A mom spending time with her friends and child at the same time.

How to Handle Friendships After You Have Kids

It’s no secret that once you have a kid, some of your pre-baby friendships may start to fade for a while or disappear altogether. Your child is obviously your number one priority now, and you have to devote almost all of your time and attention to him or her, so it can be difficult to keep up with friends after this huge change in your life. In between changing diapers and catching a few z’s when you can, you may not see how it’s possible to keep up a social life.

Friendships are highly important, though, so if you are lucky enough to have a few good friends in your life, they will stick around and understand what you are going through. Not to mention, you’ll probably meet some great new friends on this path who are also trying to figure out this crazy thing called “parenthood.”

A Whole New (Sleepless) World

The time right after your child is born will probably be the most difficult period for your friendships. This is a huge adjustment for you and your partner, so don’t feel bad if you have to constantly turn down your friend’s invitations to hang out (as long as this doesn’t last for more than a couple months). Friends who are childless may not entirely understand how busy you are, or they may not want to hear you constantly talk about your baby and his or her little milestones. It’s not off-limits to talk about your child, but when you finally see your friends, don’t forget to discuss other things you guys have in common and be sure to ask about what’s going on in their lives as well.

If They Stay or If They Go

After your baby grows a little older and can be left with a trusted babysitter or relative, you will have more opportunities to start rekindling some of those friendships that have become stagnant. Most of your friends will probably be thrilled to see you and will ask about your child, but some may feel resentful that you have a completely different set of priorities now. You don’t want that kind of negativity in your life, so until they come around (probably when they have their own kids), don’t feel guilty if you think a temporary break between you two is necessary. You don’t have to cut them off permanently unless you feel like you will never resolve your differences.

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Your friends who don't have children will never completely understand the ups and downs of parenthood, and while they’re still invaluable friends, you may find it a little harder to relate to them now. It’s human nature to need to discuss problems and joys with others who know what you’re going through, so you may find yourself growing closer to other moms who take their children to your child’s gymnastics class. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone who is in the same boat as you, and the commonality between the two of you can create a strong bond. Definitely hang on to your childless friends, but making friends with others in the “mom circle” can have some major social and psychological benefits.

Fun for the Whole Family

If your friends are around the same age as you are, chances are that (if they choose to have children) all of your children will be around the same age. This can be a huge advantage for your friendships because as the kids grow older you and your friend will both have to chauffeur the kids to dance classes and baseball games. If you’re lucky then you can carpool together to make it more fun for the both of you. If your friend’s children are involved in the same activities, you and your friends have a built-in opportunity to catch up and hang out while all of the kids are occupied.

Friends are Still a Priority

Being a mother is an amazing experience, and you will want to be involved in your child’s life as much as possible, particularly when his or her life is just beginning. You will soon find, though, that spending a little time away from the center of your universe will be beneficial for yourself and your friendships. Having a social life is essential to maintaining your own mental health, and you’ll want your friends to know that you still care about them. You are still the same person you were before you had a child, so always be sure to nurture that side of yourself and celebrate with those who love you for who you are, kid or not.

Last Updated: August 31, 2015