm
Seriously folks? you’re weren’t nervous or anxious @ all? suuurrrre.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 2:43 pm
Obviously you don’t know me. I have had my husband ask why I’m not worried about something but no one who knows me has ever claimed I pretended to not worry. I’m not a worrier. That isn’t me. I planned and prepared and felt fine with what I was doing. I honestly don’t get how people can worry so much but I do understand that they do. I make friends with people who also don’t worry because that’s the kind of people I like, that I match. So we might ask how someone handled something but we aren’t asking out of worry, just getting information.
If one of my kids disappeared I would worry. If my parents were missing after a tornado I would worry. Normal, everyday life, doesn’t make me worry.
JK January 14, 2013, 2:49 pm
People can and do react differently to different situations, it doesnpt make us better or worse, just different. Implying we´re lying because we have a more relaxed attitude about certain things is a bit rude, imo.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 3:12 pm
Honestly, I found it hard to believe also. And I don’t think you’re a liar.
I’ve never heard of anyone who wasn’t at least slightly nervous or thought they could be at least slightly more prepared for kids.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 3:48 pm
I was raised on a farm and I think it takes a certain type of person to be a farmer. There is never any certainty in farming. There is never a guaranteed income or even a guarantee that there will be an income. Things like weather and markets are beyond your control and you just deal with life as it happens. I grew up in a community where the people were matter of fact and there weren’t many worriers. I don’t think a worrier would last. The people in my home community would have considered the worries expressed here as searching for things to worry about. I was raised that way and was surprised to go out into the larger world and find people worried in the way that they do. Even in college, where I was surrounded by students who were mainly raised the way I was I didn’t see people worrying. I had to get further from home to really see it.
I think the biggest difference between my husband and myself was that he worried and I don’t. His point of view was that if you didn’t worry you wouldn’t take care of things and my point of view was that if you took care of things you didn’t need to worry. I still don’t worry and he doesn’t worry as much or as easily. The last time he was really worried about something he asked me to talk him down and I did.
JK January 14, 2013, 3:53 pm
@lbh remember the other day when people were saying they never argued with their SOs? This kinda reminded me of that. Except no one called BS on them.
JK January 14, 2013, 3:58 pm
@skyblossom I think you have a great point actually. In my line of work (occupational therapy) there is no certainty either, and there is definitely no point in worrying.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 4:02 pm
Yea, found that hard to believe too. I mean, never?! If all these people who have never argued and never gotten nervous about children are really out there, I need to spend more time learning from them!
Maybe its the way people define things, like arguing. Maybe they just disagree loudly.
JK January 14, 2013, 4:08 pm
Loudly, with insults, slamming doors and getting mad with the other person. 😛
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 4:27 pm
I saw on the weekend open thread that you were happy with your life. I’m happy with my life too and I think our attitude is one of the big reasons why. I enjoy life. I enjoy my family and friends and the things that we do. I’m happy.
JJWo January 15, 2013, 11:29 pm
I totally get it. I also have a relaxed attitude, never really worry. Everything just seems to come naturally, you know? Also, my shit never smells bad. It’s not that I’m a better person, but really, my poop always smells like flowers. Well, excepts when I’m have a super great day-then it smells like cinnamon buns.
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 12:06 pm
JK I get your point, but lucy isn’t saying “nervous about being a parent”. She’s saying nervous about making a huge change in your life and how that will affect other aspects of life.
I’m not nervous about being a parent but I am nervous about being financially stable enough and nervous about how our relationships with friends will change and nervous about how our family will react to our parenting decisions. I have great confidence in our decision to start trying for a baby after our wedding. We beleive it is the right time for us as a couple and that we’re ready to make the sacrifices that come along with a baby and in our ability to care for a child but I am nervous about life in general will change and how that could affect other relationships.
JK January 14, 2013, 12:09 pm
For the financially stable part, that´s why I for one waited until we were ready in ALL WAYS to be parents (including financially). And honestly? Becoming parents was only one more step in the evolution of us as a couple, and with our friends, family etc.
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 12:30 pm
But how do you know your “financially ready to have a baby”? Like, even if your partner has a great, stable, well paying job- that could change! Money is one of the most unreliable components of the decision to have a child. There are definitely things you can do financially to prepare- build up savings, pay down loans/credit cards, pay off a home, etc. But you’re never really truely going to be financially stable indefinitely (unless you’re independently wealthy and have just mounds of money).
JK January 14, 2013, 12:38 pm
In our case we were debt free, had savings, knew we could afford any child incurred costs without having to go into debt. And luckily both my husband and I are in fields where there is always work, so unemployment isn´t really a possibility.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 12:45 pm
What we did was to live below our means. We spent far less on a house than we could afford and we spend less on cars than we can afford. That allows us to save more and travel more and it always gave us some leeway if our income dropped. Our income never dropped but if it had we had some flexibility.
jlyfsh January 14, 2013, 12:09 pm
yeah, most of my friends weren’t nervous/scared about the actually being a parent (some were though!) but more how being a parent would change their life. it’s like any other big change, some people are more nervous about them than others!
i tend to definitely be one of the over thinkers/worriers though!
MMcG January 14, 2013, 12:17 pm
Yep, I’m an overthinker and I’m already worried about how it might impact the relationship with my husband. I think becoming a parent is one of those experiences where you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good… but for those of us who are more anxious or perfectionist – giving up the kind of control that comes with parenting a whole separate creature can be really intimidating!
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:46 pm
I’m writing that line down and taping it to my phone as we speak…you can’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Awesome!
SweetPeaG January 14, 2013, 12:18 pm
I agree with what you are saying Lucy. I have heard this stated in different ways before… so you didn’t pull this out of nowhere! I know people that will reason that they need more money saved, more establishment in their career, more life experience, etc. before they have children. But, you can only be prepared so far. When your child gets here, life will change in ways that you never expected. That’s what I’m told, anyway.
So, I understand your statement and didn’t think it was way out in left field 🙂
kerrycontrary January 14, 2013, 10:33 am
I think what Lucy meant is that you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent until you are a parent. And there are so many unexpected things that come with having an infant, and then a child, and then a teenager, that you can read all the books you want but you will never really KNOW what it’s like to have your own child until you have one.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:00 pm
I know exactly what she was saying. I’ve heard that a million times before. She probably just means even people who are trying to get pregnant still are nervous about it. I know in my overthinking brain, I would totally agree with Lucy.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 10:24 am
We were ready to have kids. We had no doubts about wanting a baby. We did wonder about the timing and whether we should already own a house, etc. A good friend told me that there will always be ten good reasons to not have a baby so when you are ready for a baby go ahead and have one. He was telling me that because he and his wife waited too long because there were always good reasons to wait and then they were over 40 and infertile when they tried to have a baby. So we went ahead and had our son and when we tried to have a second baby it didn’t happen and I kept remembering his advice and thinking it was the best advice anyone had ever given me. We did finally have a second baby but only after fully accepting that there would only be one child. So we felt especially lucky to get to have two children.
SweetPeaG January 14, 2013, 1:20 pm
Yes! You nailed it.
Fabelle January 14, 2013, 10:03 am
I love Wendy’s answer to this, & really don’t have anything to add! Basically, LW: I think you DO need to be prepared to grow apart from certain friends, at least for a little while. But at the same time—remember it won’t be a long road of loneliness ahead of you. There’s a lot of people in the same position as you.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 10:06 am
It sounds like most of your closest friends are moving away and so they won’t be in your day to day life anyway.
As a parent I can’t say whether you lose your close friends when you have a baby because we moved to a new community when I was pregnant with our first child. We didn’t know anyone and were starting fresh. There was no internet at the time and no Skype and when you moved a distance you had to start over making close friends.
I can say that when you are a parent you naturally meet lots of parents. Every child that goes to any child related activity has at least one parent taking them to the activity and so you meet parents everywhere you go. You are surrounded by other parents who like to do the same activity that you like because otherwise they wouldn’t sign up their child for the activity. So you meet lots of people with similar interests and when you are there with your child you end up talking to the other parents and you will find that you are a good match to some of them. You will just have more fun with one or two or find them more interesting and you will spend more and more of your time there talking to your favorite people and you become friends. Children create lots of opportunities for their parents to make friends.
ktfran January 14, 2013, 10:09 am
One of my “new” friends is pregnant. Do you know how excited I am that I have a friend in the same city that I live who is going to have a baby? Extremely effing excited! Hell, I already offered to throw her baby shower. And I can’t wait until, and she just found out friday, her daughter is born and we can take walks around Chicago, go to the zoo and go to brunch and just finally hang out with a kid! Also, my best friend in the world has a 3 year old special needs child. She lives in a different City, but she brings her daughter to visit once or twice a year and we go to museums, take walks around the neighborhood, go out to dinner. I visit her and her family once or twice a year too. Because she’s my greatest friend and why wouldn’t I want to share her life, even though it’s quite different from my own?
I guess what I’m trying to say is Wendy is right. Some friends might fade out for a while, I really think you’ll meet new mom friends, and some friends will be so happy for you, they want to share the joy and they won’t let the friendship fade.
Finally, I continually make new friends, even as a 33 (as of today) year old woman. And it’s pretty awesome. Just be open to new people and it will all fall into place.
Desiree January 14, 2013, 10:27 am
Wendy January 14, 2013, 10:51 am
FireStar January 14, 2013, 11:13 am
ktfran January 14, 2013, 11:17 am
Thank you, thank you! For a super cold Monday, I’m surprisingly chipper. I’m guessing that’s way.
MMcG January 14, 2013, 12:20 pm
Awwwwww, look at the 80s baby celebrating her birthday 🙂
(just kidding BTW, my husband’s birthday is this week and he is the same age… I’m “slightly” (*ahem*) older so the born in the 80s thing was a bit of a barrier for my brain when we first started dating)
ktfran January 14, 2013, 3:30 pm
I love it and I totally understand. I get in a huff about it because I identify more with gen x. I mean, I was born exactly two weeks into the 80’s. But I love being born in 80 because I can figure out my age easily. Simple math people, simple math!
jlyfsh January 14, 2013, 10:10 am
I think like Wendy said, friendships are constantly evolving. So few friendships look exactly the same year to year. I’m the same age as you and many of my friends are having babies. And honestly our friendships have changed but not in a I no longer count them as friends way. As long as you are both willing to put in the effort (and like before sometimes one friend gives more than the other) you will remain friends.
Your expectations of each other may change, but that happens anyway, as we get older. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I did even 5 years ago for friends. I still make them a priority but how much we see each other and what we need from each other is different now.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 10:16 am
Yes, you will lose your friends and thank god, they sound like a bunch of shallow nitwits. Seriously, massage therapy… what an idiot. And what do you want, a recreational drug user around your kids. Grow up.
Desiree January 14, 2013, 10:31 am
That’s a bit harsh. I’ll give you the drug user; I refrained from adding it to my post but I definitely thought, “You might want some distance there anyway once you have kids.” But I don’t see what is wrong with her other friends. They sound free-spirited, but that’s not a bad thing, and I think diversity in friendships is great. I am in medical school and my sister is pursuing movie score composing, but I think the difference enhances rather than hurts our relationship.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 10:56 am
Free-spirited normally equals chronically unemployed. When I get tired of my grown up friends and need a bit of free-spiritedness, I just head over to the local Starbucks… nothing like getting a vanilla latte from an overeducated liberal arts degree owning barista… at least they always have great taste in music.
Mandy S January 14, 2013, 11:26 am
Project much? My “overeducated liberal arts degree” friends are all working full-time in 80k+ jobs. It’s my undereducated friends who never graduated who are running gas stations and pulling lattes.
BecBoo84 January 14, 2013, 11:46 am
Hmmmm… my husband “runs a gas station” and has a college degree. He started with the company part time while in college and has just slowly moved his way up over the past 5 years…. and now makes considerably more $ than I do, with my Master’s Degree.
Kelly L. January 14, 2013, 11:30 am
Wow, someone woke up on the sanctimonious side of the bed this morning.
JK January 14, 2013, 11:33 am
This is the same person that recommended the LW the other day settle for the guy with different values because CHURCH PEOPLE ARE THE BEST EVER. So I´d just ignore anything he/she says.
katie January 14, 2013, 11:52 am
jk: the memory of an elephant… haha
JK January 14, 2013, 11:54 am
It was only a couple of days ago! hahahhaa
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:34 pm
Wow… I made an impact. I hadn’t bothered to go back to and read the responses to my comment… I am flattered I made an impression. I love Dear Wendy, actually I am an advice column junkie. I just like to pipe in with my gay man straight talk style advice, except I’m not a gay man. Most of the time she gets it right, especially her MOA advice, but every once and a while, I think she is a bit naive. It wouldn’t be fun if every commentor agreed would it?
Kelly L. January 14, 2013, 1:43 pm
Oh, you definitely have the right to disagree–and then we have the right to disagree right back with you, which is what we’re doing.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:46 pm
Haha… touché! I like you Kelly L. Don’t worry, we will probably agree on something sooner or later.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:46 pm
Funny, your comment could’ve easily been from BGM. There was truth to it, just not put sweetly.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:49 pm
Who is BGM?
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:55 pm
bitter gay mark. He’s a frequent, tough talk, no holds barred commenter on here.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 2:02 pm
Thanks… I suppose I aspire to be similar, though I’m not really bitter (my life is actually pretty awesome) and I’m not gay.
iwannatalktosampson January 14, 2013, 3:45 pm
Woah talk about a case of the mean girls club today. I think you had really valid points thetruth for what it’s worth.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 4:15 pm
Kelly L. January 14, 2013, 1:44 pm
Ha, I remember that. That’s the crappy advice from some self-help book a few years ago. I think it was called Marry Him? Anyway, it was all about settling for a guy you don’t love because zomgbiologicalclock. Because that’s such a healthy arrangement.
TheTruth January 14, 2013, 1:35 pm
Isn’t sanctimonious the point of advice columns?
Kelly L. January 14, 2013, 1:45 pm
Do you know the definition of “sanctimonious”?
artsygirl January 14, 2013, 11:49 am
Well this over-educated-liberal-arts-degree-holding-meaningfully-employed person is telling you to take your biased remarks and shove it. (I can repeat this message in French, German, or Latin if it is not clear.)
MMcG January 14, 2013, 12:22 pm
Pig-Latin only please, my liberal arts self always sucked at languages…
Kate B. January 14, 2013, 1:36 pm
This free-spirited actor-singer-dancer-writer-musician AND employed homeowner seconds the shove it suggestion.
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 12:18 pm
Anna January 14, 2013, 5:47 pm
That’s very harsh. Just because someone parties recreationally in their off time doesn’t mean they are a danger to children. If you go visit your friend with kids for a nice lunch on Tuesday afternoon then go to the club and drop acid that Friday how does that affect the children? That’s like saying if your friend had a glass of wine with their dinner last week you should never let them babysit because of course they’re going to show up drunk right? Um, no. Take your head out of your ass and stop being so judgmental. Lots of people party recreationally but are smart enough to know that it’s not appropriate to bring that stuff around kids.
thewriteway January 14, 2013, 10:21 am
As someone without children and who has friendships (I am friends with a couple of people with kids, but most of my friends do not have them) that have changed a lot in the past year, I agree. Not everyone will drift away from you, but some might. One of my friends has kids, and it seems like she is constantly using the kids/family as a reason to not get together and why she is so busy. She overextends herself doing things she doesn’t have to, and honestly, sometimes listening to her day and her drama (especially since her marriage is in bad shape) exhausts me. But she is a good person and has a personality I love, so I keep her around as someone to talk to when we’re both bored or she is near losing her sanity, and we can waste hours.
One of my other friends, a longtime friend from high school, has a child and is a stay-at-home mom. The store where she was working closed, so she is looking for another part-time job. We don’t get together much, but my friend is very low-key, and when we caught up with lunch over the summer, it was like we had never lost touch/gone our separate ways to begin with. I still talk to her every so often, and it’s nice because she has a good attitude and isn’t always complaining that she’s SO tired and SO BUSY like my other friend.
So I guess for me, my level of friendship has depended on how my friends with kids have acted. I think you’d lose more childfree friends if you turned into the type of person my first friend is, rather than the second. But if your friendships are solid enough, I am sure it won’t matter to them either way.
Desiree January 14, 2013, 10:34 am
I agree with you that it depends on the behavior of the parent. I entirely expect my friends with kids to have less free time and to prioritize their children. But some people seem to use kids as an excuse to become inappropriately self-absorbed, and that is not good. On an entirely random note, my kitten is currently stalking my bowl of oatmeal, and it is making breakfast more stressful than it needs to be…
thewriteway January 14, 2013, 11:48 am
Oh, I know. I expect the same thing from my friends with kids. Obviously, I’m not as important as their families, but if I ask my friend to get together, and she ALWAYS has a reason why she can’t go out, I start to feel less inclined to ask her to do stuff in the future. But she’s still my friend, and since she had both her kids before I met her, I have to learn to accept the lower spot on her priority list.
And my cat totally stalks me during meals sometimes, but especially dinner. She actually sits on the table and waits for food! Crazy!
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:05 pm
There goes Desiree, going on and on about her kitty and not paying attention to the adult conversation. Ugh. 😉
Desiree January 14, 2013, 12:09 pm
Haha, I totally had that thought as I was typing that!
MMcG January 14, 2013, 12:49 pm
You’re one of those people who think of your pets as your children don’t you!?! YOU KNOW YOU DO. Not that I would judge that, there is nothing wrong with considering a pet an important member of the family… until you have a kid of course, and then it is completely unacceptable because my goodness ANIMALS are not CHILDREN 🙂
lesley February 3, 2013, 10:20 am
LW, as most commenters have said, not only will you probably keep most of your current friends, you will make HEAPS of new ones, having kids opens so many doors socially.Just try not to blow off your old friends for the new ones and all will be well. One tip though is not to go down the “oh my God, I never realised how pointless/empty/shallow my life was before I had kids” line, ’cause that can be kinda hurtful to us childless folks. It is never meant to hurt, but-it does.
bethany January 14, 2013, 10:48 am
Friendships will always change, whether you have kids or not. People move, they get married, their interests change, they get new jobs… All those things change friendships. The most amazing friendships are those where you understand that you guys might be at different places in your life, and you respect and enjoy that. If you want to be a parent, be a parent! But just remember that your friends fell in love with YOU, so please don’t lose yourself in your child. Make your child this wonderful addition to a full life- don’t lose yourself in them. If you do that, I’m sure you won’t lose that connection with your friends.
Older and (hopefully) wiser January 14, 2013, 10:52 am
You very well may lose some of these friends (you can’t really tote a baby around to bars and massage parlors) but if you’re in the right community, you may make some interesting new friends with kids. I had my first baby when I was living in an eclectic, hippy-ish kind of community and it was a blast. Then we moved to the suburbs and I had my second kid around moms who talk about contractors and cleaning out their closets. Hey, someone get me out of here!
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 11:13 am
My eyes glaze over when a group gets into contractor talk or who has the perfect lawn, blah blah blah. I extract myself and don’t look back.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:10 pm
Confession: I’ve been wanting to ask friends about recommending a housekeeping company if they use one, but I’m not 100% sure who does and don’t want to be That Person.
FireStar January 14, 2013, 12:46 pm
Were you planning on mentioning “your maid” all the time? No? Then don’t worry – you aren’t THAT person.
Just make sure the company you use is bonded and insured.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:51 pm
Haha, my friends would punch me before I had a chance to say “my maid” twice. Do you think I can just try a company (b&i’d) and hope for the best? I wanted a referral, but I just feel like its an obnoxious thing to ask. Someone will be home when they come, so maybe I should just try one out?
By the way, in case anyone was wondering (sure they weren’t), we decided to get one this weekend bc of a DW discussion and me realizing I do freak about the “small stuff” and being upset about messes or giving my “roommates” a hard time about it isn’t worth it.
FireStar January 14, 2013, 1:19 pm
I use a company as opposed to just one individual. It is nice to have the bonded /insured thing and there is more flexibility in the scheduling. Some times I don’t get the girls I like best because they are busy elsewhere but it works out eventually – and someone is always home for us as well. I think if it was a question of giving one person your key when you weren’t home then I would want an extensive background done on that one person with all kinds of referrals. But for the company – just do some research online on the company you choose to make sure there aren’t any egregious complaints. Having help keeps me from being divorced as far as I’m concerned – I hate doing floors with an all abiding passion – I can cook for 50 people without breaking a sweat – but scrubbing anything? So not my favourite and just would not happen in a timely manner.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:26 pm
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 12:52 pm
I want a cleaning person. And we live in a 750 square foot one bedroom apartment. Haha.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:53 pm
All I was thinking about yesterday was how much cheaper it would be if I lived in a small place. So maybe you can use that to your benefit! How much could it possibly cost?
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 1:00 pm
I don’t think it would really be that much. I just want someone who will come and do the stuff I super hate doing like washing the walls in the bathroom and sterilizing the fridge and washing the windows on the outside. They would only need to come twice a year or so.
Oh and I want behind the fridge and stove cleaned out but I’m honestly scared to go there. My fiance lived here for 2.5 years before I moved in and I don’t know what could be back there!
jlyfsh January 14, 2013, 1:03 pm
Gloves and closed toed shoes, it’s never as scary as it seems. I was terrified to do both and it was really just a bunch of dust bunnies! And a frat boy lived in our house before us and it wasn’t cleaned before we moved in, we had to do it!
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:05 pm
In looking at websites, seems like most of these companies do a lot of “spring cleaning” only jobs. Might be worth it for just a thorough cleaning before the Big Day. A little less stress.
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 1:10 pm
I’m worried about bugs, dead or alive. I’ve seen the craziest/nastiest bugs here in FL and I am SO not cut out for it. GROSS. I should get a price for a one time deap clean and see if we can swing it.
Also we have fleas. It sucks and I can’t figure out why or get rid of them. Well the cat but he is indoor only so…
jlyfsh January 14, 2013, 1:15 pm
We did two things to help with the fleas because they were a problem in our house (coming in from outside not necessarily on our pets!). We invested in a good pet friendly spray from Lowes that we apply once a month in the house (this also helps keep roaches away!). We take the dogs to the park for a few hours while it dries. And then we also sprinkle a salt/baking soda mix on the carpet and bed and vacuum it up when we get home. We also sprayed the back yard with the pet friendly spray. It seems to have helped some, but unfortunately we can’t get rid of the fleas in our neighbors yards which is the biggest issue. Everyone where we live has dogs and the fleas are just uncontrollable. Drives me crazy!!!
I did find a few dead (thankfully) palmetto bugs, I told myself I could have ice cream after if I cleaned them up, haha.
GatorGirl January 14, 2013, 3:06 pm
Do you know what the spray was called? We have a cat so it’s harder to get him out of the house. Although we can squester him in one room while we spray the other and then switch.
palmetto bugs are so so so nasty. We have cockroaches here in FL which freaks the crap out of me. No matter how clean I keep it (other than behind the stove where I’m scared to go) they still seem to exsist.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 2:45 pm
You can get someone to do the parts that you hate and do the rest yourself. That’s what my MIL does. It makes her life much easier.
bethany January 14, 2013, 2:37 pm
I want one too. My husband said no 🙁
I just wanted someone to come once a month, which I think it totally fine, right?
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 12:58 pm
I think it is one thing to ask a question about something you need and another thing to talk for a half hour or longer about who has the perfect grass. Our friends had a cleaning lady (once a week) and were always willing to give her contact information to anyone who wanted to hire her but they didn’t spend time talking about how perfect their house was or how perfect their lawn was or how perfect their landscaping was. Friends ask friends for contacts that work and especially if that person will be in your house with your possessions you need someone you know you can trust so that is totally different than a conversation about how many square feet your master closet has. You shouldn’t feel like you can’t ask around to find the things you need.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:03 pm
I guess you’re right. I mean, I know there’s a difference between just asking and talking about it all the time, but I don’t want to ask someone if I’m not sure they use one. To be honest, I don’t even want people to really know I’d be using one, for the same reason I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving a rolls royce. Just seems like showing off or something. I’m probably being dumb about this.
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 1:21 pm
Relieving stress in your life is meeting your personal needs and not showing off. If you were showing off you’d constantly manage to mention your maid. What if you phrased it as needing some help with spring cleaning and wondering if anyone has tried any housekeeping services. Then if it worked out you could keep hiring them.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 1:24 pm
Good idea 🙂 thanks!
FireStar January 14, 2013, 11:12 am
Some friends are forever, some friends are for a particular time in your life, some for a heartbeat. You’ll know when you look back on your life how all your friendships turned out. If they are important to you then put time and energy into them – if they aren’t then c’est la vie. Sure milestones can change friendships – getting married, having kids, moving to the suburbs – nothing is going to be exactly the same – how could it be? I have some of my closest girlfriends scattered around the globe and I don’t get to see them for years at a time. But I can reach out to any of them in a heartbeat and they’ll be there for me. They know the same is true for them. I put together my wedding in about a month and they all flew in to celebrate with me. I have girlfriends I used to go out with every weekend before I got married and moved to the suburbs that I have to make a special effort to see now that are just as close as ever as friends. We had to change our expectations. We didn’t expect to see each every week now but Monday mornings were all about catching up to hear all the gossip from the other’s weekend. And then I have have had friends that were close for a time in my life that are just on the periphery of my life now. The time needed to keep up those friendships just wasn’t worth it in the long run given how people grew and changed. And looking back – it had nothing to do with the milestones – it had to do with the people. You (and your friends) are in control of your friendships. As long as all of you still want that connection then you will have it – it may look different at times – but that my dear is just life.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:10 pm
Your first line – I wish I had known that years ago.
lemongrass January 14, 2013, 11:27 am
I think that one of the beauties of life is that friendships are not concrete. Some friends are in your life forever and some are passing. Those passing friendships, the ones where you seem to come together to help each other through some changing part of your life (whether it’s your 5th grade crush or navigating through menopause) are not any less important because they aren’t “forever friends.” They are almost romantic in that they don’t last forever and you can look back fondly and don’t have those long term annoyances that the more long lasting, deeper friendships do.
LW, I’m not quite there yet and I’m not in your shoes because my friends do want kids/have them but my sister went through what you are. She would tell me how jealous she was that I had friends who were changing with me. Now that she has a kid she does still see her old friends but it is different. Sometimes she tries to act like she did before her kid and it backfires. She has however made new friends at mommy groups (I can’t wait to do the same!) and while making new friends as adults is awkward and weird and nerve-racking, try to think of it as exciting instead of a hassle. Try not to think of the ones who don’t work out as rejection and more of a size that didn’t fit. Don’t stop trying. Oh, and you’ll always have that new friend- your kid!
Skyblossom January 14, 2013, 11:31 am
I think about it this way. If your friends would dump you because you had a child then they aren’t worth having in the first place. The reverse would be if you dumped your friends because they didn’t have children and you did. You wouldn’t be much of a friend either.
Things will change in some ways because you can’t take a baby everywhere you go now and you will need to keep the baby’s schedule in mind because if you don’t feed them when they are hungry they cry lots and if they can’t sleep when they are tired they cry lots. Some babies are so laid back that they can eat and sleep anywhere and some need consistency and sameness and you won’t know which you’re having until you have them.
Some people have lots of help from nearby family and some have none. We had none because we have no family within 1000 miles so we had to be there for our children ourselves. We did things that allowed us to take a child along because babysitters are expensive and so really push up the cost of an evening out, which limits how much you can go out. We like to be out doing things so we always packed up our children and went and did things but we had to keep in mind whether the place we were going was suited to children. So in many ways the way you raise your child and the decisions you make reflect your personalilty and support system and disposable income. When you combine all of that you come up with what works best for you and you will see how your friends fit into your reality. There is no one best solution because every couple has their own unique situation with their own unique child or children.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 11:57 am
Not sure if anyone else has said this yet, but your friends will move on to a degree with their own lives, even if they don’t have kids. Sounds like they are starting to already…moving to Europe and India.
Addie Pray January 14, 2013, 12:36 pm
I posted below before seeing your comment. Agreed, LW’s friends have moved / are moving on too.
lets_be_honest January 14, 2013, 12:56 pm
Lindsay January 14, 2013, 1:26 pm
So true. I know the LW didn’t mean it in a bad way, but an easy way to hurt your friendships is to assume that if they aren’t settling down in the traditional sense, they aren’t moving forward in their lives or growing up.
Also, the feeling goes both ways. Instead of being worried and waiting for her friends to show her that they still want to hang around, the LW should make sure that they don’t assume she’s leaving them in the dust.
HmC January 14, 2013, 12:03 pm
I feel like if you want to have kids, and your friends are genuinely incompatible with and unwilling to work with that lifestyle choice, then sadly they just aren’t the right friends for you anymore. They may surprise you and be more open and accepting than you expected. But if not, que sera you know? It’s not like you’re going to not have kids because your friends don’t want to. And by the way, not wanting kids doesn’t mean you don’t like kids or won’t be good with your friends’ kids.
jottino January 14, 2013, 12:04 pm
This might be my favorite Wendy answer to a question ever — not even specifically for the question, but for how it applies for life & friends & relationships in general. I need to put this on a card & keep it in my wallet.
Taylor January 14, 2013, 12:16 pm
Agreed! This is an addition to the best of DW quotes, particularly the last line: “Here’s the thing about growing older, whether you get married, stay single, have kids, or remain child-free: there will be times when you’ll feel lonely. There will be times when you’ll feel like everyone else has a more interesting, exciting, less messy life than you. There will always be people who will represent choices you could have made but didn’t and a life you could have had but don’t.”
I sometimes get hung up on the “life I could have had” – not because I don’t love the life I do have, but because I am prone to over-analyze. It’s a good reminder that all paths have their bumps.
Addie Pray January 14, 2013, 12:15 pm
LW, it sounds like in many ways your friends ate already moving on a bit with their lives and doing what’s next in their lives (traveling/moving) in ways that will probably (definitely) mean you’ll be seeing less of them…. I’d hate to see you holding back with what’s next for YOU (babies!) because you’re trying to freeze time with your pals.
mandalee January 14, 2013, 12:22 pm
I think it’s perfectly natural to fear changes in relationships when big life events occur, marriage, moving away, children. I know I do it sometimes, but after getting married and moving a few times, I realized that I needed to let go of that need to keep my friends forever. As life changes, so do friendships.
As Wendy and a few other commenters have already said, some friendships will remain, some will change, some will end. I’m sure now that you’ll be the only ones with a child once you become pregnant, you’ll crave having some friends to share in your experiences and want to seek out some new people that can relate. I’ve worked as a nanny and in preschools for years, and I can’t count the number of time I’ve seen friendships bloom on the playground or at pick-up/drop-off time.
Beth January 14, 2013, 12:41 pm
I just became a mom at 26 – a single mom at that. Yes, you will lose friends, the ones who party and drink and aren’t mature enough to handle your pregnancy and you being a parent. And a part of you will be sad and cry (I did), but once that kiddo is born, your life shifts incredibly. You won’t care about going out every night, you will want to stay with the kid. Your friends with kids will let you into their private circle, other parents will become much more interesting and you will identify with them more. Your single party friends will not comprehend nursing issues, but your mommy and daddy friends will understand and sympathize.
You will find other friends, as long as you don’t use the kid as a crutch to avoid people. Go to family orientated events, go to children’s museums, talk to other parents, go to parenting classes and groups. You will be amazed how many people will simply approach you and talk to you because you are a fellow preggo/parent. It is like joining a special little club, and not everyone in it is lame. You will find other parents who have similar interests, parenting styles, outlooks as you, and it will be fun. Also, some of your non-kid friends may just swoon over your child and go crazy with wanting to help and be involved. Also, your friends who can’t have kids but want them are awesome resources.
MMcG January 14, 2013, 1:22 pm
“It is like joining a special little club, and not everyone in it is lame.”
This cracked me up, and reminds me of that old quote about how I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member 🙂 Guess I might have to rethink that one if I ever have a child.
Violet January 14, 2013, 3:55 pm
Great advice from Wendy, and I would like to add something as the unmarried, childless friend of the group. 🙂 I do my best to stay in touch with my friends who have children. I am always the one putting in the work, so to speak. I call, email, or text at least once a month. I try to organize small, low key get togethers in child-friendly places. I am actively interested in their lives and those of their children. And yet, there is a part of me that is a tiny bit sad that these friends never put in the effort. I notice that this happens a great deal. I am not a partier and I enjoy family -type activities, too, but it’s just sort of easier to leave out the single or unmarried childless friends when you’re juggling the family.
That’s my take, at least. My time never quite seems as important as theirs. So my advice overall would be, just don’t forget those friends you have who aren’t necessarily going down the same path, and don’t take for granted that they really want to see you sometimes. Try to take the time to see them every few months, if you can, or call when you have a few minutes. Remember that their time and lives are important too, and if they take the time to make plans with you, try to stick with them as long as there are no family emergencies keeping you from it. I love my friends with their own children and families, but I do feel that sometimes, they can be a bit thoughtless about single friends. I understand their needs come first, but it can feel crappy sometimes to always be ignored after you’ve shared such a great friendship.
fast eddie January 14, 2013, 4:48 pm
You will eventually lose some friends who are childless because close friendships require frequent interaction and there aren’t enough hours in the day, week or month to attend the group activities like you did before. It doesn’t mean that they stop caring about you but they have social needs that you wont be able to provide. Additionally they can’t relate to the constant care that small children require. Time will pass and they too will have kids of their own and you’ll be the star GO-TO resource for them.
If your lucky a few of them will hang in there with you and be a valuable resource for catching a break from time to time. Read the last year of Wendy’s articles to get an idea about what to expect and don’t let it scare you, the ups exceed the downs over time.
Boosker January 14, 2013, 5:50 pm
Friendships don’t just happen. They are an investment, whether you realize it or not. It’s an investment to pick up the phone, to say yes to coffee, to stay current on what’s going on in your friends’ lives. You may not have the time or energy to fully invest in these friendships once you have a baby. Completely understandable. But it also sounds like your friends are fully invested in their chosen activities, which is cool. Sounds like none of you half-ass life, which is probably why you’re all drawn to each other.
My advice would be don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t have anything left to give to these friendships for a while. But also, don’t be afraid to reconnect when life smooths out a bit. In the meantime, invest in little increments: an email here, and quick text there. That way you’ll maintain a lifeline to these friendships that you can reinforce once you feel like you have the ability to invest in people outside of the family bubble you’ll be creating with this new little one.
Red_Lady January 14, 2013, 8:15 pm
Aww, that was beautiful, Wendy!
iwannatalktosampson January 14, 2013, 8:51 pm
Wendy this was a beautiful post. I can get really sad about friendships fading. It can be a huge loss. I have certain friends who know everything about me. We went through all the crazy high school times together. I feel like we’re bonded for life. I can pick up the phone and call them and we can chat for hours like nothing has changed. But we don’t live near each other anymore so they can’t fill my day to day friend needs. Like the “I had a shitty day and I need someone to meet me for a drink asap”. They just can’t. It’s hard to make new memories with them. But I don’t think this should be a sad thing. People come into – and leave – your life for all sorts of reasons. And as long as you’re replenishing your friend bank at the same rate it’s dwindling – I think it’s all good.
Friends are so important to a fulfilling life. To me anyway since I’m pretty outgoing. But friendships are always evolving and changing. “The only thing constant is change”. So LW, appreciate the people in your life while they serve you. You might still need your wild and crazy friends. But you will need new mom friends. You will need married friends. You will need yoga friends, and wine friends. And if you find a friend that is all of those – well hold on tight – they might be a keeper.
LW January 15, 2013, 11:15 am
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It actually made me tear up a bit because you really touched on the main issue I am having- which is that I am ALREADY feeling like my friends and I are shifting apart. Regardless of children or not, you really helped me to remember that people come in and out of our lives. My friends and I are evolving and growing in different directions- There is no way of knowing how it’s all going to play out, but I am going to put faith in the fact that the deep friendships will remain through all of the different choices we make. And, I look forward to meeting new friends to add to the mix as well. Thank you again!
P.S. Also thank you to the person who wrote: “the kind of parent you are will partially influence how your friendships do or don’t change.” That was a nice bit of advice that really resonated with me. Much appreciated.
Temperance January 15, 2013, 1:07 pm
Mr. Temperance and I are childless, but we’ve seen a lot of friends start having children, and our relationships with them have changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.
This couple that we spent a lot of time with had their first kid, and we still saw them, but their parenting style (attachment parenting) along with their lifestyle (they began homesteading and keeping farm animals as a hobby) made it really, really difficult. They don’t see most of our former group anymore.
This other couple that we also spent a lot of time with had a daughter 14 months ago, and we see them more now than we did before. They live about an hour away, so we try and visit once/month. We usually go up in the afternoon to hang out with their baby after her nap, tire her out by playing with her and reading to her until she crashes, and then we drink and play board games. It’s not the most exciting thing in the world for either of us, but we all have fun and they’re happy for the company. (It also doesn’t hurt that their daughter is funny, charming, and adorable, unlike the weird kids of the other couple. My fiance refers to the other couple’s son as Future Serial Killer, lol.)
caarmeen February 6, 2021, 4:58 pm
How are you?
If you want to have a baby you don’t have to think in what the people are going to say because it is your decision.
Another thing is that if they are your friends, they are not going to criticate you because they have to respect what you want to do with your life.
In conclusion, you have to do what you want with your life without thinking of what other people are going to say.
Live the moment and do everything you want.