How to keep up with old friends
Even though you might feel your life has changed dramatically since having a baby, your friends are still part of who you are. They offer shared experiences and understanding. They can help maintain balance in your life, providing encouragement and sometimes a much needed reality check.
That’s why it’s important to make time for your old friends. Here are some tips.
It’s easier to make time if you plan to do something rather than hoping it will happen by itself. Set a date to catch up with friends but don’t be worried if you have to change your plans – having a new baby can make things unpredictable!
Encourage friends to join in
Friends are interested in your life, no matter what’s going on, so you can encourage them to join in your new life as a parent.
If your friends have children, they’re likely to be understanding and supportive. Even if your friends don’t have children, they might enjoy hearing what it’s like to be a parent – delighting in the positives and sympathising with the negatives. They might even have a fresh take on things that could help you.
Choose the right activities
Friends who don’t have children can still have fun on outings with you and your family. It’s a matter of picking the right activity, whether it’s feeding ducks at the park, going to a matinee movie screening or heading to the pool. Why not take the pram for a walk and talk with a friend?
Keep it simple
Gatherings that are easy to organise can take the stress out of getting together.
For example, a dinner where everybody brings a dish is a great way to have people over without having to worry about cooking and organising. Another advantage is that your baby can go to bed without having his routine disrupted.
Find a babysitter
A regular babysitter and ‘date night’ can give you the chance to go out, see a movie or have dinner together. Grandparents and extended family and friends might be happy to help with this. You could also organise babysitting ‘swaps’ with friends who have children.
Talk about old and new interests
You might feel like your only identity is as a parent, but to your old friends – especially those without children – you’re just you. So in addition to your baby and life right now, talk about a broad range of things that are of interest to you and your friends.
Making time for old friends helps you stay in touch with those things you and your friends have in common – music, food, sports, gossip, your old workplace and other personal interests you probably have less time for now.
How to make new friends
Now that you have a child, another group of friends will open up for you – other parents. Here are some good ways to meet parents:
- Join a new parents group at your neighbourhood clinic or community centre.
- Make the effort to chat at your local playgroup, kindergarten or play centre.
- Try to stay in touch with new parents you meet at the hospital.
- Go to the park so you can chat while your children play together.
- Go to ‘parents and babies’ sessions at your local cinema.
- Join a reputable online forum where you can chat with other parents.