5 Reasons Parents Lose Friends After Kids
Even if you’re the type of person who has deep friendships seeded from grade school, keeping friends once you become a parent can be tricky. If you’re pregnant or trying to have kids right now you might see a hint of this already but here are a few specific reasons parents lose friends after having kids.
1. They’re Still Partying
Ready to put away the tight skirts and heels for some baby shoes and comfy jam-jams? Of course you are . . . those PJs are snugly soft! But often times friends can have different timelines from one another, and if you’re not careful to keep a balance in your friendship then the differences that used to make you a fun duo can turn into what drives you apart.
2. The Kiddos Are Different Ages
It’s so great to share the beauty of birth and child-rearing with another friend (moms need someone to “ooh” and “ah” with or rant to!), but it can often backfire when your kiddos aren’t the same age. If your kid is 2 and your friend’s baby is like 6 months, be careful how much kind and helpful advice you give, thinking you’re just one mom sharing with another. This one backfires into you being a know-it-all (though there are those who seriously point things out because they think they know the best about everything). Another huge misfire that happens is when you try to get together for a playdate but the kids are under 4 years old and anywhere from 6 months to a year apart in age — That’s a significant developmental age gap until things like that don’t matter (closer to preschool age).
3. Kid-Free is How They Like to Be
Some adults live to be world travelers, untied to anything — especially kids — and can’t imagine it any other way. For some, this may change as they get older and they’re OK with visiting you and your kids but would prefer adult-only wine time. Others, cringe at the idea of being around your kids and their rambunctious behavior.
4. Different Parenting Styles
It sounds crazy, but once you’re a parent and have decided that you’re going to parent a certain way, it can be tough to hang out with another parent who is totally different. Maybe they’re OK with spanking or have a bratty kid they let get away with anything. No one wants their kid to start copying the other kid who is doing everything you tell your kid not to do — like being totally inconsiderate of others. For this and all the many more reasons (breastfed vs. formula, carry vs. stroller and extended breastfeeding vs. 6 months), not all parents are in the same tribe so to speak, and though their kids are OK with each other the parents may start to despise one another.
5. Distance Makes the Friendship Harder
Whether you move across the state, or even just 30 minutes away, friendships become like long distance relationships — You hang on for as long as you can, but then it evolves into something less personal and you’re more like Facebook acquaintances. This doesn’t always happen of course, but it’s far more likely than not. Parents are so busy juggling around daily activities that getting on the phone to call in a reservation is hard, there’s no way a 30-minute friend-to-friend phone chat is in the cards. Days sometimes go by in a sleepy haze without seeing a text from last week, so a friendship could go 6 months to a year before you get a moment to check in and catch up, which may be totally random and too late for that other friend.
What are some reasons you couldn’t stay friends after having kiddos?
I’m a dad to two kids with special needs and my wife and I have known this struggle of feeling abandoned by our friends, made even more complicated by the fact that our 4-year-old doesn’t speak and is nowhere close to being ready for potty training. I noticed a growing distance between my best friend and me for several months, as during the summer, he was busy every weekend. I’d check in with him every so often to try to keep up, but it was hard.
Finally, after his summer cavorting was done, I thought we’d get together for a night out, just for a couple of beers and conversation like we used to. He canceled on me twice now, and this second time, it was clear that his new group of friends was much more interesting. I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it hurt any less.
And the final gut-punch is that he still exhorts the “great to have friends that are like family” cliche. But I’m no longer part of it. When he canceled on me that last time, I kept a sunny disposition and said “okay, maybe next time.”
I know there won’t be a next time, because I’m tired of trying to make arrangements with my wife (and bless her for her understanding and willingness, as I try to return the favor), only to have those plans fall through. Maybe it’s because my weeknights when I’m not in class for my graduate program are consumed with caring for the kids, or maybe it’s because I can only go out during the lunch hours on weekends and when the kids are in bed by 8:30, my wife and I are wiped out by 9:00.
But we’ve drifted apart, and I no longer have a role in his new circle of friends. It was a sign when I made an off-hand comment (of a type that we used to make all the time) that he and his friends took too seriously and collectively jumped down my throat for it.
All of that combined has made for a painful reality check that my friend has moved on and I’m no longer an important part of his life.
I’m so sorry you went through that, what a crummy friend! I had some friends that were the same way and still to this day talk about their “family” of friends. I really hope your family has found some new friends that can support you as much as you support them.