Why You Lose Friends When They Become Parents
I’m a member of a number of blogging networks which all provide different things from opportunities, events to just being a kick a** community. One thing I decided during the year though was that if I were to be a member of a network, I needed to be actively engaged.
One network I joined in my early days of blogging was the Mumsnet Bloggers Network. I qualified in Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness and figured, not being a mother yet, this was one way to engage with a community of mums to find out what was going on from their point of view.
When they sent out the information for #Blogest15 I booked the day off work and signed up as a treat to myself. I had no idea what to expect but I felt I needed to be there…. to find out if there was a place for me.
To be honest, the day wasn’t what I expected …but in a positive way. The theme of the conference was really about good writing whereas I assumed it would be about the nuts and bolts of blogging (some parts were covered though).
One of the main things I learnt from the day, came from the first session all about Motherhood and Creativity. They were essentially asking the question, do you lose all creativity when you become a mother?!
One quote from the panel really stuck with me; Meera Syal said there was an old saying that when you give birth, two people are born – the child and you, as a mother. She said that basically, you will never be the same again. And this is where it begins.
In my experience, I’m not as close with some friends now as I was before they had children. I’m not totally sure why this is because I love children and am more than happy to spend time with my friends… along with their children.
Maybe some parents assume that their friends without children won’t understand?! …I understand if you cancel an evening out because your child is sick / the babysitter has cancelled / you just want to get an early night. What I didn’t get before was that you saw yourself as a different person to the one who became friends with me at school / college / university / at work.
Then, Shappi Khorsandi made a comment in her comedy sketch later on about choosing friends. It’s like, when you choose a friend at 5 years old, you kinda stick with that person through thick and thin, all through the years of growing up and still once you both may or may not have had children. But other friends from later life, maybe they aren’t as “sticky”??
I was definitely in a minority group at Blogfest even though there were 99% women in attendance! The other 1% were made up of the dads who had to sit through a little bit of dad bashing during the first session. I did meet one other girl in attendance who was not a parent. I suspect, in fact I know, that many people would’ve looked at me and maybe thought I’m not even old enough to be a parent yet! Ha!
What Friendship Means To Me
This year, I decided that for my birthday, I wanted to stay home, in my pyjamas all day and if anyone so wished, they were welcome to pay me a visit (and I would be hospitable!). The day before, I was in London Town so welcomed anyone who was around to join me for lunch. To me, a birthday is no big deal; if you have a genuine friendship, you shouldn’t / wouldn’t be just seeing each other on their birthday each year.
I remember when I was in my teens and I thought that friendships actually were forever! Then as I grew older, I lost friends due to changes in priorities from both aspects. In my early twenties, I realised I wanted more than shopping, clubbing and alcohol fuelled holidays.
I started to enjoy exercising, eating out and early nights! I’ve been lucky in the sense that some of my friendships have evolved along with my life and they really are the one’s to be valued and nurtured. If you don’t hear from your friend for a while, it’s not because they don’t care; we all know how crazy life gets. And speaking for myself, I know that certain people are always in my thoughts!
I met a lady recently while working (the Dani to my Elle!) and she really reminded me that you just never know how someone is feeling. She gave me some amazing insight into one of my most valuable friendships and really allowed me to come from a place of love and listening when spending time with that friend rather than from a place of ‘already knowing’ and judgement!
On Making New Friends As An Adult
Is it me, or is this really, really difficult?! As a kid, you choose your friends based on who is sitting closest to you or who plaits your hair the best. Then we get all grown up and we care about what these people think / say or do a lot more. We want friends who share our passions, who are cheerleaders for us in our lives and who support you on rainy days and not just when the going is good!
…But how do you approach someone as an adult that you think you would like to be friends with?! How do you allow people to get to know the ‘real’ you before / after they have judged / perceived you in their own way?!
Please feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments or connect with me on social media! The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and give some thought to life and how it’s all working out; these are my thoughts on Friendship.
Great post, I enjoyed the read. I'm not a mother yet, so I can only assume people with kids just get further away from us because they have new priorities, new responsibilities, new circles of friends. They talk more with people they have more things in common with. One of my biggest challenges was making friends when I moved to a new country and left behind everyone I knew (except for my boyfriend, which is now my husband). I got a few friends at work, a few friends at the dog park and a few friends at the gym. But it's impossible to replace the old ones…
Elle Linton says
So true! I don't think we realise how many people are in the situation of having moved to another country! And like you said, we end up in situations where you HAVE to spend time with certain people then you either make an effort or don't to see them outside the time you are committed to seeing them! …there's a lovely saying my mum share with me – Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, one is gold 🙂
Kalliopi Sakellariou says
Food for thoughts here!Well I don;t really know how you choose your friends when you are adult.It happens I think from work , from the gym or other communities you are part of.I find it difficult though and I just let it happen.I may be also judgmental sometimes but when I meet someone better I understanday the way he thinks.
Elle Linton says
So true; as an adult you either just click with someone or you don't! And like you said, you prob end up in situations where you HAVE to spend time with certain people then you either make an effort or don't to see them outside the time you are committed to seeing them! Interesting! Thanks for stopping by Kalliopi! 🙂
I think the biggest surprise to me with friendship and motherhood is that I was a late mother in my circle of friends. I brought our daughter home from Guatemala when I was 36 and, since I had so many young mother friends, their children were already in elementary and middle school. Our focus was so different then. How we spend our days was so different back then. Lots of these friendships temporarily faltered.
Elle Linton says
Hey Carla 🙂 thanks for sharing! I feel like if / when I do have children I will be in a similar position of being at a different life stage with those children as I am currently 31 with no partner or children! It's interesting looking back at the friendships that faltered and those that flourished even now!