New parents, ex-BFFs
Parenthood can dramatically alter your social landscape.
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There are so many ways becoming a parent can have an impact on the lives of the mother and father of the baby. Depending on what stage in life you become a parent, nothing changes quite as much as your social landscape. Some friendships evaporate, some are actively abandoned and, occasionally, some are discovered. How can you ensure your friendships endure the rigours of parenting?

Young parents

If you become parents in between the ages of 18 and 21, your path has taken a decisive path often in the opposite direction from your friends. Post-school celebrations sometimes extend as long as any tertiary education takes place. If not solely partying, people may be studying, travelling or kick-starting careers, all of which absorb social time. It’s very hard work if you become parents to keep contact with your peers at a time in their lives when reproducing is far from their minds.

Different strokes

Maybe you’re slightly older. Between the ages of 25 and 30. You’re not quite as isolated from your friends as many of them have also become parents. But the stress of doing so, the divergence in work paths and life choices may cause a wedge. Not only that, but friends may have opinions about how to raise children which clash with yours. Frequent unwelcome opinions and advice are a big turnoff. What happened to my happy-go-lucky buddy, you wonder…

Late arrivals

One massive roadblock to friendship is if you are the one to have friends later, say your late 30s or early 40s. If this is because you have struggled to fall pregnant, you may have deliberately isolated yourself from friends while they have been popping sprogs, as seeing a baby is very difficult to cope with if you can’t have one. Your friends may have avoided you for fear of hurting you, too. In addition, if your friends had kids in their teens, their own children may be old enough (technically) to have kids. You’d be a grand-friend. Eek!

Suddenly, a muffin

Life can have unexpected twists and turns. Some choose to have kids, some have surprise kids, and then choosing where to live, send children to school (or home school), where to work, with whom to have a relationship and so on can all cause friendship erosion. Distance is as much a factor as an annoying partner of a friend in ending friendships.

Unlike

There are real friendships where you meet regularly and catch up, actually share space in each other’s lives, and then there are social media relationships. If someone you have been real friends with is now only a social media friend, then should you really have to put up with their prods and pokes at your style of parenting? It could be easier to unfriend that person than endure constant negativity…

Then there are friends who are pure gold. They stick by you, add value to your life and share your parenting experiences, just as you share their lives, whether they are parents or not. BFFs, forever. If that doesn't work, you could try joining in with your kids, and have some imaginary friends.

Have you managed to maintain friendships as a parent? How did you do it?

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