23 January 2014

Friendship (Before" and "After" the invasion of miniature humans)

Becoming a parent changes everything, it changes your job, your body, your marriage, your house and even your friendships. If you or one of your friends has just become a parent, or is about to, here is a handy guide to the complex world of Friendship Post Pregnancy...

To start us off, here are some handy definitions to help you understand the difference between "Then" and "Now": 

Friend: [frɛnd] noun:

1.  (Before) Someone you spend time with, like and know well. Perhaps someone you work/worked with, those you lived with at uni or used to go to school with.
2. (After): Someone you like, know well and  used to spend time with and now send social media messages to for 6 months trying to arrange a time when they're not at work and your baby isn't asleep. Or someone else with children who you like and spend time with but know nothing about other than the names of their children. (I do not know the occupations of some of my "after" best friends)

Friendship:[frɛn(d)ʃɪp] noun:

1. (Before) A relationship between two or more people categorised by mutual enjoyment of each other's company.
2. (After): A relationship categorised by a willingness to be in the same room as another person and co-exist for short periods of time between feeds or sleeps. 


The Top FIVE things you need to know about being friends with a parent

1. They're listening but they're not REALLY listening. 
They'd LIKE to listen and they really would care what you were saying if there weren't 25 other things in their brain clamouring for their attention. (Eg. How long since child last fed, slept, wee'd or pooed. How long it will take to pry child away from the toy they're holding, put its coat on, convince it to walk to the car and then drive home. What new dinner can be made from 1/2 tin of beans and some green pepper. Whether the child eats too many beans and is that too much salt for a toddler.) 

2. Even when they ARE listening they can't maintain eye contact with you.
This is not because they no longer like you but because they have to be constantly vigilant for acts of toddler terrorism, sick or poo escapes and choking hazards.

3. No, they don't remember that guy you were seeing with the poodle and the green coat, or that time you got drunk and said that thing about Cliff Richard.
Don't be offended if they have no recollection of something great/funny/momentous that you did together. They don't remember anything. You're lucky if they have remembered your name. It took me about 5 minutes to remember where we'd been on honeymoon this week, and that was only 3 years ago. 

4. No. They haven't been watching (new tv series), they haven't heard of (new band) and they have no idea what's going on in (middle eastern country).
Did YOU see the nice top the girl on CBeebies had on this week? or the weird new "Tiny Tumble" cartoon on Something Special? No. Sorry, you just don't consume the same media anymore.

5. Never try to move conversation away from the kids by asking "so what else is new?"
NOTHING. There is no "apart from the kids". There's the kids, and nothing else! In the persons ENTIRE life. Don't make them feel bad for not having been skiing or taken up tae kwon do or started up an umbrella personalisation business.

Yeah, it's pretty tough being friends with a new parent. I'm starting to feel really sorry for my friends!* Don't fret though, because I've also prepared...

 Top 5 things you can do to make it bearable

1. Meet them in a safe, private place like your house or their house. They can concentrate more on the conversation if the child can't run away, spill a strangers drink or get behind the counter in a coffee shop. They'll also have to worry less about the sick in their hair, the yoghurt on their jumper and the fact they haven't showered since Tuesday.

2. Organise (and preferably pay for**) a babysitter and take your friend out without the child. Don't forget that this "out" is new territory for them and they'll need to be in bed by 10pm at the latest.

3.  Just go with it. Talk endlessly about the kid, play with the kid and listen sympathetically to the boring droning on about sleeplessness. As annoying as it is, this is just a phase. It will end eventually and you will get your friend back.

4. Get pregnant so you've got something in common again.

5. Go mysteriously quiet on them until the child is at school and try again.

*Not that sorry, they all have full time wages, go on holidays, go to festivals and gigs, get drunk, watch films, eat meals in peace, shower in peace and have the time to drink a cup of tea once they've made it.
** Not only have the new parents halved their monthly income but they now have to spend 90% of it on nappies and an unending supply of petit filous. If you've got £20 to spare it'll probably mean the world to them!

Post Comment Love


  1. Brilliant! Now if we can just convince our child-free friends to start reading 'parenting' blogs we've got it sorted ;) ! #PoCoLo

  2. Oh dear, I used to think these things about my friends with kids before I embarked on motherhood and it used to drive me up the wall. Fast forward five years of pregnancy and children and I can definitely relate. When the little people around there is NO chance of finishing a conversation... Love the idea that the childless friend should pay for a babysitter and arrange a night out! #PoCoLo

  3. Hahaha! This is SO true - and utterly fab! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x