This Is What Friendship Looks Like After Kids

by Joanna McClanahan
Originally Published: 

They say there is a reason and a season for every friendship.

The season after you have kids is a complicated one. As families grow, children take up most of our time and energy. The small amount of kid-free time we get is usually spent nurturing our romantic relationships, or stealing some much-needed time away for ourselves.

It’s hard to make time for our friends on top of everything else. The irony is that, once you have kids, friendship becomes that much more important. We all need someone we can text in the middle of the night when we feel we’re at our breaking point. We all deserve a group of friends who support us, encourage us, and make us laugh our asses off.

If you want your friendship to last even when one (or both) of you have kids, it’s important to be:

1. Thoughtful

A good friend will come visit you after your baby is born. A great friend will come over with food (in a container they don’t expect back), walk your dog, and ask when the baby will be old enough for them to babysit. Friends should think of each other’s best interest and act on it.

2. Good Listeners

We all need someone to vent to and bounce ideas off of. Friends should listen to what you have to say, not just wait for their turn to talk. Even if you’re just commiserating about your birth story for the 10th time, friends should want to listen.

3. Understanding

Great friends also recognize the chaos of raising kids. They’re fine with communicating through texts or late night emails. They won’t give you grief when you flake out—no matter how many times it happens. Friends get that you don’t have to hang out or talk all the time to still be friends.

4. Dependable

I know I just said that friends don’t have to be together all the time, but good friends are there for you when you need them most. Sometimes our worlds fall apart, and we need help putting things back together. Friends know when you need them and will drop what they’re doing to help.

5. Helpful

One time, my two girlfriends came over to watch the kids for me. My husband was at work so I went to the movies by myself for a break (where I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone for two glorious hours). When I came back, the kids were happy, and my friends had cleaned my house. I tried to give them money for watching the kids but they refused it. They just wanted to help, because they are awesome friends.

6. Open-Minded

You can tell your friends anything without being worried that they’ll judge you. You can tell them about how you hid in the pantry with a bottle of wine just to escape for five minutes. Friends should love you enough to support you regardless. Great friends will bring you more wine.

7. Honest

Friends will tell you how it is, but never be critical just for the sake of being critical. They keep it real, and you will all respect one another that much more for it. Genuine people are the best people.

8. Trustworthy

I think this is especially true for people with kids. If there’s not complete trust, then that friendship is doomed.

9. Fun!

Life is hard enough as it is. Friends should make you smile and make you laugh. Sure, there will be times you need to cry together, but for the most part friendship should be drama-free. The friendships that last are the ones that make you pee your pants from laughing (and after you have kids, there’s a much greater possibility of that happening).

Friends are the people we reach out to when life gets tough. They look out for us and are there when we need advice. They build us up and get genuinely excited about our accomplishments.

Good friends are exactly what every parent needs. Great friends are around forever, no matter how many kids you have.

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