Remember when you called each other BFF, as in F is for forever? There was no way to foresee it, but somehow it feels like your post-baby friendship with your non-mom friend (and former bestie) gives new meaning to the phrase “separated at birth.” Even though you swore it wouldn’t, the new little love of your life seems to be causing a bigger gap in your friendship than you ever imagined having a baby could. Yet it was just a few months ago that this same dear non-mom friend held a baby shower for you, in full support and excitement for your upcoming blessed event…
If you’re not careful, that gap can get bigger, as your attention gets further and further absorbed into new pre-school mama friends, play group friends, Mommy blogger friends, and new mama support groups. You forget about all the fun you and your BFF used to have searching for sexy dresses to wear to happy hour, while you instead gravitate to the baby clothing department to dress up your living, breathing baby doll – and that can slowly cause your friendship to fizzle, as you go different ways.
5 Ways to Stay Friends With a Non-Mom Friend
Yes. Motherhood changes us. And it changes our relationships as well. Not just with our partners, but with our friends, too. So what can we do ATB (After the Baby) to include our dearest non-mom friends into our ever expanding, demanding, and sometimes exhausting life?
1. Find time for each other, WITHOUT kids in tow.
You know how we always talk about self-care and finding time for ourselves? Well, it’s just as valuable to keep our friends by giving some time to them. Make a date to share a mani/pedi; go for a run together in the park. Or make a weekly commitment to each other by signing up for a yoga or painting class together. And yes, going shopping is a bonding experience for women, and it will do you good to do some shopping for YOU again, with that hilarious voice of your dear friend making it ever so much more fun. You may even find your bestie loves the baby clothes department too! To allow this time with your friend, you can trade off baby duties with your partner, who, you can be sure, also needs some bonding time with his friends. And if that doesn’t work out, it’s worth getting a sitter.
2. Find time for each other, WITH kids in tow.
Give your children a chance to have another “Auntie” in their life. And give your friend a chance to be that close person in your child’s life, a special relationship that forms by choice, not by familial bonds. Your friend may not be ready to have a child of their own yet (or may never be), but that doesn’t mean she won’t love yours. Hey, kids are fun! Allow your friend into the joyful side of your life with children. And when you are ready to tear your hair out with frustration, your friend will be able to easily step in, without any mama buttons being pushed. Extra arms, extra smiles, extra hugs. It’s a win/win for all.
3. Share the highs and lows.
Just because your friend doesn’t have children doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear about your experiences as a mom. She is someone you shared so much of the ups and downs of your life with, and she can still be your confidante when it comes to kids. In fact, it is often in the telling of difficult situations to a kindred spirit that the humor of the situation that you couldn’t find before is able to pour out.
4. Spare the boring details.
Yet, even as you share with one another, respect the fact that your friend is not obsessed like you are about every detail of teething, of choosing a pediatrician, of deciding how long to breastfeed, or when to take away the bottle. Remember to ask about HER life, rather than boring her with every minutiae of yours. Your friend gets it, you’re a Mom now – give it a rest sometimes.
5. Support her life choices, as she supports yours.
Just as we aspire to respecting the choices that other mothers make when it comes to raising their children, we also want to respect those who don’t have children, whether it is by choice, by postponement (check out our piece on freezing eggs!), or by fate. We don’t want to have our friends feel pressured, judged, or – even worse – that you believe that having a baby is the only path to true joy. Babies are a gift. So is being footloose and living one’s own personal dreams, so is being able to love in different ways. There are many paths we take through life, and once you have a bond, friends are there for each other, no matter the choices.
When I think of my lifelong friends, some are single, some married or formerly married, some with children, some without. They all know and love me as me, AND as the mother I chose to be. I love that, and it makes me love them even more.
So nourish your friendships, whether with other moms or with your non-mom friends. It will be worth every bit of attention you give to your friends, just as it is so with your kids. And when that empty nest day comes, as it inevitably does, guess who is gonna be there?