anyone have a hard time making friends since having kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-31-2011, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is just dawning on me now (6 years later) that I haven't made even one real friend since my daughter was born 6 years ago.  I have lots of acquaintances through my kids (6 and 3) and my old friends from college and single life though most of them live far away.  For some reason I can not really connect with new people.  I can have decent enough conversations and spend time together with my kids' friends' parents but it never turns into a friendship even though I feel like I try to be as friendly as I can.  I am a little bit crunchier than all the parents around me and I don't know if they think I am a little weird (ap, cloth diapering, vegetarian, not very materialistic relative to other parents around) but I think they are all a little weird by my standards and I don't hold that against them! lol.gif  So, there is that and then I also wonder if I just put so much emotional energy into my kids that maybe it interferes with relationship-building with adult friends.  Throughout my life I have always had several good close friends, so at least I use to have social skills but I do find myself feeling increasingly awkward in conversations and stuff because now I am analyzing my current lack of close friends.  Anyone btdt or have any suggestions?

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#2 of 14 Old 10-31-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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I am living the same scenario. I have always had long, close friendships lasting for many years. I still keep touch with a couple of my bffs from my prechildren life but no one lives even in the same state anymore. So on a day to day basis it gets rather lonely. I have built up a friend base from my miswife's other clients but it's just not the same. It has taken nearly four years for me to get close enough to these women (even though we are all very friendly) to talk in depth about things other than parenting/crunchy lifestyle stuff. This is the glue that binds us as a group and it has been difficult to dig deeper into the relationships... It's a weird, transitional stage of life I think. I also think that because I have so much going on emotionally with maintaining my marriage and kids that I am less able to invest myself in close friendships.

 

But I really miss having a bff. So I am just trying to expand my social network and pay closer attentions to the friendships. In the past I always homed in on a person of interest and, seemingly without effort, a lifelong friendship was made. Now it isn't so easy. I now try to pay more attention to cultivating all friendships (helping them move beyond the superficial "we are friends because our kids have playdates") in general after realizing that I was practically friendless!

 

Sorry I dont have much advice, but I do totally get what you are saying. It's tough.

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#3 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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I understand what you're saying, OP.  It is a time issue for me.  With family and work and all the stuff in between, I don't have a lot of time to nurture and maintain old friendships or to make new friends.  I would say that I have a lot of friends, people that I care about and that I would help when needed.  More than anything, though, I have become surprisingly close to some of my neighbors with young kids, mostly because of proximity and similar life issues.  I rarely go out and visit friends one on one, however.  Usually when we hook up with good friends, it is a family affair.

 

I know it is not a popular thing to say here, but my godsend in terms of staying in touch with good friends has been Facebook.  It is so cool to be able to communicate with longtime and newer friends through a media that allows me to keep tabs on how everyone is doing, the various activities of their kids and all the other stuff that I don't get to learn in real life either because of time constraints or distance.  For me it is a handy tool to stay in touch.  

 

The way I look at it is that this is a season of my life where my energies are directed at one thing more than the other.  One thing that helps me is to at least touch base with old or new friends in some capacity and let them know that I care (which I really do).  This may take the form of having someone over for dinner or scheduling an outing with them with the family.  It may be remembering their birthdays or baking something for them during the holidays.  Funny, but I have one dear friend who I rarely see but sometimes she'll just drop a card in the mail for me and it means the world to me (I know, I'm easy!).  I think there are small things one can do to reach out (even if it seems insignificant in the big picture) while you are focused primarily on your family.  


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#4 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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I understand OP, I feel the same way.  I have close friends but their kids are at very different stages so our schedules don't jive enough to be able to do things together, either with or without kids.

 

I work almost full time in a family business (which means "work" never really ends, for various reasons) and my DH works long hours.  By the time weekends roll around, DH wants to do things as a family.  If I said "sorry, moms and kids only for a day at the pumpkin patch" he would not be happy about that, at all.  He is the type that wants to do as many activities as possible with DS.  It seems like the moms I know that do a lot of stuff together with the kids have spouses that don't necessarily want to do the same type of activities.

 


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#5 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.  It is good to know I'm not the only one!  It helps to think of it as a "transitional stage of life" and that I won't be without close friends forever!  Like you, aurora_skys, I have always easily made a bff and that's what I miss - a bff (who lives nearby) who I feel totally comfortable with and close to.  I feel like parents of young children are sensitive and insular, I guess I am too in some way and I should just view my husband and kids as my bff for now :).  

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#6 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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I have made other "parent" friends since dd and ds came along, but what's happened several times is that initially we "clicked" over babywearing, nursing, cloth diapering, etc, but then the kids got older, we got back into our respective careers, and a) didn't have much time to get together and b) felt like we had less in common (now that our kids were out of the baby/toddler phase).

 

However, some of those friends have stuck as friends (a small percentage!).  And I'm lucky to have some great "old" friends (from high school) who have moved to the same city - and who also have kids around the same age(s) as mine.

 

It's definitely tough OP.  Our time and focus is so much on our kids, and (for me at least) when our kids are really little we can kind of "lose ourselves" for a bit.  I find my close friendships were either made before kids, or since my kids have gotten a bit older.  I've also recently re-connected with some of my child-less friends who I had lost touch with since having kids.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#7 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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I am in the same boat

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#8 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 07:00 PM
 
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I have had a few goes at friendship building in the last 9 years.

 

First round was fantastic. LLL friends, 3 of us were pregnant and first time moms together. One more mom joined us when she moved to town with her 6 month old. When DD was 2 we moved out of state.

 

Second round was a group of moms from library story time. We would hang at the park afterwards. There were birthday parties and outings. Things went well until preK age, then the group fell apart.

 

I've had a few friends through my DD's activities, but socio-economic stuff got in the way of taking it further than weekly meet ups while the kids took lessons (they were wealthy, I am not). One looked to be moving in a more lets hang out direction until she asked if I wanted to be her weekend nanny. When I said no the friendship abruptly ended. I guess she was grooming me, not friendship building.

 

I wonder if my son having down syndrome is a factor too. It's not like someone is going to say, "Your kid makes me too uncomfortable to be good friends." you know? He's only 4 so this would be a recent thing.

 

In the last year, I have not really had time to friendship build outside of facebook. DS was diagnosed with cancer last year (doing great! full remission!) so medical stuff has put a damper on casual hanging out looking for mom friends. It's getting less intense now, so there is hope. I've met a few friend-of-a-friend type folks on facebook and we've been building up a friendships and are talking about getting our kids together. We share similar stuff, a child with Ds, medical stuff, (soon to be) 3 kids, similar values, similar socio-economic status. I'm looking forward to an in person friendship blossoming in the near future.

 

I would be lost without my old, long distance mom friends on facebook.


One happy momma joy.gif to a very spirited little girl dust.gif, her tough little brother superhero.gif, and a happy little suprise late April 2012 stork-suprise.gif. Wife to an overworked and under paid husband geek.gif.

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#9 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Me too. I've had a few play dates, which at my children's ages are more for me than for them redface.gif, but friendships never come out of them. I feel like I'm doing something wrong because I never hear back from the other moms. I don't want to keep contacting them and seem pushy. So, I'm not really sure how to make friends, either. confused.gif


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#10 of 14 Old 11-02-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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even if i had the social outlets in place to make new friends, i don't know that i would be able to appropriately maintain them.  i barely get to hang out with my dh and god forbid i get to indulge in a hobby or finish a book. 

is it really sad that i feel like (and i am being totally honest here) i would rather have some alone time than spend time with other people if i had a choice & a chance (which i don't)?  unless it was like a stitch and bitch group or something.  i love my friends and miss having a social life but i REALLY, intensely miss just fiddling around in the woods, sewing and making stuff, and reading more than any conversation. 

i don't have time to pay attention or spend time with the friends i do have, either.  like cat's cradle, my options are email and playing on facebook, but i am sure one day that will all change. 


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#11 of 14 Old 11-26-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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Yes.  As if I'm not socially awkard enough..

I'm 21.  My kids are 2 and 4 next month.  Older mamas (even those in their late 20s!) shun me, and a lot of the younger ones I see around here are the ghetto gangbanger type and/or have different parenting views, so we don't really mesh.  And friends my age? fuhgettaboutit.  I have two friends that I've known for a long time, and even we have fallen off.

 

Really though, my job is my social life.  I work for a photography company with college kids.  It's fun :)


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#12 of 14 Old 11-27-2011, 07:49 PM
 
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For me things got a lot harder when I got together with my dh.  I think a lot of it was that I didn't *need* friends the same way because I got a lot of support and socializing from him and then it's also hard because there's more than one of us in the package  --  my friends don't have to spend a whole lot of time with hubby if they don't want to, but it's more fun and a nicer easier situation if my husband likes them and their partner and vice versa.  I actually used to have some very close friends that I met through kid stuff, but their husbands were not people that dh or I would likely end up hanging out with otherwise and I'm sure they and their husbands felt the same.  Even though the wives were very close, the husbands were all in different universes.  There's also the problem that dh thinks all of the people I like are crazy.  He's right, though.  I'm definitely attracted to crazy.  I just don't see that as a negative, for the most part.  I do wish that we had some close friends, though.  I have been thinking lately about how when I was a kid you'd hear the phrase "friends of the family," and I'd like to have some of those for my sake and for my kids' sakes. 


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#13 of 14 Old 11-28-2011, 05:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

I understand OP, I feel the same way.  I have close friends but their kids are at very different stages so our schedules don't jive enough to be able to do things together, either with or without kids.

I work almost full time in a family business (which means "work" never really ends, for various reasons) and my DH works long hours.  By the time weekends roll around, DH wants to do things as a family.  If I said "sorry, moms and kids only for a day at the pumpkin patch" he would not be happy about that, at all.  He is the type that wants to do as many activities as possible with DS.  It seems like the moms I know that do a lot of stuff together with the kids have spouses that don't necessarily want to do the same type of activities.

Weekend activities around here are virtually always family events and even during the week DH goes to lots of "mom's group" events with me. Having him present allows us to spend time together as a family AND with friends (old or new). And the bonus is, often DH will be off playing with & entertaining DS (who otherwise would be constantly vying for my attention, even with other kids around), so I finally get a chance to TALK to my friends and get to know each other better. Most of my friends have spouses that work long hours and so DH is almost always the only dad at our activities but no one minds at all, and all the dads have a great time when others do manage to come. So I just wanted to share that in case you'd like to consider bringing your DH...

I do have friends, finally... I didn't before DS was born, but now I have an amazing group plus a few really close friends. I found I had to get out A LOT... maybe other people can form friendships during once-a-month playdates, but not me, I need to put myself out there several times a week, which means we are out a lot but that works well for us anyway. Another thing that helps is mom's nights, we don't do this often but being able to just get together WITHOUT kids, with people you are already close to or want to be closer to, makes a big difference, everyone is a lot more open and relaxed and we can get to know each other better. Family gatherings are almost as effective, since there is a higher adult-to-child ratio, but like I said, hard to arrange since lots of the spouses work a lot.

Just start inviting people over. One-on-one playdates are great if there is someone you already have started to click with, but a small group is better if you aren't sure who to invite.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#14 of 14 Old 11-29-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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Quote:
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Weekend activities around here are virtually always family events and even during the week DH goes to lots of "mom's group" events with me. Having him present allows us to spend time together as a family AND with friends (old or new). And the bonus is, often DH will be off playing with & entertaining DS (who otherwise would be constantly vying for my attention, even with other kids around), so I finally get a chance to TALK to my friends and get to know each other better. Most of my friends have spouses that work long hours and so DH is almost always the only dad at our activities but no one minds at all, and all the dads have a great time when others do manage to come. So I just wanted to share that in case you'd like to consider bringing your DH...
 

This is great food for thought for me because as I am thinking about the women that typially organize and participate in the events I could attend, they are the type that want it to be a moms-kids only thing.  I think because they have clearly defined roles within their families (dads work hard and hunt and fish hard all season long) and might be uncomfortable with thinking outside their boxes, so to speak.   Makes me think I may need to look further afield for more accepting circles.

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