Help, my girlfriends have kids now – family

Rarely ever sleeps: Babies turn everything upside down. Also close friendships. How can young parents and those without children get through the turbulent early days together — and stay connected?

When our lives change, so do friendships. Friends often don’t get their full attention from the beginning of their careers and their first serious relationships. But the change becomes especially drastic when children are added.

Gone are the hours of phone calls, nights of roaming the streets together, and impromptu meetings. What matters to parents now is that the little one is doing well.

Felicitas Heine is a psychologist and author from Heidelberg. She knows that it is difficult for a childless woman to realize how dramatic this “landslide” is. “A newborn does not leave any area of ​​life the same. There is not only a shift in interests and energy, but there is also a shift in paradigm.

As a new mom, you’re suddenly focused on another little one around the clock, says Heine. There isn’t even time for yourself, how about a girlfriend or boyfriend?

Anger is of no use

Horst Heidebrink says the childless part is particularly upset because this is the case. As a psychologist, he has dealt with the topic of friendship for several decades and says, “New parents lose friendships somewhat because they are too busy with the child.” Then childless children lack the emotional closeness they are accustomed to from friendship.

But: “It’s normal for life to change, for other priorities to emerge, and for close friendships to end,” says Wolfgang Krueger, a Berlin-based psychologist and author. If you react uneasy here, it will be somewhat stressful. “We have to accept that as friends we sometimes take second place and that life is not all about us.”

Allow friends to participate in family life

If it’s a close friendship, sometimes you have to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, Felicitas Heine advises. There are at least ways to continue to maintain close friendships. Just maybe not as sharp in terms of time. However, parents are advised to involve close friends in particular. Then they no longer feel neglected or useless.

Wolfgang Krüger advises new parents to make agreements with their partners so that they can “retire at least once every 14 days”, for example to make phone calls peacefully or meet other people. Otherwise, the following applies: “You have to adapt the relationship with friends to new conditions, for example, invite your girlfriend to you so that you can participate in family life.”

According to Felicitas Heyne, it is also a good idea to show understanding for the condition of a childless girlfriend or friend. You can choose sentences such as: “I can imagine it’s not all that exciting to you now, but it’s growing up and it’s going to be different again.” Or, “I can’t give you the kind of attention I like right now. But please don’t assume I don’t care about you.”

Preparedness to adapt is important

And what better way for a childless friend to act without jeopardizing the friendship — or causing stress for the young mother?

The psychologists interviewed are sure that the child’s insistence on the friendship that existed before life changed completely is wrong. Horst Heidebrink thinks it makes sense to remember what we used to do together. And ask if there is no way to do this. But no one can expect parents to put their children behind. “I have to take that into account!”

Asking a girlfriend or boyfriend to take the same amount of time for friendship as before can backfire, says Felicitas Heine. “Good friendships are characterized by an understanding of such situations.” But you can already say what you missed and formulate your needs, says Heine. “I wish I…” is a sentence you can always say.

The magic word is interest

It is also advisable to display the ability to take care of the child, says Wolfgang Krueger. “Then you have a common theme.” In order for the friendship to survive despite major changes, it is also necessary to have a great willingness to adapt. “And the childless friend needs to know how stressful her friend’s life can be sometimes.”

From the magic words of psychologist Krueger: interest. “About children, about pedagogical problems, in general about the life of another.” Then, as a childless friend, you may become a lifelong companion.

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