How Friendships Change When You Become a Parent and What to do about it

For my entire life, I have valued relationships deeply. I’ve had life-long childhood friends I’ve kept in contact with, college friends who I did most of my personal growth with, graduate school friends I’ve commiserated with, work friends, friends to drink beer with, and above-all else—new mom friends that understand the struggles I experience in a way that I perhaps thought my former friends could not.

None of these friends receive(d) equal time from me. Instead, I found myself wandering between friendships because each one gave me something I needed in a moment of time.

Something shifted recently and that has all changed. A friend I cherish the most reached out and said he felt like I had cut him out of my life.

Did I?

Through the process of becoming a mother, balancing being a supportive wife, and hard working employee, I had unintentionally cut him out of my life.

Which is to say my precious time was spent for me instead of by me.

Instead of meaningfully choosing what I did with my time, I spent it going grocery shopping, putting Ivy to bed, showing up at work early for a training, putting toys into a bin just to be pulled out again, doing laundry when I didn’t need to, complaining about it, staring at my phone mindlessly until minutes passed without me realizing. This

He sent me a podcast that encouraged me to think differently about my time and relationships, and I want to share it below because it changed me.

With the ever-increasing online persona we manager and decreasing in-person contact, it is harder than ever to be in control of how we spend our time and energy and with whom. It’s exponentially harder when you have a newborn and people don't realize in what ways your priorities have shifted.

So I have a few tips below I have summarized from the podcast.

  1. Decide how much time you have

    How much time do you have between feeding baby and putting baby down? How much time do you have to yourself after work (whatever it is you do besides being a mother) and putting the baby to sleep? Do you have three hours at night or in the morning or one?

  2. Who are the most important people to you and what are the most important activities?

    This can be family and friends or maybe just friends, if you have cut toxic family members out of your life. Who are the top ten people in your life? Why are they there? Do a little introspection and ask yourself, “how much time am I giving the ones I love and it is enough?” As an example, I decided on three people I most love and have been neglecting, and I decided how I wanted to communicate with them going forward.

  3. Set boundaries

    Great, I know who I want to spend time with. Now what? STOP overextending yourself by doing a lot of extra activities you don’t want to. Feel obligated to go to every single birthday party, happy hour, work event? Stop. Reclaim your time. Plan that trip with your sister. Ask your college friend over for dinner. The rest can go on hold.

  4. Communicate those boundaries

    Y’all. I’m not going to lie—this part is hard as hell. Most of us hate conflict and don’t know what to do when it happens. Hello, hi, this is me. Share those boundaries with the people you are prioritizing and those you are not. This could be as simple as, “Hi, Sara. I'm sorry I’ve not communicated better. Parenting a newborn has been hard in a way I wasn’t anticipating. Can we get together and talk about what our friendship looks like now that I’m a mom?” OR "Kennedy, we haven’t talked in a while, and I think that’s going to continue. I am prioritizing what’s important to me right now, and I want to spend the few moments I have with my family more. Can we talk about this?” These conversations are best in person, as the podcast suggests.

friends

How to Set Boundaries With Your Family and Friends When You Have a Newborn

Read about all the great ways you can set expectations and boundaries for families and friends when they visit after you bring baby home from the hospital.

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Nursing Baby Past One

There are so many myths and stigmas surrounding breastfeeding toddlers. Why? Well that's a complicated answer left for much more space than one blog allows. Below is one woman’s (my dear friend, actually) musings on “extended” breastfeeding (really though, why don’t we just call it breastfeeding….that’s all it is!).


As my husband, in-laws, and I moved through the furniture store looking for a glider they wanted to gift me as a new mother, I carefully balanced my newborn in my arms while trying to fix her latch under a receiving blanket. My mother-in-law casually took the blanket and said, “you don’t need this.” It was the most liberating thing she could have done. I didn’t know this at the time, but breastfeeding would become the next thirteen years of my life. The sooner I learned to worry about the comfort of myself and my baby—the better.

There is evidence to suggest that as long as a breastfeeding relationship continues, it will provide nutrition as well as immunological protection.

But you know those studies they did that said that hugging is healthy? The breastfeeding studies were like that for me, confirming what I had already been witnessing and was my own common sense. Anthropological work has already told us that when natural weaning occurs it is closer to when the first molars begin to appear. 

My best friend’s three-year-old recently had surgery. Her tonsils, and adenoids were removed, and she had an epiglottoplasty. Getting medicine into a groggy three-year-old is difficult, let alone keeping her hydrated. Since they still have nursing relationship, she is able to get food and liquid into her daughter’s body, all while feeding her antibodies and stem cells for quicker healing. Her recovery time was much shorter than it was supposed to be. Of course, this is anecdotal, but still, there it is. 

The WHO and Unicef recommends breastfeeding to two years and beyond.

When my children turned two, they still needed to nurse. When a child is nursing at three, they are nursing less frequently. And by four and five, it isn’t often. But when my four-year-old had a violent stomach virus, holding them and feeding them from the milk I made just for them, kept them hydrated and helped them to recover quicker. 


Something to consider is that extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding beyond one year) simply be called breastfeeding. When it is tagged “extended,” that eludes to there being a norm, and this falling outside of that norm.

This human-derived term creates a definitive line: once you pass day three-hundred and sixty-five, you are into the new territory and your baby’s body will be done with your milk, which will likewise become unusable. You may self-destruct. 

When we went to the library and my preschooler would touch everything (no hyperbole here, folks) and put everything into their mouths. I was relaxed, knowing I would still be feeding them immunity. When they became sick with fever I could taker refuge in knowing that I was hydrating them, comforting them, and once again feeding antibodies to their immature immune systems. 

Nursing an older child will coo them to sleep. It continues to nourish them. When they get hurt it calms them. While they are learning this big world, it centers them and tells them there is a safe place of refuge within their mother, still, and always. Our children grow, it is what they were designed to do. No one is going to nurse until they leave for college, and that equation is ridiculous. They will always wean, and when that day comes it is bittersweet. 

I know many women who nursed beyond three and, often, they were made to feel ashamed—to hide. Our culture has decided they can name the ways in which a woman’s body works.

They have decided that breasts are innately sexual in nature. They grossly pervert the feeding of a human child when that is the crux of humanity’s existence!  Just as you can be a mother and a lover—breasts can play a dual-role, as well. 

Nursing my children into two, three, four, and five was an evolution of gift. Always changing, never looking the same, just like the breastmilk itself—altering to the needs of the situation. I say take the covers off. Take away the fear or need to hide while feeding your child. Don’t let the dictation of a woman’s body seep further into the clutches of this culture. Let women go where they will and let them feed their child where and how they like, and please let’s normalize the image of a woman feeding an infant as far into their future as they see fit, all while loving and supporting them. If you see a mama nursing, take her a water and tell her what a gift she is. 


Small Business Tuesday-

Talking about babies is heavy.

Sometimes you just want to relax and not be a human pacifier and/or diaper changer on duty 24/7.

One of the ways to do that is get a facial. This was the best decision I made after Ivy was born, and I met with a talented and passionate skincare specialist just outside of Cincinnati.

Meet Al Kirkendol, an esthetician (skincare specialist) at 501 Spa in Bellevue, KY. She believes in the importance of taking care of our skin.

Our skin is the second-most complex organ of the body, being surpassed only by the brain. Let’s honor our skin by taking care of it.

If you’ve never had a facial before, I’ll give you a run down. Al first meets with you to discuss your skin goals. She assess what products will be the best for your skin type (even super sensitive skin), and gives you a run down of what she plans on doing in the time you booked. A jade roller, a few hot towels, lots of botanical smelling creams tailored to your skin type, and a scalp massage later, you walk away with really soft, clear skin. It's a great way to reset. Additionally, Al can help you improve your skin outside of the spa by helping adjust and refine your skincare routine.

You can book her here.

And follow her on Instagram @al.kirkendol.

Al Kirkendol

Al Kirkendol