baby in The Essential One

Friends without babies. Parents, you got any of those?

Let me start by saying I do, some of my closest, most valued friends don’t have kids (and several are free and single bad-ass ladies to boot), but some ladies without babies, ones I thought would stand the test of friendship time have fallen by the wayside since little people have arrived and well, it makes me a little  bit sad.

I know it’s nothing new, you hear it all the time the parents/non parents friendship divide… I just feel a bit disappointed, that so called ‘sisters’ and I grew apart when my babies came along.

It reminded me of the time I got married and the majority of male friend I had bid me adieu. Nice. Maybe When Harry Met Sally was right after all? Can men and women really just be friends?

Seriously though, I think people believe there’s not much common ground if you’re married/have kids and they aren’t/don’t…

I mean I didn’t have a clue what having sprogs was like before I actually had them. Nobody can right?

I imagined they were cute doll like beings I could dress up and play with and they would sleep all night, fit right into my life and nothing would really change…erm reality check quickly hit on the arrival of my own ‘dolls’, however cute those sailor suit baby grows are, neither like to sleep (oh joy) and life is (joyously) upside down most of the time!

Considering it further, I think the difference between the friends without babies who are around now and those who aren’t, is the former understood (as best they could) and TRULY appreciated that I’d changed A LOT, that I wasn’t available at the drop of a hat any more, I was tonnes more sleep deprived (and it wasn’t like those weekend benders we enjoyed before because you could sleep those off-with motherhood it’s relentless night after night) and that I had more responsibility now.

They got that I’m a little more sensitive, probably not as confident as I once was and that those children I love more than my life, have changed me irrevocably without a doubt, yet oxomorinically not that much at all-not at the very core. I’m still the little Vicki they always knew with big dreams who loves nothing more than surrounding herself with family, friends, fab food and great films.

I was still me when my first baby came along, just me struggling to adapt to the new me, a transitional time, one where I needed my friends more than ever. Some were there with bells on…others didn’t even send a card.

I understand with some friendships envy can rear it’s ugly head, those who want kids and can’t have them or aren’t in a position to, or those who don’t want the new you but the one who danced barefoot at parties in Cannes and stayed out all night in Soho without a care in the world…(and I am still that girl, just not every Saturday)…There are always times in life where we don’t, can’t and won’t have what others have (how sad and crippling that may be) or have to appreciate someone’s changed circumstances… and part of growing up is dealing with that, right?

Not all friendship is unconditional. Oh no. A huge turning point in life like marriage or kids really makes that clear.

…On the flip side, friends with babies have filled a lot of the gaps (along with NEW child-free friends too) and old friends I’ve rediscovered, now with kids themselves, whom are firmly back in my life.

…I mustn’t forget to add the importance of the support and friendship I’ve found on twitter and in the blogging community too, (many of whom I’ve also met in person too) who’ve laughed and cried with me over the years, held me up (sometimes in the middle of the night with a teething baby) and celebrated happy times including the birth of my second son (I wasn’t on twitter when my first was born), anniversaries and even new jobs.

Life does get crazy with children, I have far less time, energy, patience (sad but true) than I once did but let me tell you, since several friends departed, I’ve valued the ones who’ve stuck around, all the more.

friends-Honest MumGirly nights with great friends without babies

I’m strict about making time for my girlfriends be it girly nights out, the odd weekend away (usually in London to see my mates in the Big Smoke) and I make the effort to ring (even if babies are crying in the background), keeping in touch with friends when I can (which usually means making calls power-walking on the treadmill at 9pm-my friend Amancay can testify to this).

I also love that my cherished child-free friends make a real effort with my kids, they remember birthdays, love hanging out with us all as family and genuinely care.

Motherhood has taught me to love unconditionally, to have greater empathy and be more forgiving and it’s made me realise more than ever, that I mess up (sometimes every single day, many times a day) and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself or others…

Truly, I really don’t blame the friends that fled, I just miss them, that’s all.

 

 

 

 

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41 Responses

  1. Beth

    Hi!

    I know I’m a bit late to the party with this one but I found the post through one of your #AllAboutYou link ups. Anyway, I have found that since being pregnant/having G that certain people have seemed to be more hands-off than I thought but I do wonder, in a not at all nasty way, is is jealousy? What I mean is, are they maybe struggling to get pregnant or do they want to start a family but maybe their other half doesn’t? I think if I desperately wanted a baby and all of my friends had them, I might find that hard? I’m not saying that’s always the reason, but there are a couple of people in my life who I think it may apply to.

    Really enjoyed reading.

    x
    Beth recently posted…But what if I don’t WANT to be “me”?My Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Beth thanks for your comment, yes I think there might be an element of envy/jealousy with some and just a lack of interest (which is fair enough) in child-free friends. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Katy Acquaye-Tonge

    What a great post Vicki! It reminded me of a quote by Gloria Naylor.
    ‘Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.’ Loved reading #AllAboutYou
    Katy Acquaye-Tonge recently posted…For everything there is a seasonMy Profile

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  3. Luci - Mother.Wife.Me

    I think friendship is an ever evolving state of affairs, my core of friends I’ve had for getting on for 20 years, some more, some less – one since the day I was born. But there’ve also been friends, great friends who’ve gone by the wayside, a couple I’ve had to walk away from and some who’ve probo walked away from me. Not every friendship needs to be forever, it’s lovely when a friendship does grow and change, but I’ve learnt along the way that not every friendship will stand the test of time and the changes in my life. I’ve also been amazed at the strength of the new friendships I’ve made since becoming a mum.
    Those friendships that have weathered the years I value and cherish SO much, those who haven’t, I look back and remember the good times.

    Thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou
    Luci – Mother.Wife.Me recently posted…#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Week 7My Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Luci thanks, what a lovely comment and so true too, I really cherish the friendships that have endured and those new ones too. We do have to accept not all friendships last forever, however sad that is. Such is life huh x

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  4. Babes about Town

    Yes I remember being a little heartbroken at the friendships that seemed to evaporate after I had kids. I think especially the first time around, the first year I felt very cut off from that life including my buddies. But moving to a more baby-friendly area and developing good friendships with mums that like to have a laugh was an absolute game changer for me. I’m more forgiving about it too, especially since I can be terrible at keeping in touch and without Facebook would have lost track of most of my old school friends! As someone who’s lived in different parts of the world, you get used to people changing and growing, losing connections and making new ones and the friends for life are those who you can pick up with at any point… even if it’s 20 years down the line. I’m thrilled too by the friends made through blogging, including lovely you xoxo
    Babes about Town recently posted…A Birthday Wish #EndFGMMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Babesabouttown you are so wise lady and so touched to call you a friend. I felt the same after that crucial make or break re friendships first baby. You are right though, we adapt, change and when old friendships go, new ones are made. Thanks for your fab comment x
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  5. Caroline (BecomingaSAHM)

    Great post and it’s interesting how sometimes the friendships you think will last, don’t and others do. My group of ‘best’ friends had been growing apart for a while before I had Monkey but we were kind of trying to cling on to what it used to be. Then Monkey came along and I just didn’t have the time for it any more (they were also very judgemental and un-supportive of how hard I found it at first) so I cut them out. It still makes me sad sometimes but they weren’t really ‘friends’ any more. Some of them now have babies too but I know I am happier without them in my life. I have a wonderful group of mummy friends now and we are all so much more supportive of each other. I do still have single and child free friends who are wonderful too so it depends on the person I guess! Very thought provoking post 🙂 xx
    Caroline (BecomingaSAHM) recently posted…The Theme Game – GlassMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Caroline thanks so much for this. It’s really reassuring to read that others have experienced the same thing as I-yes some amazing friendships have lasted but others have disappeared as we’ve out grown one another and circumstances change. That’s life isn’t it. Thanks for such a fab comment x

      Reply
  6. Chloe

    None of my friends have children. I’ve met two mums since having children that I’d now class as friends, but otherwise all my parent support comes via twitter. It can feel really quite lonely for the reasons you mentioned in your post. It’s difficult for my friends to understand the realities of having children, although some of them do try.
    Chloe recently posted…I can’t own all the daysMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Chloe thanks so much for this, it really can be lonely can’t it?! I definitely found that with my first and being the first one to have a baby from my friends too wasn’t easy-you are forced into mummy friendships (some amazing, life-long, others that don’t last the coffee you’re drinking together in reality)…but we just somehow adapt and move forward… doesn’t make it easier at the time though. Thanks for your fab comment.

      Reply
  7. Katie

    Actually, most of my pre-baby friends are baby-less. I started early. What I have found is that certain friends grew closer, while others definitely more distant. And not necessarily how I would have predicted.

    There’s also the dozens of incredible friends I have made through my baby, nothing could have prepared me for that.

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  8. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Lovely honest post Vicki. It is sad when friendships end or friends disappear however, personally I think that’s just sometimes how life is meant to be.

    We need big things to happen to us in life so we can separate the wheat from the chaffe! 😉 True friends don’t disappear, no matter what happens. I firmly believe that.

    I have a couple of amazing friends who are baby-less to date who have been nothing short of incredible after i’ve become a mother. However I have also lost a number of friends too, since having Elsie. But in my opinion, it is their loss, not mine.

    The older I get and the more my life is changing, the more I cherish my true friends and appreciate them. I have less time to give so I’m much pickier about friendship and who I spend my time with in general. Motherhood has also introduced me to new friends who are wonderful (you included).

    I guess the thing is really, when it comes to friendship, we should all be more aware of how we treat people and how other people treat us. x
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…YOUR SECRETS: EMMA’S STORY, PART 2: More pearls of wisdomMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Katie thanks dear, feel the same way about you, twitter and the blogging community is incredible for support. I agree that life changing events sort the wheat from the chaffe and I suppose you realise who your fairweather friends are at times like that and who will hopefully last a lifetime.

      Very wise about having less time and choosing friends carefully too, kids make you focused don’t they! Fab comment x

      Reply
  9. Sharmin

    This is such an honest and beautiful post hon. I’ve heard it so many times before but just feel that if a friendship is strong and based on something that was already established before kids, it shouldn’t mean the end at all. People should stick around. I for one am very happy to have such good friends from all walks of life, with-or-without kids. If anyone proves you can be a devoted mum without losing your sense of self it’s you!! Proud to be your friend sistah!! xxx
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    • honestmum

      @Sharmin thanks so much darling and for sticking around, I value our friendship so much, what it was then (at Uni) and what it is now…just gets better and better xx

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  10. RJ Lavallee

    Fifteen years ago my wife and made fun of friends who were new parents; life for them was “all about the baby.” Perhaps we were jealous, but what we were reacting to was the changed dynamic. We were no longer as important to these friends, and we didn’t really fit into the regimen of nap time and feeding schedules.

    Soon thereafter our first child came along, but we did not reconnect with those friends who had had their first children only a few years earlier. We were on an infant’s timetable, their children were no longer napping, and they were onto new adventures of science museums and swimming lessons.

    Years later we were no longer spending as much time with our friends who did not have children for the same reasons that we had grown more distant from the friends who had their children first. Our friends without children had no interest in seeing a six year-old’s soccer game, or a ten year-old’s band concert.

    Has our life become “all about the baby?” Heck yes. But even more so, our circle of friends has become focused around parents whose children are at similar developmental phases as ours. I’m sure there are many psychological and sociological reasons around why we have segregated ourselves this way, but most important in our minds is that a short four years from now our oldest will be preparing to go college, and our time raising these two fantastic people who happen to be our children will quickly draw to a close.

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      @RJ Lavelle thanks for your comment, you make some very good points, we are generally drawn to those with children of the same age (and kids that attend same schools as our children etc) but I feel more so if there wasn’t an existing friendship to begin with, so with regards to new friends.

      I do still feel as close if not closer to my child free friends too.
      Honest Mum recently posted…Friends Without Babies, You Got Any?My Profile

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  11. Sarah (@tamingtwins)

    I haven’t lost any friends since having children, I am one of the last to reproduce though. I can imagine how it could really easily happen. I’m always totally intrigued by the new friendships we make when we have children. These have proved to be invaluable to me. It’s amazing how closely and quickly you can bond over chewed nipples, sleepless nights and endless pureeing!

    PS. How AWESOME does your hair look in that last pic?! #welljel
    Sarah (@tamingtwins) recently posted…A Letter to My Newlywed SelfMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      @Tamingtwins baha, I hear that and to be fair why would any child-free want to hear about any of that. I know if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t want to! Thanks, love a good blow dry or blow out as they say in the US!
      Honest Mum recently posted…Friends Without Babies, You Got Any?My Profile

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  12. Mel

    Great post on friendship. Until a year ago, my best friend did not have children and we were still inseparable! She now has her own little one and she is like a cousin to my own brood. x Mel
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  13. Miss Informed Mummy

    I lov dreading your post, very honest and similar to how I feel! Loads of my besties are child free and I love them dearly but my life is now very different! I am still have the same personality as before but I have 2 little people I adore who always come first! I still enjoy nights out with friends and value them so much more now x very well written x

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    • Honest Mum

      @Miss Informed Mummy thanks for this, I find that me time with friends (child less or not) make me feel normal again!
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  14. Notmyyearoff

    I’m similar to Katie, I have a group of 5 friends whom I’ve been friends with since I was 5. We live all over the world now (most of us UK, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Sydney) and we “talk” every day via whatsapp. They are my rocks and I was one of the last to have a baby so I went to them with all sorts. Besides them, it is sad when other friends have drifted away but others have drifted in and I’ve been grateful for that. I know what you mean though. It is inevitable in a lot of cases. We just miss them!
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    • Honest Mum

      @Notmyyearoff that’s so lovely and those friends are so needed, more so now with kids. Lovely that you were the last so had a real induction into parenting before having kids.
      Honest Mum recently posted…Friends Without Babies, You Got Any?My Profile

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  15. Mama and More aka Zaz

    I have fewer and fewer friends without children if I am honest, and some are happier to be around me en famille than others. Becoming a parent is a seismic shift, and some friends are generous enough to accept that change, and you having new priorities in life, and some get easily frustrated with truncated conversations and repeated nos to going out. I do make time especially on the telephone to talk to as many friends as possible, as I find that social media keeps us at arms length, pretending to be in touch – it’s great, but should be in addition to not instead of real conversation, meeting up, dinners and the odd booty-shake! We were the first in our group to get married, and it really did not go down well with a lot of “friends”. With some, having children brought us back together, with others it didn’t. Life changes, people change – we make new friends, and remember and I agree, greatly miss the ones who aren’t around any more. Great post x
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    • honestmum

      Oh Zaz you are so right and so eloquently put, life does change and so do friendships…I love what Peter once said to me that, “friendships don’t all have to last forever and that’s OK” or something similar. We were the first to marry and have kids too, can alienate you a bit can’t it. Thanks for your lovely, considered comment x
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    • Honest Mum

      @Zaz actually just added about being the first in my set of friends to marry and have kids as relevant!
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  16. Emily G

    Love this post. I have had friends come and go at a few points in my life, but a few have remained and whilst most of us have children now, we have always kept in touch. I do miss some of the fun I had with those that have fallen by the wayside, but the people who are still here are worth their weight in gold, the people I have met via twitter and blogging have been amazing and have really supported me and been true friends. X
    Emily G recently posted…Telling people about your pregnancy – how did you do yours?My Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Emily thanks so much for this, you are so right, the ones that are real friends do stick around don’t they. Love twitter and blogging community too, such vital support x
      honestmum recently posted…Friends Without Babies, You Got Any?My Profile

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  17. Michelle @ Bod for tea

    This is such an interesting post and it sparks off a whole piece for me (that I’m going to go and scribble down now before I forget it!) about social media and whether it helps or hinders us in keeping in touch with people. I love that you make special time for your girlfriends and you still get together regularly – it’s so important isn’t it? And that reminds me that I haven’t had a girls night out for ages! x
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    • honestmum

      @Michelle oh would LOVE to read that and so interesting isn’t it. I really love phoning and seeing my friends too, so important to keep those bonds going. Of course where it’s not possible or for online friendships, twitter and FB has really been amazing. Do love one to one’s though x

      Reply
  18. Katie

    Such a lovely post Vicki – good friends are SO important.

    I have the same group of friends since primary school when we met aged 5! They are like sisters to me and I am quite lucky in that a lot had children the same time I did.

    I think true friendship can bridge the gaps having kids can create though. Even if things change a bit. You sound like you have quite a few of those too xxx
    Katie recently posted…The tipping pointMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Wow Katie that’s amazing, I lost touch with Primary school friends when we moved cities, you are so right, great friends are amazing and I really cherish mine x

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  19. Ebabee

    I don’t meet many of my friends who don’t have babies but that’s because we have very different timings, free-times, schedules etc But most of them are still very much friends, just ones I see a lot less often. The flip side is that I’ve made so many new friends since having a baby which has been amazing.
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    • Honest Mum

      @Ebabee that is a lovely flip side isn’t it, really value all my friends and having those with kids in my life too means I don’t feel so alone in the madness!

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  20. ToddlerSlave

    All of my friends are single and babyless! But they’ve all been brilliant since I had Boo and made a real effort to visit, and been really understanding about me not being able to go out.
    This year I’m making a massive effort to be there for all their things- birthdays, new job celebrations etc. before we start trying to get pregnant again next year and I have to be a hermit again for another couple of years! X

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    • Honest Mum

      Haha! I did go out both times when babies were 6 weeks with single friends to celebrate but yes life sure does change. I was the first from my set of friends to have a baby pretty much but by the time I had my second, a few friends had too and that helped. I value both child-free and those with sprogs the same though, you can never have too many real friends x

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