On Friendships After Baby
It is common lore that at every new life milestone, friends are found and friends are lost—whether just after high school, starting a new job, entering marriage, and (surprise, surprise) having a baby. Here are a few tips on making new friendships and maintaining established ones once your baby comes along.
BE AN EARLY BIRD
Going to a prenatal yoga class or a pregnancy support group is helpful not just for preparing for baby but also making friends. Usually the women and couples attending the classes live close by and you’ll be seeing them pushing strollers around the neighborhood. And, seriously, once a small human is in tow, geography makes a big difference.
JOIN THE CLUB
New mom groups allow you to listen to advice, give advice, and feel normal amidst other people who also haven’t showered or slept in days. At first you might find that the only thing you have in common with these ladies is the fact that you reproduced—and that can be enough!—or you might find a kindred spirit whose friendship will outlive this baby phase.
STAY ON THE MOVE
Taking a long walk helps you beat cabin fever, get your heart pumping, calm your tiny one by being in constant movement, and allows you to meet other new moms. Whether you go to the park or the mall (if it’s cold out), you’ll see other strollers around. Don’t be a stranger!
TALK BEYOND BABY
It’s very tempting and oftentimes unavoidable to talk all baby all the time. Of course you want to compare how the other person’s child sleeps, eats, and all that—and sure, get it out of your system. But remember the time you were a human without the giant responsibility of a kid? Engage in those kinds of conversations, too.
MAKE A LUNCH DATE
At toddler stage and older, kid activities like yoga, dance, and swimming are a great place to strike up a conversation with other moms watching on the sidelines. Once you know each other, make a point of going for lunch after the class. Catching up on a regular basis builds friendships over time.
DON’T MIND THE AGE GAP
Many times we seek new friends who have miniature humans of the same age as our own. Sometimes that works out and the kids can engage, but sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t rule out other adults just because the age compatibility of your little ones doesn’t match. Forming friendships doesn’t have to be linked to your kids being best pals, too.
Try seeing your old friends and new mommy friends without your baby or partner. You’ll be able to engage in uninterrupted conversation, which equals bliss. Organize these meetings well in advance so it’s not a stress but something to look forward to.
Make time for old friends. Make time for new friends. Most importantly, make time for yourself. The friends that matter, the friends who will be there no matter what, will always be there. They’ll call, email, visit, and simply make themselves present. They will smile when all you want to talk about is your miniature person, and change the topic when it’s time for you to concentrate on other things. They are your rock no matter the milestone.