Your Kids Will Determine Some of Your Mom Friendships, Sorry, Not Sorry

With parenthood being so all-consuming, it isn't surprising to see that in many families, kids determine who their parents hang out with. Barring a huge babysitting budget, your kids will be with you often, and as they join sports teams and choose activities, it is only natural that you would befriend the parents of their friends since you will all be together anyway. This also means things can get awkward if your friend's child and your own stop getting along or don't want to hang out anymore. Do you remain friends with that mom, or move on?


A mom wrote to the Boston Globe about an awkward situation involving her son and the child of a good friend. She says, "Some of my closest friendships in recent years have been with the parents of my young children’s friends. But my son has drifted away from one boy, and lately that’s driven a wedge between me and the boy’s mom. How am I supposed to juggle my friendships with my parenting?"

That is a tough question and one that will arise for all parents of school-age children throughout the years. The advice columnists both agree that kids will at least partially dictate who you're friends with. It is something you can hardly help, as you will be with your children so frequently, it's only natural that you would be friends with the parents of their friends by default. It is, however, more difficult to maintain a friendship with a parent you've grown close to if the kids decide to part ways. Having kids usually means you're busy, and a built-in friendship with the parents you will be seeing at every practice, game, and recital can make things a lot simpler.

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Mom friendships truly evolve as your kids grow older. As the columnists note, you start off with playgroups and your baby or toddler is too little to dictate who they hang out with, so it's more your choice. It's when they grow older and start being more selective with who they are friends with that you notice your own social life being affected. As much as you want to think that your child won't sway who you spend time with, it is practically inevitable that they will. Between a lack of free time to pursue your own friendships and not wanting things to be uncomfortable if your child doesn't get along with your friend's child, you will see things change over the years.

I speak from experience as the mother of a third-grade girl and first-grade boy. When they were babies, I was able to join mom groups and make friends on my own terms. I am still friends with some of those mothers now and our kids all like to hang out for the most part, but recently, I've noticed some friction between my son and the son of one of my first mom friends. We have been friends now for almost eight years and it's strong enough that our kids call us aunts and we spend a lot of holidays together. I know we would be friends no matter what, but I can see where things could get a bit more difficult if our sons have a true conflict and our family get-togethers become a bit more complicated. We would still hang out, but the frequency may lessen as no one wants to listen to kids arguing the whole time during a family barbecue. 

Of course, you are an adult and you call the shots. No one is denying that. However, when it comes down to it, it is simply easier to be friends with the parents of the kids your child enjoys hanging out with. Everyone is happy. If the friendship is strong enough, it won't be completely killed by your kids' not getting along, but it is certainly easier if they do. It's just one more way that parenting changes your life, and apparently, your social circle.


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