I want to thank a good friend of mine (23 years and counting) for the topic idea for today. It’s actually a pretty easy one for me to write, especially since I was a relatively young mom, so this has been relevant me for quite some time. Let me first point out that I have some pretty fantastic friendships. I have maintained relationships with a few of my good friends from childhood, who have always been amazing with my slew of children. But I also realize that it’s not as easy for some to keep friendships after having kids. This post will be for both childless individuals and those of us crazy enough to dive into parenthood.
First thing’s first: Make Time For Each Other!
Seems pretty simple, right? It should be, but unfortunately it doesn’t happen as often as it should. In reference to my last post about creating “me time,” if you want to uphold certain relationships, you have to make it a priority to make time for those individuals too. There have been many times when making plans with friends that I have to ask if they have any evenings open to hang out. Whether my husband is home and able to watch the kids, or I meet up with them for a cocktail after the kids go to bed, I’m making time on my part to spend with them. On the flip side, if you are absolutely unable to get away from the kids for any reason, see if they can come to you. Any true friend will 100% understand and will do what they can to see you. If they aren’t particularly fond of [your] children (RED FLAG, PEOPLE!) than see if they would like to come over when the kids go to bed. I can tell you from experience, that small amount of time together is sometimes just what you need to fuel your soul!
Childless Friend: Be Understanding
Like stated above, sometimes it is impossible to spend time with no kids running around. I have a few friends that have moved out of state and when they are in town, they have limited time. Totally understandable. If your friend with children asks you to come to their house or meet up somewhere kid friendly, and you want to spend time with them, just do it. Yes, the kids will be running around. No, it is not ideal “catch up” time. But just think about it, this person is willing to A) Host you or B) take their kids in public, just to hang out with you. How awesome is that? And from my own experience, I always get a little nervous at how my kids might act. Seriously, you never know that those ding dongs might say or do! But, these friends have been in my life since I was a child, if they are willing to come to my home, with my crazy kids, or endure a bit of unfamiliar embarrassment in public, that is a true friend!
Extend the Invite- Always.
Example A: My husband has a group of friends from high school that still remain very close. He still goes out with them every once in a while, but the thing that holds him back from going more often- fatherly obligations. Sometimes it’s because we have a family get together, a birthday party, or we have to divide and conquer parental duties that day. Whatever the case may be, I know it bothers him that he’s unable to hang out with his friends more. Most of this group is more recently married and/or just starting families. My husband has been a dad for over 10 years. Heck, our daughter could babysit for them someday! But just because he is a dad, doesn’t mean he can’t be “one of the guys.” Just being invited, to a parent who doesn’t get out much, is everything. EVERYTHING. If you are without kids and you want to maintain a relationship with someone who has a kid (or 7), even sending a text to see how they’re doing is special to them! And if you invite them out, and they usually can’t make it, I promise they still greatly appreciate the offer! And chances are, the one time they actually get to join, will mean more to them than you can imagine!
A call or text can mean everything
For those who don’t have any, kids are A LOT of work! (duh!) Even if we have free time, sometimes parents are just so. freaking. tired. It is daunting to think of going out after the kids go to bed or cleaning the house to have company over. Please know, if us parents call or text you just to see how you are or just want to talk, that is HUGE. We might not have enough hours in a day to get to spend time face to face, but with the evolution of technology, there is no reason we can’t stay in touch! And always remember, it goes both ways. Parents- you may be busy, but at the end of the day, our relationships are what keep us going. The connection with our friends can sometimes be just as important as the one with our S/O. I truly believe that every person needs some support from people outside of the home. And who better than the people you’ve been friends with since before you even met your mate! So yes, generally we are busier than people who don’t have leeches…KIDS, I MEANT KIDS- hanging on them all day, but sending a text might be just what you both need. And getting a call or an “I’m thinking of you” text from an understanding, childless friend, might just make a parent’s day!
You can grow separately without growing apart. Let me say that again. YOU CAN GROW SEPARATELY WITHOUT GROWING APART. It’s just that simple. Make time for each other whenever possible. Be Understanding. Always extend the invite. And remember how much a call or text might mean to a friend!
The concept seems so juvenile, but think about your friendships that have faded since having kids. Or think of your friends with kids who you don’t talk to anymore. Truth is, there is no excuse not to stay in touch with friends, with or without kids. The parents who take time away from their families, and make an effort to spend time with you whenever possible, sincerely love you. The friends who genuinely love you, will love your kids too. And if you’ve been friends with someone for that long, and they can’t accept your kids or your busy life… BYE FELICIA!