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Have you ever thought about the person you used to be before you became a parent?
Sometimes when I’m sitting on the couch watching a show about college life or walking past a restaurant in the evening as friends gather for some weeknight revelry (as I head to bed at 8pm)–I get glimpses of the life I used to live.
In many ways, my life now is fuller, richer and filled with laughter. But with all the changes that arise as a result of parenthood, the one thing I wasn’t fully prepared for was how my friendships would change.
So if you are a new parent navigating through the seasons of change of your friendships–I’m going to show you that you are not alone. And if you are not a parent, but are friends with those who are, I’m going to give you some insight into their world.
Here are 3 ways my friendships completely changed when I became a parent:
1. My texting game is much stronger
Gone are the days of long, drawn out evening conversations on the couch. That’s almost impossible with a child who deserves your attention. Now one of those evening conversations happens over several days through texting. It’s the only time I can find between work and nap times. Sometimes if our schedules align, I feel lucky to have a real phone conversation with a friend during my evening commute back home.
The conversations may not happen in the same way, but I’m grateful that we can still have them.
2. I prefer brunching over partying
A typical weekend before kids would involve brunch in the morning, shopping in the afternoon and then going out at night. Hanging out with friends could be an all day affair.
But when you are a working parent, your weekend time is a precious commodity. You want to spend so much of it with your child and you also want to balance it with your friends.
Hanging out with friends can’t be a whole day affair anymore but you know what works really well? Brunch.
Not only can brunch be timed closer to nap time so that your spouse/partner can watch your child and you won’t be missing out on quality time with the little one–but it’s also the perfect amount of time to share stories and catch up.
I’ve found that as a parent, I much prefer time spent in meaningful conversation than time spent partying at a club. At this time in life, when I have to pick one or the other, I prefer brunching over partying.
3. I found my #squadgoals
I’m going to be completely honest here. Every parent at some point during parenthood has a moment when they miss the carefree person they used to be. Not that we don’t love being parents—my daughter is the light of my life–but when you spend so much of your life filling up the well of another, you sometimes forget to fill your own.
A couple of months ago, as I was driving home from working on the weekend, my mind started to race in the car. I was completely exhausted from working all the time and along with responsibilities at home–I started to miss those carefree days when I lived for weekend adventures and after work happy hours.
Amidst tears, I called a college friend, someone I have known for more than 15 years. After hearing the pain in my voice, she walked away from her own weekend brunch to talk to me.
Although she is not a parent yet, she sat beside me with my feelings. She gently reminded me of all the times I so desperately wanted to be a parent and about how blessed I was to have a healthy and joyful child. She told me that the carefree, fun person I used to be had never really left–that she sees that person in our silly conversations and in the ways I laugh and play with my daughter. One by one, she highlighted all the qualities that made me come alive and vibrant.
This is what a good friend does: she sits beside you in your darkness and reminds you of your light.
Everywhere on instagram and twitter I see this hashtag pop up called #squadgoals. Usually it’s people posting pictures of themselves with fabulous friends doing fabulous things.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that while my younger years were filled with having many friends and being ‘popular’, my friendships after parenthood are much more curated and carefully selected. Because time is limited now, I chose to spend it only with those who bring positivity and joy into my life.
My squad now is better than ever before. It’s much smaller and the time I spend with them is meaningful and filled with good intentions. Our shared goal is to lift each other up.
So yes, I do sometimes think about the person I used to be before I became a parent–but the person I am now is exactly who I want to be, spending time with the those I have always wanted to ride beside me.