Does Motherhood Change True Friendship?

Does Motherhood Change True Friendship?
2 August 2016

How much do you think motherhood changes your friendships?

This was a topic of discussion in the Playpennies office recently. As one of the first of my social circle to have a baby, I have to agree that becoming a mum drastically changed the dynamic and nature of some of my friendships. Some of my closest mates just couldn't really grasp how badly I was affected by sleep deprivation and new mum angst and, equally, I just couldn't be the drop-everything-for-a-glass-of-wine-and-a-natter mate that they expected me to be.

But, that said, I still don't think the divide between mums and non-mums is that big a deal when it comes to true friendships. Yes, the first time a friend (or family member, for the matter) remarks about how tired they are it IS pretty difficult not to lose the head of yourself and end up reading them the riot act about what tiredness really feels like. And that rarely goes well, no matter how good the friendship.

And yes, friendships naturally change after you have a baby and you have to navigate the 'new normal' in lots of your relationships. But I think we're all tired of feeling like women are constantly being pitted against one another, and the Mum vs Non-mum battle strikes me as just more of that energy-wasting rhetoric that none of us can really be bothered with.

In many ways I value my child-free friends even more now than I did before I became a mum. They are the ones, more so than my mum-friends, who can swoop in and lavish their energy and attention on my kids when I can barely pick myself up off the floor. And when I'm finally able to pull myself together for an evening out, they're the ones who can chat to me all night long about whether I'm too old to fancy Justin Bieber, without once making me feel like a mumsy frump.

I don't buy the notion, as seems to do the rounds on mummy blogs from time to time, that women without kids somehow have magically easy lives compared to those of us with kids, either.

In fact, one of the things I most love about motherhood is how much it's toughened me up. Yes, a child-free hangover-sufferer can lounge in bed all day while I have to soldier on as normal if I've had one too many glasses of Prosecco - AND contend with Cheerios being shoved up my nose at 5am even if I only fell into bed a couple of hours earlier and was up pacing the floor with a sleepless tot in between.

But I didn't leave my right to a social life on the floor of the delivery room - I was out with friends on the fizz till midnight earlier this week and then up with the lark to take my kids to appointments the next morning at 9am. I don't want a medal for that - I get that it's the just unremarkable business of being a mum, but my point is that the pre-kids version of me wasn't half that resilient. So I don't think my lot in life is necessarily harder than that of my friends without kids . In some ways I'd say life is oddly easier when you have kids because it naturally demands that you take so much more in your stride.

But we'd love to hear your views on how motherhood has changed or affected your friendships. Are you closer to child-free friends since your baby came along, or do you think there IS a divide between friends once there are children in the equation? Have your say by leaving a comment below, or join the conversation over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents


  • Hazel T.

    I haven't noticed any difference in the child free friends that count. If they really are your friends then nothing should change x

  • Maria E.

    Think it does bring people closer and you have something in common. X

  • Sarah R.

    Definite divide between friends once one has children. My friend group has changed - to friends with children. We just have more in common and understand each other's lives.

  • Helene W.

    Friendship changes and grows with whatever you have got going on in your life.

    • FoodForThought


  • Becca R.

    They are no longer my friends :joy:

  • Pregprobsandme

    unfortunately I've lost a number of friends since having my baby, but, like the article states they obviously weren't real friends! 

    My remaining two child free friends have been amazing! 

  • Alison S.

    True friends stay close through all kinds of changes. They have to put up with your new priorities and you have to make an effort to realise your kids arent the center of everyones universe, just your.

  • FoodForThought

    This article unfortunately seems to focus mainly on change of friendships between Mothers and Non-Mothers? Which of course can be the case, but there needs to be other examples here! 

    For instance, what about the change of friendship dynamic between other Mums/Dads???

    Such as when you have a friend that is already a Mum/Dad and then a couple of years later, you may become a Mum/Dad? 

    I know many Women/Men that feel their friendships changed, some for the better and some for the worse. 

    Competitiveness seems to be rife between Mothers and Fathers these days - Women and Men should really try and support each other, rather than compete with each other! 

    Anyway, that's my two pence worth, some food for thought in this crazy world of social media parenting (a.k.a. BRAGGING!)...! Peace out :)

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