Does Motherhood Change Friendship?

4 years ago

When I got married, a number of my single friends assumed they'd barely see me anymore. 'That's what happens," one friend said. "You get married and friendships change."

Not with me.

Sure, being married added new obligations and changed my availability occasionally, but I continued to prioritize my friendships. I kept in touch with far-away loved ones and made time for those who live near by. My husband knows how important friends are in my life, and we didn't solely mingle with other married couples after we were hitched; among my closest friends are singles, married couples with many kids, single parents, men, people much younger than me -- and much older -- and friends from other countries and cultures.

But I've been a mom for four months now, and it's a whole new ballgame. Every moment of my day is focused on two little girls' needs. I can't get on the phone unless they're watching a program -- and even then they seem to sense I'm no longer at their beck and call and come running. They don't understand what "just a minute" means; they don't even get that mommy needs to go the bathroom every now and then. The only evening time I have is after dinner before the girls' bedtime, which is about 60-90 minutes at most (if I leave dinner clean-up to B). Weekends are no easier: Between errands, taking turns catching up on sleep, and spending time as a family, there's little time for anything else. When I do have a few minutes for a phone call, I run through my mental rolodex of the people I need to get back to or want to connect with...and I feel overwhelmed. If a little free time comes my way, I usually just want to curl up with a book or magazine, write, or run out by myself.

What I'm experiencing right now is just a season, but motherhood has changed the time and energy I have, and it's focusing my attention on the friendships that can fit into my new life. I can already see some shifts happening, even though they may not be apparent from the outside. This doesn't mean dropping friends or ignoring people I care about, it's just a realization that I can't "do" friendship the way I used to.

Maybe those who say they lost friends to marriage really lost them to parenthood, since many people start families soon after walking down the aisle. I now see how that can happen. At the same time, if you place a high value on friendship, you find ways to stay connected -- even if things must change.

Did parenthood change your friendships? How do you nurture your friendships as a mom or dad?


Zoe Saint-Paul

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