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Can Moms Keep Friends Without Kids?

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Mom•Logic staffer Julie W. shares: Some friendships are hard to hold on to after you start a family.

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One friend ditched me after I had kids. We had been close for years. We shared family gatherings, worked together on various projects, and had countless long, heart-to-heart talks about everything. At first, she seemed happy to be part of my wedding, throw a baby shower, and even professed excitement that my first child would be born near her birthday. Soon, she faded away, and by the time I gave birth to my second child, she was gone.

Since becoming a parent, I have met many amazing Mommy friends. There is something profound about how quickly bonds form when you raise your kids together. Other single friends have commented that I always find time to talk or even to steal away from my family for a late night drink or dinner. We plan fun activities with friends that don't include kids. I know that some friends can live without long rants about being married and complaints about parenting.  They love my daughters, but don't always need to hear 'funny' anecdotes about them.  

Sometimes I wonder why this one friend was able to walk away. What made her feel so uncomfortable that she no longer wanted to have any contact? Recently, we bumped into each other. She quickly ran off, blaming a parking meter that was about to expire. Mutual friends often ask about her. I hear she's busy with work. Sometimes friendships evolve and change, but I'll always remember that she was a big part of my life before I became a Mom ... Has this happened to anyone else?



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21 comments so far | Post a comment now
Eliza M. February 10, 2008, 12:17 PM

I am 28, and I recently became a mom for the first time. I moved around a lot from the time I was sixteen (graduated early) until I settled down close to home when I was 25. It was always difficult to maintain lengthy friendships with anyone until I met someone with whom I haven’t spoken in almost two years.
I was elated when I met her. We had so much in common, and we could always count on the other to listen when we had a bad day. Our birthdays were only one day apart, we worked together, we went shopping together, etc. We tried maintaining our friendship in two separate cities (living in the same city concurrently each time), but it didn’t work out after I married my husband 2 1/2 years ago. She found other friends, and I always felt as if I had become a burden to her. She would always have an excuse for why she couldn’t get together with me. She had been in a longterm relationship since I had first met her, so it wasn’t as if it was a new romantic relationship had been the reason for our parting. But what was the reason? I still ponder that question to this day.
It was painful, mostly because I still don’t feel any amount of closure. I probably never will, and I am slowly coming to that realization. I justify it by telling myself that it would have come to this anyway, because she always talked about how much she couldn’t stand her other friends who had kids. What I think it comes down to is that some people are needier than others, whether or not it’s visible on the surface. I think that my ex-friend needed to feel that she had my undivided attention - maybe something to do with her own childhood issues. Isn’t it easier to be the person who breaks-off the relationship than to be the one who is “dumped”? It’s merely a safety mechanism, one that probably took her years to master in order to make her falsely think that it’s less painful to deal with the situation in that way. Instead of confronting the problem, it’s easier to run away. Also, maybe it’s so that she didn’t feel like she was a burden by bringing up the issue.
I don’t know - I’m not a psychologist. However, I DO know that it’s completely normal for people to move away from high-maintenance friendships and acquaintances when they have children, and for a good reason - we have our kids toward which to devote our energy and love now, not undeserving people.
I, as well, will remember that she was a big part of my life. I’m sure that it was painful for her, too, but isn’t it sadly funny how neither one of us has even picked up the phone to figure out what happened? Maybe it was just meant to be…



Amy February 10, 2008, 12:28 PM

Yes I experienced something similar, I had 2 really good friends, sorority sisters actually. They were in my wedding, they were at my baby shower and they even came to the hospital when my daughter was born. However, shortly thereafter I intercepted an email they had been exchanging from a picture I had sent them of the baby. One of them accidentally hit “reply all” and I ended up getting the email chain of them talking about how ugly my baby was. It broke my heart and has been hard to get over. I confronted them and then never spoke to them again.

GHD February 10, 2008, 9:19 PM

Yes, and No. Depends on the friend, I guess. As a SAHM, a LOT of my time is devoted to other SAHM-friends, which is only natural. Our days are pretty similar, whereas with my single/non-parent friends… finding time is a challenge. They’re winding up for the evening, when I’m winding down for dinner, bath, and bedtime. My time revolves around a nap schedule. Their’s does not. I don’t do last minute plan unless my son can come along. They have no kids, etc. In all that, I’ve lost friendships and made others stronger.

Anonymous February 11, 2008, 9:14 AM

A friend and I had a fight over my car - she hit something and didn’t fix it. I was pregnant at the time so after a week of not talking I sent her an e-mail and said that we should just let it go because this was a big part of my life and I wanted her to be a part of it. Her response was “You’re getting married, having a baby and buying a house….we have nothing in common anymore”. I think it was the worst pain ever. I was being dumped by one of my best friends in the whole world because I was moving on in life and living my dream. Our mutual friends said they thought she was jealous, but I didn’t find that consoling. It still hurts 2 years later, but I am happy with my new family and my old and new friends. Although I do still get mad at myself for missing her….

Jane February 11, 2008, 7:38 PM

Amy! That is terrible! I would have been devestated and I’m sure your baby is beautiful. What horrible people, you don’t need them.

alyy February 24, 2008, 3:29 PM

they should make somthing like facebook but for kids

reneejohnson May 29, 2008, 9:57 PM

it hasnt really happened to me yet but maybe she felt that because children need so much attention and affection that after the children were born you wouldnt have time to spend with friends.but i think that when you have children it is great when you have friends that have children because you can compare stories and get other helpful information especially if they have children that are a lil bit older than your child or children

lovelyeve July 4, 2008, 8:51 PM

I think its all about really making an effort to talk about something else than the baby all the time. I know its hard cuz your with the baby all day and he is the main topic of conversations. I am a SAHM and none of my friends have kids, but none have abandoned me. I allways make it a point to ask about them , their life and to remeber that my sons stories are not that interesting to others as they are to me.
I guess I am lucky to have such great freinds, who never mind me saying, “Ill be rigth back, have to go change Al’s diaper”

DAWN SWINT September 30, 2008, 11:24 PM

I ALSO LOST ALOT OF FRIENDS WHEN I HAD MY DAUGHTER. THEY HAD “PLANS” AND COULDNT GET TOGETHER OR STOPED CALLING AND SAID THEY DIDNT WANT TO WAKE BABY. SINCE THEN I HAVE FOUND MYSELF TALKING TO MOMS AT CHICK-FIL-A OR THE PARK AND MOMS JUST UNDERSTAND MOMS BETTER. FOR ALL THE FRIENDS WE LOST AFTER HAVING OUR BABIES, THEY WILL REALIZE IT WHEN THEY HAVE THEIR BABIES. I JOINED MOTIVATED MOMS AND HAVE MADE MANY FRIENDSHIPS AND BECAME A W.A.H.M. TOO!! WWW.MOTIVATEDMOM20082.TK IT HURTS WHEN OUR FRIENDS STRAYED AWAY BUT THE NEW FRIENDSHIPS ARE PRICELESS. IF THEY DONT WANT TO BE AROUND US AND OUR KIDS THEN WE DONT NEED THEM AROUND!!

A December 15, 2008, 5:18 PM

Speaking from the POV from the only friend who DOESN’T have kids… I can’t say that I’ve intentionally distanced myself from my friends (they all moved either out of state or out of the city while I stayed here), but I have welcomed the time apart.

When I get visits from them, it’s usually the whole clan stopping by and my place is a mess afterwards. One of my friend’s lacks control over her children, while another friend never really learned common courtesy herself (bringing bags of fast food over, leaving toys and baby clothes everywhere, etc.)

Sometimes, I just don’t want to be bothered. But I would never be as heartless as the people described above.

lakecountyil December 22, 2008, 1:24 PM

I can totally relate. My husband’s Christmas part for work was this past Friday. None of his close friends at work have kids. I am 28 and am due with #2 in May. Everyone (except me, of course) had had a few drinks by the end of the party. I was in a group with 3 of his coworkers wives and one of his coworkers and it turned into a rally against children. The guy (husband’s coworker) was saying, directly to me, how once you have kids your life sucks and you don’t get to do anything every again. Everyone else pretty much agreed and a group rant about how horrible married life with kids is and how they can’t bear thinking about the “fun” part of their life being over. I finally piped up, “well, I was married at 22, first kid at 24, and will be 28 when 2nd kid comes, and I’ve got no regrets. My life’s pretty great”. Then they paused for a second and the guy, very drunk, got all argumentative with me about it. I just said, “well, I’m leaving” and walked away. We went home. I felt like a had been attacked by a group of killer yuppies. They can have their Mercedes, their plasma screen TVs and endless weekends drunk in bars, I’ll take my family any day. I lived that live before marriage and kids. Having lived both ways, I’m much happier now. Of course, I cried later because I felt singled out, but they’re the idiots for being so narrow-minded. Jerks.

Jennifer March 4, 2009, 12:34 AM

I am married with no kids and I have married friends with kids. It’s not always the one without kids who do the dispearing. One couple has gatherings with children and nights out without. They are fun people but you soon realize that they are meeting all the other parents to their children classmates and they have more in common now with those people. A few times we tried to do “the adults night out” and We really couldn’t participate in the conversation. Then to top it off the other couples looked at us and didn’t know how to talk to us as if there was something wrong with us for not having kids. Also I get tired of hearing my married friends tell me “must be nice” to take a nap or similar things. Just because we don’t have kids doesn’t mean we don’t have busy lives and when I say I’m tired means I’m tired. Being tired or whatever isn’t just for people with kids. I get tired of people assuming my life sucks because I don’t have kids. So people…it goes both ways

Chris March 10, 2009, 9:29 AM

I think the parents aren’t realizing that they need to make an effort to maintain friendships after they get pregnant and have kids. It’s my experience that they unconsciously push their friends away by putting little to no effort into the friendship once the kids are born.

It’s the people without kids who feel left out, because all your attention is spent obsessing about your family.

Even if it’s just an olive branch to let your friends know you’re still “you” and not some woman from another planet. Let them know you still value your girl time, and that her problems are just as important as yours. Don’t be the new mother who can’t think about anything but the baby. Put the baby down and take time to initiate contact with your friends.

Do that and you’ll be the first new mother to actually impress me.

Ellen February 19, 2010, 11:15 PM

I’m the friend that ditches friends who become mothers. Sure, someday I’ll feel motherly, but right now I’m clueless about babies and feel awkward at baby showers. I can’t relate to the stories about breastfeeding, teething, puking, drool, poop, changing diapers, etc.
Nor do I want to.

Not to mention my “mommy” friends are in their “all about me and the baby” phase… which seems to last… forever. What happened to our movie fests, used bookstore browsing dates, spontaneous road-trips and summers in Cabo San Lucas? Oh, that’s right. You can’t go because you have to take care of the baby! After someone flakes out on you for the umpteenth time it’s time to move on.

fabi July 14, 2010, 1:42 PM

I don’t want to be friends with my SAHM-friend either. Hanging out with her and her baby is like me being the kid’s dad — changing diapers, wiping up puke. And she’s a terrible mom — feeds the kid a horrible diet, faces the car seat the wrong way.

The kid gets in the way! We’ll drive all the way across town to go somewhere in particular, but because the kid took 75 minutes to eat lunch, we have to turn around and go home straight away to make it for written-in-stone nap time.

NO THANKS! Not fun.

Daniela July 19, 2010, 3:02 PM

I was single for so long (up until I was almost 37) and then had a baby right before I turned 38.

I’ve been on both sides and it is not fun. What I’m going through now is extremely painful though…the loss of a couple really close friends and the loss of a career (decided after 16 years of working to stay at home with my baby).

I think the key is to give everyone some slack…life is short…to throw away a friendship is crazy…if someone has changed drastically or a person really is hurtful…I can see that…but to just leave someone without a good friend is so hurtful.

Carrie August 5, 2010, 3:40 PM

Sometimes it happens the other way around though. I have a friend who has not included me in her life since the day the baby was born! Her son is her only priority. Other friends and I feel used because we were in her Wedding and we don’t feel like her friends anymore.

Kelly October 6, 2010, 7:19 PM

I have a very close friend who I am nervous about telling I am pregnant. She is married and her husband, my husband I get together often and really enjoy each others company. I worry they may not want to spend time with us and a screaming, pooping, fussy baby. My husband and I live several states away from our home state and work long hours. They are our family here. Don’t want to lose their friendship. They are very important to us. Worried…

disgusted October 25, 2010, 12:28 PM

why do parents let their kids ask people for things that are not theirs? This puts the person on the spot and in my opinion teaches children to ask for things that arent theirs. I would never let my children ask someone that and if they did i would instantly say no that is not yours and you dont ask for things unless you are offered. But the parents lately just let them run amuck in your house yard and never say no you cant have it because you asked for it. Was I taught wrong or are parents oblivious

not relevant anymore February 13, 2011, 7:20 PM

I have a story on the flipside. My friend had a baby a while ago and now I never hear from her (I don’t have any kids). Before she used to text me everyday and we would meet up for lunch or dinner weekly with our husbands also. Now I never hear from her unless I make contact and I am sick of it. There are no more lunches or dinners, no calls etc so I have decided to let her go and not make any further contact. To me it really feels that because I don’t have a baby then theres no reason to see me now.


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