The results of a private poll are in. And the results paint a picture that is not all sweetness and light and fairy tales. Loneliness and isolation are common themes for new parents that are not often talked about. A lot of new parents feel alone in their role but they are too shy or embarrassed to talk about it. Nobody wants to admit that they are short on friends. It’s like a bad high school drama all over again – except with no benevolent student-teacher to intervene. One stay at home dad even confided that he felt like he was experiencing Stockholm syndrome on his more extreme days.
A lot of parents find it hard to go to parenting groups for fear of the ‘clicks’ that might already exist and an inability to break through them. This can be an alarming contrast to the much more social aspects of their previous lives as free-and-easy-people without children, nappy bags, nap times, early bed times and sleepless nights.
Pre-baby: one can go out freely, one can do what they want when they want, finances are different and evenings are free. Most importantly, before having children, having friends over and having easy adult company to socialise with on a regular basis was probably a lot more accessible.
But we can’t just blame the babies. There are several reasons for changes in friendships including (but not limited to):
- Location/geography (people move to new cities and towns often back to their support centres)
- Perceived lack of common ground (everyone with kids would have noticed the sudden gap between them and their childless friends but this doesn’t have to be the case)
- parenting philosophies/styles
- work requirements
- lack of time/motivation/preciousness of weekend life (no time for friends as family take priority)
- social life with children can be dictated by their play friends and peers
BUT – these reasons don’t have to be terminal for your friendship.
If you haven’t called a friend with young children in a while, maybe now is the time and, if you still have your freedom, why don’t you use it to visit them?
- They might miss your friendship
- They might be lacking in adult company
- They could be craving non-baby conversation
- You might have things in common that you have forgotten about
- It might be the start of a new and better friendship.
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