Over time friendships change. Whether one of you gets a new job, moves a few thousand miles away, or gets a new partner, things tend to shift ever so slightly. But one of the biggest changes you'll both go through is when one of you starts a family. Suddenly that person who you used to go out with on a Friday night, dance until your feet bled, and downed shot after shot of tequila is now up to their eyes in nappies, baby-grows and breast pumps. So, of course, it doesn't take a genius to work out that, of course, your friendship is going to go through a bit of upheaval.

However, as much as you may wonder whether your friendship can survive this massive change I can assure you that with a litttle extra effort, you can maintain your friendship. I know this because over the last few years more and more of my friends have had children, and although at times it can be hard to navigate the ever changing dynamics of this almost new friendship it is possible... Even if your maternal instincts are limited purely to puppies.

Therefore I thought I'd share a few tips on how to maintain a relationship with your favourite people... And their little people.

Change your expectations

This is the most important change you'll make. If you expect your friend to carry on with their past life before they were a parent then you're going to be disappointed. They will be tired (word of advice. Don't mention that the bags under their eyes are the size of saucers - new parents do not like this!), probably more than a little bit skint, and they will be all consumed with their new baby. If you expect them to be able to drop everything to drink wine in your favourite bar then you're going to be in for a let down. 

However, that doesn't mean you can't still see each other. Instead you just need to change your exceptions, mainly so you both don't become resentful of one another. For example, how about suggesting that you bring the dinner, or drinks round to their house? Or order a slap up take away when the kids are in bed? Or simply suggest you make the pot of tea? A small gesture on your part will make the world of difference to them and in turn will mean you still get to share quality time with them. Plus, lets not forget that by doing this you're going to save a shed load of cash. You know what that means? You get to fill up your basket at asos... Always look on the bright side!

Remember they miss you

This isn't just one sided you know. Your friend with children misses you as much as you miss them. Just because they may not be as available any more (because of nurturing that poo'ing, screaming, delicious smelling tiny little human 24/7) doesn't mean they don't miss you, their old life, or their free time (I hear it's quite a novelty to even go to the loo on your own..). They didn't stop caring about you as soon as they had a baby, its just that they're now giving their all to that new demanding little person in their life. Therefore asking them to resume to their old way of life is unreasonable on your part. They're trying their best to figure out the minefield that being a parent is so although you may be forgotten a little bit along the way, remember you are still loved and very much missed!

Be flexible and understanding

Children aren't the most predictable of things. They get sick, they may hate being left with someone else, and they may fall asleep at random times leading to cancelled plans. Be understanding of these difficulties, and do your best to be accommodating. Yes, it can be really frustrating, especially if you've been looking forward to having a rant with your best friend all week, but there will be another time you can arrange to see them. And trust me, if you lay the guilt treatment on and force your friend to still come out with you then they will only be distracted worrying about their baby meaning it won't be as fun anyway. 

Spend time with their children

The most important person to your friend right now and forever more will be their child. So, it will mean the world to her/him if you immerse yourself in their child's life. Suggest days out together, go round in the day and not just when the kids are in bed, and play with their kids. Even if the thought of spending time with little humans turns you into a quivering wreck (ever had a newborn baby thrust upon you with their scarily fragile wobbly head?), the truth is that if you want to have a long lasting connection with your friend, it will help for you to be involved in this part of his or her life.

Remember it gets easier

At the beginning you may both feel like your lives are now completely different and wonder whether you have anything left in common. But remember with time, things get a lot easier. Your friend will eventually get into their own routine and you will soon get used to having little Jimmy or Jack along for the ride. And let's not forget kids grow up. They will not always be surgically attached to their parents, will not always be damaged if you accidentally drop them from a great height, and they will eventually go to nursery and school. You know what that means? More time for each other!

Have many of your friends had children yet? How did you take it? Did you panic a little about your friendship when you heard the news that your friend was expecting? The main thing to remember is that your friend is still your friend, and also, more importantly, that their child is a great excuse to raid Toys R Us, jump on a trampoline and suggest you go on a joint holiday to Disney World.

Oh, and remember wherever there is a child there are snacks. Lots of snacks. Normally Pom Bear crisps or chicken nuggets. All of this with the added bonus that you’re not obligated to change a single nappy. See, it's not all bad, is it?

Love, Becky x

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