One of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt so far since becoming a new mum is that your friendships change. As a deeply emotional person, and one who values quality time, I really like surrounding myself with good friends and good company. However, becoming a new mum changes things. Your socialising completely changes as a tiny little person starts to dominate your world. You will lose old friendships; and you will gain many new ones. The ebb and flow of relationships are inevitable, but at times it can still hurt to say goodbye to old friends. Here are the 10 ways I’ve found that friendship changes when you become a new mum.
5 “Negative” Ways Friendships are Impacted
Like with most things, there are always pros and cons. Similarly, as your friendship changes with a new mum, there are good changes and bad. We might as well start with the bad ‘news’ first.
Depending on what your relationship was like before, your friend won’t be answering your texts (let alone phone calls) at the drop of a hat. In fact, in the early weeks and months, you may have to wait a couple of days before you get a reply. It takes a big toll on a new mum looking after their newborn baby, with breastfeeding, nappy changes and lack of sleep. They will become somewhat delirious, and will often read a message and then be interrupted. They aren’t ignoring you on purpose, but you’ll find you have to wait a while before they respond.
Especially in the early days, new mums won’t be venturing out much (or at all) with their baby. When they DO eventually go out, you’ll often find they have a strict curfew of when they’ll be returning home. Not only will this have to do with their baby’s sleep and routine, but it’ll often take a lot of energy out of them to go out and socialise, that they’ll be exhausted too.
If you are catching up with a new mum friend, you will find the conversation very stilted. Your mum friend may be feeding, entertaining the baby, trying to stop them from moving around everywhere, cleaning up after them, or trying to put them to sleep. You will most likely have to remind them continually of what you were talking about before they were interrupted.
Your new mum friends will also have lost all sense of conversation ‘protocol’. They won’t remember how to interact like a real adult for a child, because their sleep-deprived, delirious minds will forget the proper etiquette. These mums will have forgotten what adult interaction is like, so be kind to them and let them get the craziness out of their system.
Talk of babies – a LOT!
As friends, it is natural for us to talk about the things that are happening in our lives, and the newest experiences we’ve had. For new mums, it is all about babies. That is their whole existence at the present time, so be prepared for a lot of baby talk. While it may be frustrating, try and understand from their point of view – they most likely don’t have much else to talk about. On the flip side, they will probably be extremely interested in what you have to talk about if it is anything unrelated to babies.
Same Venue… Again.
If you’re keen for some longer social engagements (longer than about an hour), it will be easier to meet at the new mums house. You’ll find that this is a trend, and generally staying at home is easier for new mums. This may be annoying if you have to travel great distances, but also means that you can spend more time with your friend (especially if their baby can sleep at home while you both catch up).
5 Positive Ways Friendships are Impacted
While the above ‘cons’ to friendship changes with a new mum may sound unpleasant, there are definitely positives that come out of having a new mum friend.
More meaningful conversations
Even though your new mum friend will be a bit delirious and yes, will make some silly comments or jokes, you will find that they are eager to have more meaningful conversations. As they don’t talk much to adults anymore (their repertoire now consists mostly of baby ‘goo goos’ and ‘gah gahs’), they will be eager to engage in proper, adult conversations. You may find that your friendship goes to a whole new level as you explore deep concepts and experiences, with your new mum friend keen to develop solid adult friendships.
Your new mum friend won’t be holding any expectations about you contacting them immediately, getting back to their texts straight away, or wanting to hang out all the time. New mums will have reached a whole new understanding of the phrase ‘time restraints’, and won’t be expecting you to get back to them straight away. This will give you some breathing space, and you won’t feel pressured into doing anything right away – and in fact, this expectation-free friendship will likely make you more eager to get in contact with them.
You won’t get sick of each other
As you won’t be able to see each other 24/7, you are less likely to get sick of each other as friends. That will make your time together more enjoyable, engaging and a two-way street; rather than feeling as though you constantly live out of each others’ pockets.
If a new mum still makes the effort to chat or hang out with you when she can, it means the relationship is important to her. During the early weeks and months after having a baby, the focus becomes entirely on looking after bub because they are so dependent on you. New mothers who make an effort to catch up with friends, or even stay in contact when they can, are showing how much they value their friendship with you.
You become a new Aunty or Uncle
By far the best friendship change with a new mum, you will become a new aunty or uncle to their little bundle of joy. You will have this title bestowed on you lovingly, with great care and responsibility. Again, this is another symbol of a solid friendship. You will get to enjoy all the perks of a baby – the cuddles, the smiles and the playtime – without the added “bonuses” of smelly nappies or putting the baby to sleep duties (extra brownie points if you do though!).
Have you experienced friendship changes with a new mum, or since becoming a new mum? In what way did having a baby impact your friendship?
(P.S. If you’d like to read more about relationships after a baby, you can read this guest post about maintaining your relationship with your partner after having a baby).