Life post baby comes with so many changes, its hard to keep track. Every day brings about new challenges, questions, and adventures. A new parent is trying to navigate their way through this new stage in their lives while at the same time attempting to juggle all the things that existed pre-baby (their relationship with their partner, their career, their health, their sanity!). Is it any wonder that once children come into the equation our friendships also change? Even friendships that were formed long ago and built on trust, mutual respect and common interests now seem to take that much more work to maintain. Are they worth it? I believe so.
After having three children in 6 years I cannot tell you the amount of times I have looked at the clock waiting for 8 pm to roll around, so I can crawl into bed in hopes of getting a few solid hours of shut eye. In the past, 8 pm on a Friday evening used to mark the beginning of the “going out” ritual which involved spending alone time in the bathroom prepping for a marathon night out socializing with my girlfriends. Nowadays, nights like these take a lot more planning and coordinating, but they still do happen, (just not as often as I’d like) because my friends and I know the importance of maintaining our friendships. The small group of close friends that I turn to in a crisis (be it big or small) all bring something different to the table. Some of us are married with children, divorced, single, and others are married with no intentions of having children. With this plethora of experience each of us plays a unique role in the relationship, serving a certain “purpose:”; be it the friend who receives the endless questioning on potty training or the friend who always accompanies me shopping when I need some retail therapy, we seem to be there for each other through thick and thin.
However, just like in any relationship there are moments of frustration and misunderstanding. When you have three children you prioritize your children over everything and this can be slightly irritating to some who don’t have such a rigid schedule in their lives. Just as I find it equally frustrating when some of my single friends sometimes suggest our nights out not begin until after 9pm and involve activity after activity, when in truth a simple dinner and good conversation would suit me just fine. In any good relationship, communication is key and usually these frustrations and misunderstandings often can be overcome.
This, I believe is the magical thing about female friendships. When women are in friendships we tend to fully commit ourselves to the relationship and fully invest in the success of it. As we age and our circle of friends usually become smaller; the relationships within them are now more solid and we rely on them a lot more than we did in our 20’s. I know I will be instilling in my two daughters the importance of maintaining their female friendships over the years even when other events and people start to take precedent. Strong female friendships will take you through life’s curve balls; be it divorce, the death of a loved one, the birth of a child or an illness. Finding time for your friendships (although sometimes challenging) is completely worth it. We all need someone who will take a phone call at 2 am “just because”.