Magazine article Work & Family Life

Staying Close after Old Friends Start Raising Children

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Staying Close after Old Friends Start Raising Children

Article excerpt

Parenting If you don't have children yourself, it's not easy to maintain a close relationship with old friends after they have become parents.

"Jan and I were best friends growing up and I was maid of honor at her wedding," says Linda. "Now all she can do is talk about her kid. It's like we have no history and Jan has no life outside her new baby."

Raising children is an all-- consuming experience and new parents especially are unprepared for the surprises and demands that come their way on an almost daily basis. But to their old friends without kids, the endless flow of "parent-talk" can seem, in a word, boring.

"Chris and I used to watch football together. We used to have passionate discussions about politics over dinner," says Brad. "Now I don't even think he reads the papers anymore. He's just so into his kids--and I really find toilet training and ear infections not that interesting to talk about."

When old friendships slip away

After Alex was born, Sasha realized that her friendship with Kelly hadn't exactly "broken up," it just sort of slipped away.

"Kelly and I used to talk a lot on the phone. Then one night, I fell asleep while she was trying to tell me about something that happened at work. She didn't call me much after that and I guess I stopped calling her. I was always tired and spending time with friends was just too much work."

New ways to nurture old friendships

Some friendships deepen after a baby is born. You discover that your neighbor who doesn't have kids herself is crazy about yours. Your husband's old college roommate stops by more now than ever before-- and seems to love playing with blocks. Or your best friend delights in all the little things that excite you as a new parent: your baby's first smiles, first words, first steps.

A more likely scenario is for the demands of childrearing to push your relationships with friends onto the back burner. But whatever role you're playing (new parent or childless friend), there are ways to keep your friendship alive and growing. Here are some suggestions:

* ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE.

Having children does change everything for parents, from the moment they wake up in the morning to the time they go to bed at night. …

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