A new baby in the family! Amazing isn’t it how such a tiny life disrupt yours so completely that you don’t even know whether you’re coming or going? The baby routine is so easy to get caught up in – feed the baby, burp the baby, change the diaper, bathe the baby, and then do it all over again and again…and again. In no time at all, you feel as though you have no time to do anything except take care of the baby and maybe attempt a cat nap, that is, until your spouse comes home and wants to know where dinner is! With everything going on, how can a new mommy/daddy even think about maintaining friendships once that little bundle of joy has taken over the household?
You may not feel as though you have the time or energy, but seriously, you have to try or you won’t have any friends once that little one goes off to school (plus, you might need to work on your vocabulary and/or communication skills since the baby arrived). Just as most of us discovered who our true friends were once high school came around, the same idea goes for welcoming a baby into the world. The friendships that you work to keep after your baby arrives are more than likely friends that you will have for a lifetime, so keep your friends close and your best friends closer.
Plan group functions as frequently as you can. The more friends that you include, the fewer of these you need to arrange. I know that the last thing you want to do is get out of those comfy sweatpants and forgo one of those precious catnaps, but if you don’t, the number of friends you have will dwindle.
Communicate, and often. I adore my friends. They keep me grounded and are always there for me when I need a laugh or a listening ear. Make time to pick up the phone, Skype, send out a Facebook message, or email your friends to keep the lines of communication open.
Be understanding. I had a girlfriend who was in my life for umpteen years, but whenever she accepted an invite, she was rude and spiteful. She was still waiting for her happily ever after. I stopped inviting her because I didn’t want to listen to her mean-spirited comments about my baby. You guessed it; she’s no longer in the picture. Had I been more understanding of her feelings, I might have gotten a sitter and planned our get-together’s elsewhere. It’s true though, friends can grow apart, which is why working on them is so important.
If the kids are tagging along, find child-friendly venues where everyone can meet on equal footing. It’s nice not to have to worry about cleaning the house, preparing food, or someone else’s child breaking your little one’s toys/spilling grape juice all over the carpet.
Include your spouse. This gives you an extra pair of hands and someone else to do the driving sometimes. Take the catnap that you’ve wanted on the drive over (if you’re so lucky!) and enjoy the evening. Plus, you both need to socialize with others to stay happy and sane.
Though there is seemingly no time in the day, maintaining your friendships is crucial to your overall happiness. The added effort is worth it!
What other tips do you have for maintaining friendships once baby comes into the picture?