5 Ways To Maintain Your Friendship When Your Friends Start Having Kids
Unlike your college days where everyone seems to be working on the same timeline, life after college is different for everyone. Some might be soaring through their career, while some are beginning to turn a new page and starting to create their own little family. Before you know it, even scheduling a coffee date can be a tricky task. While your friends may have a problem in finding little to no time for themselves, you may begin to find it awkward to invite them out and this can lead to a strain on your friendship. Fret not, there are five ways you can ensure that you and your bestie remain friends through this exciting phase of life.
1. Respect your friend’s new phase of life
Everyone goes through a different transition in life and having kids is a part of them. When this happens, the best you can do is to respect the transition your friend is going through. Being a parent is tough enough as it is, much less being a new parent. With that said, the last thing your friend needs is someone whining that they have changed or they don’t have the time anymore. Be gentle to your friend and remind yourself that having kids is a responsibility, and whether it’s ideal for you or not, your friend’s responsibility has changed.
2. Plan in advance
You might be each other’s go-to person back in the days when you wanted to do something crazy. However, when a kid is in the picture, spontaneity may not work for your friends anymore. Be courteous and plan your dates. Planning in advance will help them arrange whatever is necessary for them before meeting you. Though you might not need to plan ahead, your friend may need a couple of days beforehand so that they can arrange for a babysitter, or discuss their schedules with their spouse. Planning your dates with your friend will help your friend to enjoy your time together with more ease as they know that everything has been taken care of.
3. Be flexible
The harsh truth is, having kids is one of the most demanding obligations there is, and since kids are not on your resume (yet), be prepared to be flexible. In most cases, you are expected to adapt to their needs and aside from being flexible with your schedule, you can also be flexible with the activities you are planning to do. For example, your friend might be too exhausted to go out, so you can suggest staying in and hang out after the baby has been put to bed. This way, your friend can see you without having to worry so much. Or if your friend can just afford to go on a quick coffee session, be accepting and grateful for the time they can squeeze in for you. Your friend will appreciate the flexibility.
4. Be the first one to reach out
When one of my friends had their baby, I noticed that I was getting messages at odd hours (either super late at night or early in the morning). This made me realise that they have to steal some time to text me much less initiate our hangouts. So, be the bigger person and initiate the catch-up sessions. If you want to take it to the next level, invite yourself over to your friend’s house and bring some meals (be it dinner or lunch). If you’re not the cooking type, just bring over some pizza. It’s a meal that requires less cleaning up and everyone can enjoy it. Or if you like to add a personal touch, whip up something quick. Personally, I would recommend spaghetti carbonara as it is something both kids and adults can enjoy. This recipe from the Youtuber Che Nom is one of the recipes that I find easy to follow and fail-proof.
5. Learn to be accustomed to activities that involve children
Once kids are in the picture, you might want to switch up your game plan and search for kid-friendly places. For starters, you can go to an indoor children’s park where the kids will be occupied. Keeping the kids entertained will make it easier for your friend to enjoy the day out. Places like Parenthood and Kidzania are the go-to places for parents as the kids will be occupied and usually, there will be places for parents to relax as well. Another option is to swap your Instagrammable cafes to kid-friendly cafes such as @playgroundthecafe, @green_tomato_cafe, and @yellowbrickroadcafe. From toys, designated kids’ area, and bouncy castles, these cafes will keep both kids and parents happy. Please be noted that due to the pandemic, some of these cafes might require you to make a reservation before coming.
In the long run, though this whole journey can trigger a lot of changes and emotions, it can also be an exciting one. You might experience a shift in your friendship but that does not mean you can’t embrace it positively. Once you have accepted and embraced the dynamics of your friendship, you may find yourself even closer to your friend. So, here’s to all the moms and dads out there (we know it’s tough and we salute you!) and here’s to the rest of us who are still juggling between being an adult and a kid ourselves (I see you). At the end of the day, though our priorities have changed and we lead different lives, we all still need each other.