Young adulthood is a strange time. Take it from me, a young adult. Some of your friends are immersed in their careers, with tunnel vision on their professional futures. Others are headed back to school for an advanced degree. Many are getting married and having kids.
By now, you’ve probably come to realize that as you get older, your friend circle gets smaller. Everyone gets busy, people move, and interests change. What about those friendships that you want to maintain, no matter what? When your friends start having kids, it can change everything.
How to Keep the Friendship Alive
While caring for a child is an around-the-clock job, parents need adult-time too. Setting aside adult time is part of preventing parental burnout. So how can you keep your friendship alive when your best friend has a new baby at home?
1. Understand That Their Life Has Changed
The most important thing to do is understand that life has changed, as it always does. While weekends used to be centered on parties and get-togethers, new parents are focused on early bedtimes and taking time to decompress.
Don’t try to pressure your friends into leaving their children if they’re uncomfortable. Offer to come over and watch a movie with them instead. Offer to cook them dinner at their house. These small gestures can be extremely significant to new parents, and also serve as a way to spend time together.
2. Try to Find Adult and Child-Friendly Activities
Suggest an activity for you and your friend that’s bound to be fun for both adults and children. Finding a place that’s child-friendly but still fun for the grown-ups provides the opportunity to spend time together as friends without having to find childcare or leave the baby.
Visit the zoo, walk through a local outdoor art festival, or go to the park on a beautiful day. Even lunch can help you stay in touch.
3. Plan Adult Time (With Help)
Sometimes new parents forget that they need to get out of the house. This is where you come in. Plan a friend’s night, where you buy movie tickets and make reservations at your favorite restaurant. Speak to your friend’s partner, co-parent, or another family member and let them know that you’re planning a surprise night out and ask them to cover childcare.
You’ll get to spend valuable adult-only time together and give the new mom and dad a much-needed break.
Communication is Key
The early days of parenthood are exhausting. Late nights, little sleep, and busy days. Sometimes new parents don’t have the energy to engage as much as they used to as they get settled into their new routine. That’s okay.
The key is to keep the lines of communication open. Send a “thinking of you” or “miss you” text once in a while to let your friends who are new parents know you’re there for them and value your friendship.