Friday, 5 September 2014

Do friends and babies mix?

This is for all my lovely friends, near and far - I love you! 

Things change when you have a baby. Your body, - mostly if you are a woman, but sympathy weight-gain amongst men is not unknown :) - what you think about, your priorities, and how you spend your time. 

You tell yourself and your friends that you will not, that you will go on as before. You will not turn into a child-obsessed monster who does not leave the house, avoids all additional noise when the little one is sleeping, can't imagine leaving your child's side and can't talk about anything aside from the ever-so-cute 'dada' noise your child made the other day. 

And mostly you will not. Have you met anyone like this before? I think these extremes exist mostly in peoples' minds, serving as yet another thing to pressure ourselves with.

I believe firmly that people who turn parents stay the same. Having children does not change your taste in music, the people you click with, the interests you pursue. But change your life will, even if underneath it all, you are still the same-old-you, who loves to end a busy day at the office with a good glass of wine and a natter with Hubby and friends.

Before Baby arrived one of my best friends made me promise not to turn into a child-obsessed monster. It was good that she did. Not that there was any real danger, but because it made clear to me that she valued our friendship. 

I have been told I am a pretty laid-back Mom: when Baby was six months, I went to a friends Tupperware party and left Baby with Hubby, to the great surprise of many there. (Someday someone will explain to me why this is so surprising.) Baby comes on almost all my outings with me during the day, including physio and doctor's appointments, and I have been known to enjoy the odd girly night out, so that the two boys can do some bonding on their own. 

Nevertheless, my and our lives have changed. Not in an entirely unexpected way: when we go out together, we prefer to go to those of our old haunts which allow a buggy to be accommodated near the table or have high-chairs, a significant part of our free-time is spent in activities that we can enjoy with Baby like playgroups or baby swimming, we have decided to travel less than we used to because lugging all the baby paraphernalia around the world is not our idea of fun, and, of course, we consider Baby when we make plans and in our daily routine, if you can call it that. 

Some of these activities lead to a fuller calendar than one might have anticipated, being at home with a little one. Combined with the fact that our friends are, as we were and will be again, very busy people with jobs, this can lead to some really dry periods when it comes to a natter amongst friends. 

Also, there are new people in our lives to consider - next to Baby of course: new friends from playgroups, pre-natal or post-natal courses, other Mommies and playfriends of Baby's. Not to forget the increased desire and frequency to/of visiting by the extended family. I think Baby's grandparents have some secret means of communication; somehow their visits seem to mysteriously bundle in the same time periods. 

In addition, there is one of the hardest aspects of being an Expat Mom, namely that on top of many of your local friends being busy, many others, sometimes the ones you really want to chat to, are too far away to just pop by. Even skype can be tricky if the line does not work, and these chats are, of course, subject to the same scheduling issues as any local friendship would be. 

Hardest of all though is the unavoidable feeling of guilt and commiseration that we have been granted this happiness and knowing how dearly some of our friends wish for the same. I dread the day when we will have to tell them that the second child we wish for might be on its way. I know they will be happy for us, but I can't imagine what they are going through, and I know I'm probably the wrong person to be there for them during this hard time. I know they will all be wonderful parents and we appreciate any time they can spend with us. 

For all my friends out there: know that for us, friends and babies will always mix, we love you and miss you. We are here, whenever you need us and look forward to seeing you, any time all of us can manage it. 



PS: Dieses Post ist für unsere Freunde, die wir alle furchtbar lieb haben.


  1. I totally agree. Having kids shouldn't change your social life. Sure it alters it but no matter how obsessed we get about our kids, we can still maintain social lives as mums. Lol@bonding. My sis uses that excuse a lot when leaving the kids to hang out. "They should bond with their dad". Or "Aunty J, bond with your nieces n nephews"!

  2. Sounds like your sister has got it right! Thank you for your lovely, supportive comment!