The way I see it, there are a few friendship fizzling high risk situations:
1) You become a mama: Many report that their friendships with single/childless girlfriends suffer. Mama feels they don’t understand why she doesn’t want to ditch the kid to go dancing every weekend. This has not actually been my experience. My single friends have shown extreme interest and understanding when it comes to my kids. And I am equally keen to hear their Sex in the City lifestyle stories.
2) You have a child with a disability: Hate to say it, but mamas of kids with disabilities get ditched. I’ll explain why it happens in the autism world: you have a friend who brings her 3-year-old over for weekly playdates. Her kid can’t talk, has meltdowns for “no reason”, maybe he’s a bit aggressive, doesn’t relate to the other kids there and his behaviour is disruptive. The mama host thinks “Hmmm…this playdate would go much more smoothly if that kid with the problems doesn’t come”. The playdate invitations stop.
3) You constantly bail on plans: When you regularly drop out of social plans at the last minute, eventually your friends will stop inviting you. I generally don’t accept invitations in the first place because of my bailing stats. But, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate receiving a low pressure “turn up if you can swing it” invitation. It makes me feel that I have not been forgotten, and also that there is some understanding about my situation.
4) You become a Mama of Many: Right around the birth of your fourth child, families you normally socialize with suddenly stop inviting you over. Who can blame them – your family takes up their whole house.
How have your friendships survived? What are the biggest friendship hurdles you’ve encountered in your mama life? Are you still close with the friends you had pre-kids, or did you shake it up socially when you hit the mama scene?
Julie Cole is the co-founding vice-president of award-winning children's label manufacturer Mabel's Labels. She’s helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular contributor to HLN's Raising America, an influential and syndicated blogger and a mother of six.