There’s no doubt that having children is a truly magical time in your life, but it also turns your world upside down. One thing you may have found when becoming a parent is that you slowly shift away from some of friends, especially those who don’t have children themselves. It’s a huge change in your life and friendships can be tested. Suddenly, as a parent you may not be available at short notice like you used to be and you may need to take into consideration things like bath times, bedtimes or whether you are needed to be with your child. One thing is certain; your priorities change when having a child. Having friends around you during this time can make such a difference to how you feel.
When baby first arrives, it’s likely you’ll have an influx of people wanting to meet your little one, with presents and cuddles. But when this stops, there will probably be a few friends that continue to check in, pop over for a cup of tea and a cuddle with baby just so you can get a shower in peace or even a bite to eat. Friends that don’t expect to be catered for but will come and load the dishwasher and fold the laundry without you even knowing. You may also find that you start to form new friendships or become closer with other parents that are living the same experiences as you.
But why is having friends around you so important when having a baby?
- They are often unbiased: you may find that friends are able to listen without judgement, much more easily than a family member. They will be able to empathise with your situation and may even be able to offer some helpful advice.
- They will notice when you are feeling down or need help: this is so important. If you have good friends who know you well, they will instantly be able to pick up on any mood changes and will likely to be to alert you when you are feeling down, even if you’ve not acknowledged it yet.
- They can make you feel less lonely – parenthood is magical, but it can also be quite lonely and having friends around you who visit often and continue to include you in their plans will provide reassurance that you are not alone on this rollercoaster of a journey.
- A very good friend will take care of your children like they are your own, and what you ask of them will never be too much.
- They can remind you that you are still you and not just Mum or Dad. Many parents say they feel like they lose their identity when becoming a parent. Friends will be able to sit with a hot cup of tea and remind you of the crazy things you used to do pre children!
As parents, it’s so easy to get sucked into a routine and doing the same thing day in, day out. Remembering to keep in touch with friends, make a park visit with the kids for a coffee while they play, or simply going for a walk, putting your headphones in and calling a friend – even if it is just to talk about what’s happening on the next episode of your favourite Netflix show – is so important for both your mental health and wellbeing and can make all the difference to how you are feeling.
Just because your priorities have changed and your life is now focused on your little people, it doesn’t mean there isn’t time to hang out with friends. There really is no shame or guilt in taking some time out to be the old you!