Mama Friendships – Are Yours At Risk?

Maintaining friendships when you are a mama can be a tricky business. Often already juggling a hectic home life, work and children, while also trying to carve out a bit of time with Daddy-o, can leave little room for your girlfriends.

The way I see it, there are a few friendship fizzling high risk situations:

1) You become a mama: Many report that their friendships with single/childless girlfriends suffer. Mama feels they don’t understand why she doesn’t want to ditch the kid to go dancing every weekend. This has not actually been my experience. My single friends have shown extreme interest and understanding when it comes to my kids. And I am equally keen to hear their Sex in the City lifestyle stories.

2) You have a child with a disability: Hate to say it, but mamas of kids with disabilities get ditched. I’ll explain why it happens in the autism world: you have a friend who brings her 3-year-old over for weekly playdates. Her kid can’t talk, has meltdowns for “no reason”, maybe he’s a bit aggressive, doesn’t relate to the other kids there and his behaviour is disruptive. The mama host thinks “Hmmm…this playdate would go much more smoothly if that kid with the problems doesn’t come”. The playdate invitations stop.

3) You constantly bail on plans: When you regularly drop out of social plans at the last minute, eventually your friends will stop inviting you. I generally don’t accept invitations in the first place because of my bailing stats. But, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate receiving a low pressure “turn up if you can swing it” invitation. It makes me feel that I have not been forgotten, and also that there is some understanding about my situation.

4) You become a Mama of Many: Right around the birth of your fourth child, families you normally socialize with suddenly stop inviting you over. Who can blame them – your family takes up their whole house.

How have your friendships survived? What are the biggest friendship hurdles you’ve encountered in your mama life? Are you still close with the friends you had pre-kids, or did you shake it up socially when you hit the mama scene?

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6 Responses to “Mama Friendships – Are Yours At Risk?”

  1. Carrie

    great post!
    I always remember a friend of mine saying ‘the thing about having 9 children is that nobody invites you to supper!’

    my friendship experience is probably opposite from most….before I had kids, all (and I really do mean ALL) my friends had kids…and any single kid-less friends I had, it was usually ME ditching plans with them so I could go babysit for the other friends :) so if anything, now that I have kids, I fit right in!

    Reply
  2. Elissa

    Great post! I think it’s the high maintenance mama friendships that bug me the most. Some of my best friendships are with mom-friends you can re-connect with – even tho some time has passed. There are times when we just can’t return (non-urgent) calls asap and when life in general gets in the way. Mom-friendships require time, patience and understanding – and those are the ones that last.

    Reply
    • Julie Cole

      Totally agree! I have some friends who we don’t touch base for months and no one is offended or feels insecure about the friendship – it’s like time has stood still between us. Those are the friendships I can manage. Any high pressure stuff, and I just can’t do it.

      Reply
  3. Tanya

    Great! Helps me to remember I’m not the only one! After our 4th was born and before that too though memory very foggy now as all our girls are under 6 years old, we never get invited for dinner anymore or out for dinner either.

    We also rarely get invited to birthday parties. It’s not due to a lack in gift giving in fact we are probably over generous and great bargain shoppers for those generous purchases it’s likely the thought of having to add 4 to the guest list, with loot bags and god forbid if they are having a party out where you are only able to invite 10 kids we take up a good chunk of that! It is very disheartening and disappointing though we try to remember it is not us; it’s them. We stay the course and focus on what we have vs. what we don’t. All in all the kids for sure get 7 great parties a year, one for each of their birthdays, 1 for the dog’s birthday, 1 Halloween Extravaganza, and 1 for their cousin who always invites the lot!
    The way I see it now is in the long run it saves us money!

    So for those weak or faint at heart, perhaps we’ll just invited them to our house. After all they are likely jealous that we can do it all and then some!

    Reply
  4. Linda

    I think I have more friends since I’ve had kids than I did before. I don’t really have many friends I still see from before kids, and no friends without kids.
    My two best friends don’t even live in the same city. One I’ve known since we were 10. She has 6 kids now….but we rarely see each and keep in touch online on a daily basis. The other I have known since my youngest and her oldest were 2 yrs. old. She has twin girls and one has been diagnosed with autism. We also keep in touch online. But only get to see each other about once ever 2 years. But when we get together it’s like we’ve never been apart.
    Good friends stick it out.
    Most of my best friendships I have made since and through my kids. And those have lasted even past the early years, and we now hang out more without the kids than with.

    Reply
  5. Julie Cole

    Linda – a couple of great points – having kids does really make room for more friendships….we meet mamas that we connect with through our children. Also, being online is such an amazing way to keep our friendships going. Time and distance may work against us, but popping online in the evening for a quick catch up can keep it all going.

    Reply

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