Life happens, relationships naturally ebb and flow with time. They change, you change, and so do the people in your life. Relationships demand time but we all know how time is effected by parenthood, zapped, siphoned; it disappears into the long sleepless night, into baby classes and blending food.
Pre child you would meet for a coffee at lunchtime, or meet for a wine at lunchtime. Day drinking was still a viable life choice. You would go window shopping or actual shopping where you could both afford and fit into clothes. Discussion topics focused around work and boyfriends and social activities. If you felt like a casual and unplanned visit to the cinema you would text and meet at the door in ten minutes. TEN MINUTES. You could have phone calls that last for an hour and no one would interrupt you.
Friendships can drift a little after you become a parent, some friends may be hurt that you are not as easily contactable, that you cannot go out for lunch more often. There is dinner to make and dishes to wash, endless laundry piles, after school clubs, prearranged playdates and head lice isolations…Then they will have kids and realise why you couldn’t go clubbing till 5am or you constantly arrived covered in sick. Others will be amazing and send you messages like, ‘we hope you survived the night’.
You miss friends and should tell them, the rare meet-ups make you feel joyful in that you are connected to the world again but you realise most of your conversations and funny stories are about your kids. You also feel a slight sense of loss at the person you were and the times you had. They still need you as a friend, parenting is challenging but their lives and stress over what to wear to whatsherface birthday are important too. Meet ups are shorter, sometimes halted by messages from your other half saying your child has Lego Batman’s face stuck up their nose. Travelling anywhere with kids makes you dizzy with anxiety and is a strategic mission. If you forget baby wipes the world will literally end.
Sometimes you just can’t face it.
Friends with children. (Mummy friends).
Your friends that have kids dipped in and out of your life before you had a child. You naively sent them beautifully packaged baby grows (in white) and caught up over email. They always seemed busy. You became a parent and they become your lifeline, your font of knowledge, you can call each other in the night and cry. You have a surprising amount of conversations about poo. You become closer, they offer sanity and solace. Having a new baby can be an isolating experience. I found myself seeking new parent friendships, mummy mates, where you are united by the undeniable bond of parenthood and the ensuing chaos, they become your warrior friends.
Pre child I loved my family but now I appreciate how much, and how much they are there for me.
When I could not, they brought me a cot and a carrier, baby toys and clothes.
When my Nan sends a letter in the post to little boy with a ten pound note and a little message about his week at school, when she visits and spoils him but I have given up arguing as I am so glad he has a great nanna. Time is precious.
When I am frantically trying to arrange holiday clubs and childcare for half terms and without asking my mum will call me back a couple of days later, having concocted a plan with my aunt and nan and booked the time off work. I end the phone call with tears in my eyes.
I am so grateful for them, and should say so more often. I love them for their unconditional love of my son. Before I had Leo I did not realise the distance of a four hour journey home, now I feel it with each mile.
Do you remember date night? No that’s because you had a child. Relationships pre child are filled with weekend lie in’s, meals out, finishing a bottle of wine or three at night. Jazz. You make an effort. Put on a nice dress, have spontaneous Saturday adventures and hotel stays. My own relationship broke down after my son’s birth. It can be practically and emotionally testing for both mum and dad bringing a little person into the world, it can likewise strengthen the bonds of love between you, you need patience. Tiredness = tensions, be kind to each other new roles take time to adjust too. My partner and I started dating when my little boy was wee it made things more complicated, there is not much romance between superhero’s and sick but we rock it.
You also have an amazing, testing relationship with a brand new person to form…enjoy and embrace it!
Regular blogger post originally written for @meetothermums http://meetothermums.com/blog/view/relationshipsbeforeandafter
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