Staying In Touch With Friends Who Don’t Have Kids
I had once a roaring social life. Every weekend was a party and multiple sets of friends used to visit us or we would hang out together. Sunday brunches, weekend movies were a norm. When I got pregnant, my friends were really caring for me and I loved all the attention around me. I didn’t believe anything could change until I had a baby.
Having a baby, changed the whole balance in my life. While I struggled to even sleep well for months, my friends, who did not have kids slowly started drifting apart. It wasn’t on purpose, mind you but they didn’t know how to adjust to the new me and my baby’s erratic schedule. We made plans to go out but either my baby was unwell and I had to back out or I was too tired. The few times when we managed to go out, I had to apologise for a wailing baby, move out to feed him and the fun of it was lost.
I soon stopped trying to staying in touch with friends and came to terms with the fact that having a decent meal with a small baby in a sit-down environment was not possible for me for me. I came up with excuses to not go out with my friends and slowly they stopped making plans with me. Without realising so, I was miserable for a long time and then I found moms with small kids and families and new friendships emerged. We were all in the same boat and understood each other’s plight. I did not need to feel guilty when my baby was not cooperating anymore.
But I missed my friends and they were way more fun than my new buddies. So I knew, efforts were required on my part to make my friends a part of my new life and staying connected and I am sure you feel the same too.
So here are a few ways in which you can preserve your relations with the non-parent friends;
#1 staying in touch with friends on Call, email, text or connect on social media
It might be tough for you staying in touch with friends on regular basis but you surely can text them every few days. Stay connected to social media by tagging them in posts, commenting on their pictures, chatting over a messenger or even sharing jokes. This is a way to stay in touch even when you cannot physically meet.
Never underestimate the importance of a phone call. You will be surprised you have so much stuff to talk about and even they have so much to share with you. A phone call could be just as refreshing as a meeting.
#2 Invite them to family functions
Just do not assume that your friends would not like to be a part of your kid’s birthday party or other family functions. If they are not comfortable, they will decline the invitation and there is no harm in asking. If they do come over, make sure to spend some one-on-one time with them. Inviting a couple of friends who do not have kids will let them enjoy together as a group.
#3 Arrange to meet outside at places which are both kid and adult friendly
For instance, you could meet up at a hotel that has a cafeteria as well as a separate play area for kids. Other places that are a kid, as well as adult friendly for eg. camping, sporting events, water parks, science-fiction movies etc. Of course, these can be done when your kid is a bit older.
#4 Ask your partner to babysit for you at times
It is important for both the partners to stay in touch with their respective group of friends. So, at times you can let your partner stay out late with his buddies for a dinner or to catch up a game of football at the sports bar. Likewise, sometimes your partner can do you a favour by babysitting for you. You can then catch up with your girls for lunch, a spa-date or a movie. This was the one way I managed staying in touch with my friends and maintaining my sanity and you need your girlfriends around.
#5 Don’t overwhelm your friends with too much baby talk
Lastly, when you do finally catch up, ask about their lives and their interests, problems, and achievements instead of blabbering about your child and your responsibilities as a parent, all the time. Be careful of not making any insensitive statements about their choice of not marrying or not marrying kids. While talking about your kids is natural just make sure you don’t get overboard.
#6 Let them be friends with your kids too
Some of our non-parent friends have stayed in touch with us because of how they beautifully maintained a relationship not only with us but also with the kids. They made sure my kids always called them by their first names and spent quality time with them whenever they visited us. My kids are close to them as they feel our friends are also their friends and vice versa. So some friends will take that effort or you can initiate this kind of bonding.
Just remember it’s a choice you made to have kids and it’s no easy responsibility. Pat yourself in the back for being so brave. Some of your friends will have kids later than you and they will find themselves in the same boat and understand you better then, so it’s a matter of time. Some may never have kids but they will have other commitments that will overwhelm them at some time or the other. You can be there for them then with your experience. Most of my friends have seen my journey and many times turn to me for advice.
It may not be possible staying in touch with friends all the time and the friends that you lose on the way might be missed but then you gain more important relationships on the way. And some may come back after a little break when they see you are more in control.
Now with slightly older kids, I can look back and say, that I might have been overwhelmed at that time with the thought of losing out on my social life but am so glad I created a new one in my own way.