I recently saw an article entitled “How to Keep Friends After Having Kids” and my first thought was something like, “That’s easy! Just don’t be a jerk.”
I didn’t bother to read past the headline, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t include that obvious suggestion. It probably had some serious advice to offer. Although if you’re not sure how to hang onto friends after you have kids, I don’t know if anything can help you, let alone a post I saw in my Facebook feed.
Except maybe this one!
I feel like a list of solutions to this “problem” needs to be broken down into categories – anyone having an issue keeping friends after having kids either made a terrible choice, a terrible mistake, or probably didn’t have very many friends to begin with.
So I made a few separate lists to help out.
If you’re so entrenched in the parenting thing that the only way you can envision staying friends with someone is if they have kids too?
- Punch holes in your friends’ condoms/Replace friends’birth control with Tic Tacs
- Set up a Tinder account for your friends’ that says “DTF (No Strings Attached!)”
- Knock them out, dump them in a bathtub full of ice, and surgically implant an embryo inside them, I mean you’re clearly already a terrible person might as well take it all the way
If your friends already have kids but parenting is starting to dominate all your time and you can’t find the time to hang out?
- Give your kids up for adoption they’re ruining your life
- Remember that you’re a three-dimensional person and get a babysitter once in a while
- Grow a pair and make your friends a priority
If you’re so obsessed with your kids that you’ve sequestered yourself in your house and alienated all your friends by disappearing from their lives?
- Who cares, you got what you wanted!
- Oh, you haven’t had an adult conversation in months and are having second thoughts?
- Send out elaborate apology notes, complete with gift cards, admit you were a fool, beg for forgiveness, and ask to join their book club/fantasy football league
If your friends are turning away from you because you no longer have any non-parenting interests and you’re okay with that?
- Hit yourself in the face with a brick
Hmm, too harsh? Bah!
There’s a difference between not keeping your friends when you have kids and not knowing how to keep friends when you have kids. And it mostly comes down to motivation. You have to want to hang onto them! Balancing your social life with having kids is not an easy task, especially at the beginning, but all it really takes is wanting to have a social life, and wanting to keep in touch with your friends.
Will you see them as much? Of course not. I have good friends – former roommates, the best man at my wedding, a dude who live four subway stops away! – that I see far less often than I used to, or want to. We have families, jobs, vacations, hugely popular blogs and social media empires, other assorted obligations. Life gets in the way. But we keep in touch as best we can, and when we do have opportunities to meet up, we take them. We need them!
All parenting (and all work, or all spouse, or all LARP, if you’re into that kinda thing) and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We all need balance.
Your kids should be a top priority – the top priority – in your life. And at the beginning of the journey, it will probably consume you, both the being a parent and the figuring out how to balance the rest of your life with being a parent. That’s fine; it will take some adjusting. But adjust. Figure it out. Find a way.
Your friends are your family too, and if you let them fall by the wayside due to lack of effort, or drive them out of your life with a one-track, all-kids-all-the-time mind, you’re going to regret it. You don’t need a list of ways to correct that. You just need to care.
Of course, if they’ve stopped caring about you once you had kids? Screw ’em! (And see that first list.)