Before I became a mom, the thought never crossed my mind that my friendships may change. Everyone warned me that I would be more tired and love harder than I could ever imagine but no one warned me how jealous I would be of my friends with only one baby or even more, the friends without any kids at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and the chaos that has come with them but sometimes I truly believe that if someone without kids tells me how tired they are, I may lose it.
When we have kids, multiple kids at that, we change. Our priorities change, our time allotments change and our social life becomes non-existent, at least for a while. We no longer have time to text our friends all day or even reply within the same day. We no longer have the energy to stay out all night drinking wine because we know that on the days where we could use that extra hour of sleep, the kids will wake up an hour early. We no longer are able to keep up with every detail of everyone’s life because we are too busy drowning in diapers. Not ignoring our friends in those first few months and (if you’re like me) even years is challenging. It’s a tough road to navigate, especially when our friends without kids don’t fully understand the chaos that has come with the multiple bundles of joy in our lives now. It’s hard to explain to our friends without kids that the pictures of smiling twins on social media is not real life and was only posted so that we could use it to remember not to run away. So how do we do it? How do we keep our friendships relatively the same, and full?
The Friend Who Constantly Tells You She’s So Tired, But Has No Kids
Try to remember that it’s all relative in between your belly laughs at her perceived level of fatigue. Remember when you used to work 40 hours per week, come home and cook dinner for you and maybe your significant other and be totally wiped out? It’s not your friends fault that she doesn’t have two screaming toddlers at her feet 24/7. Instead of telling her that you wish you were as tired as she thinks she is and she better find someone else to complain to, be a good friend and give her some tips on how to function even when you’re dead-tired because let’s be serious, you’re a pro at that now.
The Friend Who Wants You To Come Over and Bring The Kids
If you would have told me how much work it took to get the kids out of the door without someone having a breakdown, I wouldn’t have believed you either. Getting multiple kids ready plus packing half of the house up to take with you takes an enormous amount of energy and patience. By the time you actually get into the car, you are ready for a nap, not ready to keep the kid alive in a friend’s house that isn’t babyproofed or even more, keep your friend’s house safe from the tornados that are your toddlers. It’s more work than it’s worth to bring your kids over and by the end of the visit, chances are, you’ve spent more time keeping the kids alive and entertained than time you have spent visiting with your friend. Instead of stressing yourself out, say that you would love to have her over to your house sometime to visit the kids (don’t forget to add in the disclaimer that she’s not able to judge you for the mess they’ve made) but today, you’d rather have some kid-free girl time. Bonus: you can also use this for the friend who wants you to bring your kids out to the restaurant you’re meeting at.
The Friend Who Says It Can’t Be “That Hard”
When my twins were first born, I was absolutely blown away by the level of difficulty that those tiny babies were. I was pumping non-stop, the boys were crying non-stop and the hours of interrupted sleep were non-stop. I didn’t think I would make it out alive and I remember someone saying to me “come on, it can’t be that bad, it’s all worth it, isn’t it?” Yes, my kids are my soul but at that moment, beaten down and more tired than I ever thought was humanly possible, I didn’t honestly believe that this was worth it. It was that bad and this was definitely going to be the end of me. When someone says something to you that makes you want to physically harm them, smile, nod and walk away (or put the phone down). Chances are, we have all said something to a new mom that we thought was harmless but made her blood boil. It’s easy to aggravate someone who is working around the clock for months on end. Again, we don’t know how hard this is until we go through it ourselves so try to cut them some slack and invite them over for dinner to give them a glimpse into your life. Bonus: You’ll gain an extra pair of hands for the night.
The hard years won’t last forever and someday, you’ll sleep again and have more time and energy for your friends. Until then, remind them that you love them and will see them again soon and do your best to be there for the big things, even when you have little beings at home taking up all of your time because remember, it takes two to keep a friendship going! The good thing about friends is that the best ones grow and change with you and will still love you, no matter what.
Kayla Andrews is a wife and mom to twin boys and three dogs. She loves wine, dessert, and laughing about the chaos of twin life. She spends most of her spare time writing and pretending like she’s going to work out. Follow her at doublethewine.com.