When Your Friends Have Kids
Their life is about to change, and so is yours
Being in your 20s (and probably also 30s) is strange in many ways. The people in your friend groups are all at different stages. Some are focusing on travelling, some are working hard on building a career whilst others are starting to settle down. It can be a big contrast between some of you buying houses and some of you living alone in your rented flats. One of the biggest changes that'll happen during your friendship is some of you having children (of course not everyone decides to have kids). It's definitely something you need to adjust to, and here's a quick summary of my experience, as well as some advice.
When people have children, their whole life and priorities will shift over to their kids. Being young together, you're probably used to being able to spend a lot of time with your friends and to go on spontaneous adventures together. I think a lot of people believe that once some of you have kids, they'll become boring people and the friendship is pretty much dead. Of course I can't speak for everyone, but several of my childhood friends are now parents and our friendships are stronger than ever.
Your friend is still the same person after having kids, it's just that they are a parent now and have responsibilities. Don't treat them differently or be awkward around the fact that they have kids. Don't stop inviting them to things because you assume they can't come anyway. If you're going somewhere child-friendly, welcome their child to come with. I've had the absolute joy of watching different friends' kids play together as we were hanging out, adding a beautiful experience to my friendships.
As long as you communicate well and respect your friends and their kids, it should be an amazing experience for you to watch your friends become parents. You get to enjoy not only your friendship, but the cool mini-versions of your friends. You get to have fun with kids without any responsibilities. Sure, things will be a lot different. It might be convenient for your friends to hang out at different times, or to meet at home rather than going out all the time. They'll have to suddenly change plans because they've had a sleepless night, or because their kids have gotten ill. It's harder to make plans, and you'll have to be more flexible. Maybe your friends having kids serves as a friendship test, but if you're in it for the long run, you'll get over any difficulties in the beginning and find a balance that works for everyone.
Don't be afraid to talk to your friends about how things have changed after their kids arrived. It's okay to miss what you had before, but their kids are here forever, so you'll just have to get used to the new reality. If you feel that your friends aren't making enough of an effort with your friendship or you're sad they don't attend as many gatherings as you wish they would, speak to them about it rather than pushing them away. Also, if you have some extra time and energy, ask your friends if they need help with anything. Taking care of a newborn baby isn't easy, and there could very well be something you could do to help. Maybe you can do a shop for them, walk their dog or help them tidy or clean their house. It doesn't have to be huge things, but I'm sure they'll appreciate the offer as it's not always easy to ask for help.
The most important thing is that you're understanding and that you support your friends. Their kids have to always come first, and that isn't gonna change. Accept that things are different, and enjoy it as much as you can. Watching my friends have kids, seeing them grow up and getting to be part of their lives is one of the best things I've experienced, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
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