In the Media – Chicago Tribune – Friendship and the Kid Factor

Published: April 9, 2010 | Last Updated: December 13, 2016 By | Reply Continue Reading

Adult friendships can change when friends have a kid. How to salvage your relationships.

By Heidi Stevens, Tribune Newspapers
April 8, 2010

Krista Rogers still remembers the day, six years ago, when her friend, Felicia, told her she was going to have a baby – and she wouldn’t let it change their friendship.

“I remember sitting on the floor of her living room and in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think, one: impossible, and two: it was just fear of change and her raging hormones speaking,” Rogers, 38, says.

Kids can do a number on friendships – eating up the time previously reserved for lengthy phone calls, girls’ night out, basketball with the guys. When a circle of friends starts having kids around the same time, the pals tend to give each other a pass. But when one friend has kids and the other doesn’t, the dynamics of that friendship get trickier.

“I realize all relationships are work, but friends with kids are on a whole other level,” says Rogers, an assistant vice president at a Manhattan real estate firm. “Both people in the relationship have got to want to work at it equally. I am sad to say most of my friendships have faded when kids have entered the picture.”

The time differential is the most obvious challenge. The child-rearing friend and the child-free friend are likely both busy, but often at opposite times of the day: 8 p.m. for one friend means winding down homework and gearing up for bedtime, while the other friend may just be heading out for dinner. For parents, weekends are a time to reconnect with their kids after a week of school and work. For non-parents, weekends are for hanging with pals.

But schedules are only part of it. Previously inseparable friends often start to feel like they live on different planets. Your buddy wants to fill you in on his latest dating conquests, and you’re lucky to schedule “date night” once every few months.

The key is owning up to those feelings, say experts. Admit – early and often – that the friendship has changed, possibly forever, but that doesn’t mean it has to end.

“No relationship is perfect and neither are friendships,” says Irene S. Levine, author of “Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend” (Overlook Press). “Kids are always a challenge that upsets the balance, but if you talk about it you can often work it out.”

Levine says to focus on the things you still have in common, whether it’s where you grew up, where you work or a shared hobby. “The more ties people have, the closer they remain usually,” Levine says. “If the friendship was tenuous to start with, the baby could be the Achilles heel that kills it.”

Read the entire article in the Chicago Tribune.

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