Having a baby changes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Your body, your hormones, your schedule, your priorities, and your relationships. It also can majorly impact your friendships, for better or for worse. One of the tricky routes to navigate when becoming a parent is maintaining friendships with kid-free friends. Maybe your closest friend is TTC or maybe they’ve decided that child-free is the way to go for their lifestyle. Either way, don’t let these valuable friendships fall by the wayside during this new phase in your life. Motherhood can be all-consuming, and you may find it hard to relate to friends who can’t understand the whirlwind you’re going through, but nourishing those relationships will only make your world better.
Here are a few tips for maintaining friendships with kid-free friends:
Tip No 1. Find the balance between planning ahead and being flexible.
Get comfortable with planning to hang way way in the future. Planning hangouts several weeks out when you don’t have kids might seem ridiculous, but when you have kids, it’s a game-changer. Because any mama will tell you, even when we have the ability to do something spontaneous, we’re often too burned out to initiate. For a lot of parents, last-minute texts asking to hang are just…impossible. You might even feel resentful of your friend’s freedom and spontaneity. Communicate with your friends that every after-hour or weekend social activity needs to be planned in advance, or else it’s probably not going to happen.
Tip No 2. Be okay with them “not getting it.”
Did you “get it" before you became a mom? Most likely not. So don't expect them to “get it" now. But just because they can't necessarily relate doesn't mean they can't or don't support you. While fellow moms are crucial for commiserating, tip-trading and baby-on-baby playdate action, childless friends are important because they (momentarily) pull you out of the grind. Take a break from diaper talk and rash comparisons and let yourself connect with your dear friend on a level that speaks to a different part of who you are as a whole.
Tip No 3. Multitasking can be fun.
Getting your nails done is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. See your friend and get much-needed pampering at the same time. Or if you’re missing your daily workouts, try to schedule friend time around a yoga class. Heck, hitting Target together at 9 p.m. might be the most fun you've had in weeks! Don't be limited by the activity—picking up a box of diapers and wipes and a throw pillow (or eight) you didn't need could be just what the doctor ordered.
Tip No 4. Make an effort to stay connected.
Reach out to your friends. While you may want your friends to do the reaching out, the fact is you very well may be the one who needs to get in touch. Your friends may be worried about bothering you, assume you’re busy, or just be wrapped up with their own life events. Be the first to reach out and get some BFF time on the books.
Tip No 5. Host at home.
Your true friends don’t care where you hang out as long as they get some quality time with you. Inviting your child-free friends over to hang in the evenings (after your kids are in bed) is a great way to spend time together. Plus, if the baby wakes up, it's way less stressful than if you're out and about and need to return home. Your friend will probably be thrilled to sneak in some squishy snuggles!