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Did you drift apart from your friends?

(119 Posts)
loafofbread Tue 30-Dec-14 01:34:35

I'm a first time mum to a 5month old and today met up with my friend of many years for Christmas. She's in a long-term relationship with a woman and has no children with no desire to have any.

Before I fell pregnant I'd probably travel the 50 mile journey to visit her where she lives in the valleys once a month or so. We'd go for a meal in the village, have drinks and I'd stay over.

Since DD came along, DH and I have met up with them on several occasions, but I just find them so unaccommodating of our child. They regularly choose venues which arent baby friendly and I guess they're so used to me singing their tune, they get irritable with me when I say no to their choice of venues.

They were in our town over Christmas so we asked if they could pop over to our house to swap gifts etc but they said they were too busy and asked us to go to them the following day instead (today).

On our journey, we hit really thick fog over the steep hills and I got anxious at having DD in the car so we turned back. After our first ever argument over the phone about us turning round, my friend agreed us half way. She arrived with the most thoughtful, beautiful gifts for the 3 of us but I couldn't help but just feel sad and awkward the whole time after our argument.

We really have nothing in common anymore and have drifted apart. She made so much effort with our gifts but just doesn't understand how life changes when you have a baby, nor does she really get the concept of 'busy' and it is getting under my skin. Her life is so free and simple compared to our busy lives now that we have DD, I don't understand why she can't be more accommodating rather than expecting me to put myself out like before. I've explained but she just doesn't 'get it.'

How did you deal with drifting apart from close friends after many years? Is there a way we can remain friends without me constantly feeling annoyed when making arrangements?

however Tue 30-Dec-14 03:20:17

Did she ever come to you? Or have you always been the one making an effort?

ChocolateNutsAndCreamLiquer Tue 30-Dec-14 03:39:45

I'm sorry to say this but the arrival of your DD has put an end to your friendship.

My best friend had children and we had less in common until I found her behaviour odd. What would have been a conversation was just becoming a question and answer session with her answers getting more and more nonsensical.

I think she got tired of me as I don't have and don't want children. Maybe she found my conversation the same old same old.

She was also very surprised that I didn't know how much a tin of baby milk cost. I was flabbergasted that I should have known, in her view.

In the end she would put a short dvd on for the kids so she could phone me so she could finish the telephone conversation with me by saying, 'I'd better go, I can hear the kids.'

She has no idea how your life has changed since your DD was born. Her view is that she is friends with you. Your baby is all very well, but what's that got to do with you two being friends ? In her view, that does not need to change.

Sorry that it's ending. She does not know what it means for things to be child friendly. She might just wonder, 'can't your DD just fit in with what we are doing ?'

(The only thing I can liken it to is emigrating. This is because I've emigrated not given birth ! Family and friends had no issue with us emigrating on account of the fact they weren't doing it and didn't have the emotional and financial stress to deal with.

loafofbread Tue 30-Dec-14 08:33:37

However- yes she's been to visit DD a few times since she's been born so can't say it's just us making the effort as it really isn't. I think my issue is more her lack of understanding at the attachment of having a child. But then I understand why she doesn't get it when she doesn't have children. It doesn't stop me feeling irritated though unfortunately...

Thanks Chocolate. It's great to hear from a point of view of someone else who doesn't have children. I guess when two lives are so different, they naturally drift apart. I really struggle when she complains about being 'busy' because she's been baking mince pies for the neighbours or says she's tired after a good lie-in. I guess I used to say things like this before I had children too! I really miss luxuries like baking and making things... something we had in common before.

I feel bad because she's still my lovely, generous, beautiful friend. But we're on different tracks at the moment. DD won't be young forever, maybe one day we'll get our friendship on track again.

Family days out, baby sensory, games, toys and mumsnet are my life now! A far cry from festivals, girls nights, organic vegan food, pints of cider and 90's dance music.

Gosh we're really different these days.

afreshstartplease Tue 30-Dec-14 08:37:15

I grew apart from all of my friends more or less when I had dc

But then I was 19 and they were still running wild

WellAsCanBe Tue 30-Dec-14 08:46:56

My best friend and I had lfar ess in common, it seemed, after I'd had my DC, but we still kept in touch - maybe met up once a month - we live close.

After 5 years she had a DC (never thought sh ewould) so understood more about how having DC affects your life. Our DCs are almost grown up now and we are closer than ever and have supported each other through relationship break ups and bereavements.

So glad we made the effort to stay in touch although it was sometimes awkward and neither of us seemed to be getting much out of it. Perhaps consider communicating more via phone and email?

Goingintohibernation Tue 30-Dec-14 08:49:40

I think you have a choice here. If you want to keep the friendship you can, but it would involve keeping your friend largely separate from your DD. I did exactly that with a single friend. Since DS came along our relationship has not changed a great deal. I usually see her in the evening, when DS is in bed, and although I do talk about DS I am careful to make sure that is not all I talk about. Your baby is understandably the most important thing in the world to you, but it is not fair to expect your friend to feel the same.

dirtybadger Tue 30-Dec-14 09:06:12

I've grown apart from about 50% of my friends who now have DC. I don't really "get" babies (older children I find rather entertaining) and visit friends to see and chat to them, not to watch them look after their DC or hear about their DC (who from my perspective is no different from all the other DC my other friends have, IYSWIM, so I have to relive the same conversations).
Some friendships have carried on mostly as normal, albeit with less going out in the evening (fine) whilst others become me attempting to understand the nuances between slings, breastfeeding chat and pop psych. child development stuff.

I think parenting style is also relevant. There are some friends who parent how I would (I think?) if I had a child...which is pretty hands off. Other friends are completely different and these friendships are difficult to maintain. I imagine it's not so different to when two people have DC and parent very differently, eventually one may just really get exhausted with the alternative way of working and not be able to cope in their company any more.

Sorry off on a tangent as the latter issue doesn't appear to be the problem in your case.

I think you should probably leave things to develop naturally. Don't bend over backwards, but try to make an equal effort to maintain the friendship. Stop making such an effort when you stop enjoying having the friendship (don't be friends for the sake of it). Maybe you'll reconnect a little as DD gets older.

Kim82 Tue 30-Dec-14 09:06:16

I'm the same as Afreshstart. I had my first at 19 and as all my friends were out clubbing all the time we quickly drifted apart. I don't have any friends now really buy I have my two sisters who are more than enough for me.

Lottapianos Tue 30-Dec-14 09:08:23

Just to put the other side of this.....

I am in your friend's shoes at the moment. My best friend has a 2 year old who is absolutely gorgeous and who I love seeing. She's also expecting baby number 2. I have no children and am unlikely to have any, mostly through choice but its a bit complicated.

I'm very happy for her but things have definitely changed between us. I've gone from seeing her once a week and being very involved in each other's lives to seeing her about once a month, sometimes with little one, sometimes without. Her whole life has become about family, and there just isn't much space for me any more. Of course I understand that is how things have to be, but I have had my resentful moments. It does get frustrating when it feels like everything has to be on her terms - she's very inflexible about things like little one's naptime etc when we're visiting. I would be horrified if she thought my life was just a series of lie-ins, baking and fun stuff just because I don't have children - everyone has their problems, worries and responsibilities whether they are parents or not.

So I can't speak for your friend, but yes, she may be feeling a bit shocked and even resentful at the huge change in your life. However hopefully she is planning to do what I'm doing - hang in there, weather the storm, be supportive, try to adapt to the change in the friendship.

'I feel bad because she's still my lovely, generous, beautiful friend. But we're on different tracks at the moment. DD won't be young forever, maybe one day we'll get our friendship on track again'

This is how I feel too. I hope that things become more settled for both of you

loafofbread Tue 30-Dec-14 10:02:29

"it's not fair to expect your friend to feel the same"
I don't. I really don't expect anything from her. I thought I'd made that clear. It's a feeling that our lives are naturally quite different with naturally different priorities and as a result we're naturally drifting apart. Still doesn't make it easier.

Meeting up in the evenings is what I do with other friends but we obviously can't do this when she's 50 miles away. It turns into a whole day out and I'm not ready to leave DD for the day.

I wouldn't have wanted to be out with my friend and their babies when I didn't have any either so don't get me wrong I completely understand. Doesn't change the fact that meeting up has become an effort for both of us.

Thanks for your story wellascanbe. Inspires me to do the same and keep in touch in some way atleast.

lottapianos- I cam empathise with your friend here. It's so difficult to be flexible with a baby that needs to nap every 2 hours and gets grouchy if she doesn't or you get a rubbish sleep at night if she doesn't nap enough during the day.
Again, it's difficult to understand when you don't have children (no offence). I wouldn't have understood before I had children either. Unfortunately, a lot of it will be on your friend's terms because she'll be putting her child's needs first... and rightly so.

Lottapianos: really hope you get your friendship back on track at some point. I guess it's much easier to do children get older and us mums get some us time!

ScrambledEggAndToast Tue 30-Dec-14 10:05:32

Yes, I grew apart from a lot of my friends when I had DS but I was quite young (19) so whilst they were all out having fun I was having to be responsible and changing nappies. I have never really got properly close to most of them again whilst most of them have remained close due to all the shared experiences that I missed out on.

MrsPepperMintonCandyCane Tue 30-Dec-14 10:08:02

Maybe to keep the friendship on track you could a meet up once a month without your DD. It is good to have time just for yourself. You could meet in the middle and have a meal still and chat. Then as time passes and your DD grows it'll get easier.

ocelot7 Tue 30-Dec-14 11:09:17

I have been on both sides of this e.g. it can become irritating when a new mother talks nonstop about baby stuff (as if she is no longer a person in her own right)....& then you find yourself doing it! confused Actually you need another new mum for these conversations...
Celebrate the fact you have a lovely friend who doesn't see you primarily as a mother but as you always were...I'm sure you can empathise with each other's lives without have lived all the experiences...
Btw - yes babies are tiring & the sleepless nights unbearable and that's with a supportive partner...but nothing compared to being e.g. a fulltime working single parent - if you know anyone like that they may also think you have no idea how tough their life is...

ChaosK Tue 30-Dec-14 11:21:13

Hi, I've been there! My very good friend and I drifted apart (well, she ditched me!) when I had 2 small DSs. She was a wealthy SAHM with 1 child - and busy in her own way. I worked, had the children, little money etc etc.and no time to spare.
However, we recently met up again and have been seeing each other.My DS are teenagers which means I get a bit of freedom.
imo friendships drift in and out depending on circumstances. Good friendships can take the ups and downs and will be waiting for things to re-establish.

loafofbread Tue 30-Dec-14 11:33:09

Really like the idea of meeting half way once a month for a meal mrspepper. We can definitely do that and DH could look after DD for a few hours. Thanks for the idea. I guess it's finding a new way of spending time together... going to see them at their house just isnt do-able easily at the moment. But things will change in time.

Oce: I can only imagine life for a full time single parent is really really hard and I have nothing but sympathy and admiration... don't really see what that has to do with this though. Luckily I have a supportive partner but still, life changes with children.

It's hard to be anything but mum for me at the moment. I don't have anything interesting to say, I don't know what's going on in the news and I have no idea what song is at number 1, I also hate being away from DD. I'm relying on time to make things easier and to help me gain other interests again.

Thurlow Tue 30-Dec-14 11:41:05

Sadly, I think sometimes it's quite natural to drift apart from certain friends when you have DC. I had quite a few friends who, while I'd never have called them 'best' friends, I did see regularly for a few pints. But then we had a baby and it just wasn't possible to nip out for a few drinks and a gossip after work anymore. Some friendships suit certain points in your life, I think.

I agree about the comment re not having "anything interesting" to say. Your life changes so much and to friends without DC, or friends with much older DC who are starting to reclaim their freedom again, it must be hard to understand or to remember. But when you have young DC you just don't read as many books, watch as many films, catch up with as many friends, go to the theatre - all that jazz you might have chatted about before.

I'm still close to my oldest/closest friends, though there are occasionally a few hiccups. Sadly I have found that those who have young DC too are the most understanding about it sometimes being months between meeting up.

What I have found is that I've made new friends, though. Some of the other mums I met during mat leave have morphed into proper friends, though those friendships do have the benefit of you being able to waffle on about the DC for a while without boring them senseless grin

It's like any change in life, though. You leave uni, move town, move job - you lose old friends and gain new ones all the time, really.

If they are a good friend, however, I'd expect them to try and appreciate it if you explain to them that you do want to see them but logistically it's just not as easy anymore.

loafofbread Tue 30-Dec-14 11:52:12

Thanks for that chaos. Good bit of perspective. I guess it's what happens as life evolves. One day, I'll have more time and more interesting things to say again... I hope!

TheWindowDonkey Tue 30-Dec-14 11:52:16

This happened with several very close friends who also didnt have children. I was really sad about it for a long time and had written several of the friendships of keeping only in sporadic contact. Eventually pretty mich all of us have reconnectd once our lives came back into some sort of alignment again. They had kids or mine were older and more other-people friendly and we were able to do things together again.
I'm really pleased i didnt give up totally on these friendships, as they have proven as rich and valuable as ever.
Hang on in there is my advice.

Goingintohibernation Tue 30-Dec-14 13:22:41

You say you don't expect anything from her, but from your OP it looks very much like you do. You expect her to choose child friendly venues to meet, you expect her to make more effort to come to you to accommodate your babies schedule. You expect her to be happy meeting up with you DH and baby, whereas it looks like previously you would go and meet her on your own and stay overnight, you expect her to understand when you turn back because you are worried about the baby being out in fog.

I'm not saying that any of these expectations are unreasonable but I think you are kidding yourself if you think you are not expecting a lot from her to keep the friendship going. The real question is is it worth the effort for both of you?

morley19 Tue 30-Dec-14 14:01:38

I do think she perhaps could be a bit more accommodating but I do have to agree slightly with goingintohibernation - it does come across slightly like you are expecting a lot from her.

I have had friends who have children and then expect me to totally change my life/routine to fit round them and their children. It should be give and take on both sides. It is also slightly annoying when people refer to other people's life as being so 'easy' etc without children (you make a comment about her life being 'free and simple') - life struggles/being busy etc aren't limited to people with children.

I like Mrspepper's idea - try and meet in the middle somewhere for a meal once a month without the DC. Give you time just for the two of you. From a personal perspective, what would also help is if the conversation wasn't all about the DC too, and that you show a genuine interest in what is going on in her life too. I'm not saying you don't do this, you probably do but I have been on the receiving end of this, when someone has a child and all they took about is that

Hope you can get things back on track

SomethingOnce Tue 30-Dec-14 14:40:41

I'm always puzzled why some non-parents (are allowed to) find chat about parenting/DCs so dull and expect a limit on it, yet seem never to question whether the things they might want to talk about are intrinsically all that fascinating.

Why are the ins and outs of their romantic relationships more interesting than parents' relationships with their DC? Why are their pets' health problems more worthy of in depth discussion than the endless bugs of childhood? Why are the politics of their workplace/what happened on the away day in Birmingham more interesting than what goes down in the PTA?

Most stuff is pretty fucking boring, but we are interested because we care about our friends.

AbbeyBartlet Tue 30-Dec-14 14:52:58

I have been in your friend's position once.

As a result I find it easier to break off with friends when I find out they are pregnant as its easier all round.

MaebyF Tue 30-Dec-14 14:57:36

Me too, Something. I remember when I was pregnant and very sick a friend said to me that she didn't like me talking about either sickness or pregnancy because she didn't have any experience or interest in either topic confused

It was only afterwards that I thought I should have pointed out that I have no experience or interest in cars, for example, or cats. But when you're friends you try and take some sort of interest in what interests your friends. That's how both conversations and friendships work.

I do find it weird that quite a few people expect that parents shouldn't ever talk about their children. Obviously very few people want to hear a 10 minute presentation on what foods your 8 month old is starting to eat. But you can't exclude children complete either. What did you do last weekend? I went to the woods with my chil... Sorry, er, didn't do anything.

SomethingOnce Tue 30-Dec-14 15:01:49


Parents are obliged to edit until there's nothing left, and everyone else can bore on endlessly, including a 10-minute PowerPoint about Mr Tiddles' thyroid problem.

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