parent opinion

"I'm 34 with three kids. My expectations of friendship have completely changed."

In my early 20s I had a lot of “friends.” 

I had a friend for every occasion.

Some friendships were top priority, consuming most of my time, telephone calls, getting sh*t faced at 3am with and eating kebabs from a dodgy stand on the road while trying to stand in heels. My life was my friends, my priorities were friendships.

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But as someone who is 34, with three kids, my expectations of friendships have changed.

Nothing forces you to prioritise the important things in life, like motherhood.

As soon as you give birth, your priorities change and your time is so fleeting and so precious. Your demands are high. Life becomes super busy. 

Your heart has grown bigger to fit all the love you have for tiny humans, but friendships and kebabs, although will always have a special place in your heart, you just simply won’t be able to fit. 

Priorities change and friendships fade. Motherhood takes away any form of perfection too and this is especially true when it comes to friendships. Having friendships pre-kids was a lot simpler for me. 

Before kids I was able to be consumed in friendships, I had more time to talk, and could actually talk without being interrupted. 

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I could give more. I could be a perfect friend, calling when needed, answering calls when needed, making last-minute plans, it was all doable. 

But after kids, I mean, we all know what that is like. I just can’t. It is just way too hard.

And because of this, you lose an incredible amount of friendships becoming a parent, and not just the childless friends, but the ones with kids too. 

The expectations of pre-kid you, crosses over to post-kid you, and friendships become more unattainable.

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It was hard in those early days, as I had never felt more alone or isolated than ever, but slowly my expectations lowered, I desired simpler friendships and that’s when I experienced true and meaningful friendships like never before. 

The friendships that have blossomed in motherhood, whether it’s been with a fellow mother or a childless friend, have been some of the most amazing and real friendships I’ve ever experienced and that’s because these friendships aren’t built on spending 24/7 together, lining up for the nightclub bathroom and Jager Bombs. Or trying to appear like you have sh*t together; in fact it’s quite the opposite. 

They are built on being completely you, flaws and all. They are built on trust and vulnerability. The perfect imperfections that motherhood has gifted to you. 

The friendships now, I can show up in my most vulnerable state, with no sleep, vomit on my jumper, haven’t showered in days, and just want to talk about absolute garbage, forget what day it is, and I come welcomed and loved. 

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I can take three days to respond to a text, because life is absolutely hectic and it is still met with love.

I can talk about marriage breakdowns, childhood traumas, battles with my kids, special needs, kids doctors’ appointments, things that are just the core of me and the real of me and it is met with love. 

It is met without judgement, without expectations, without any superficiality. And it is given back.

It is picking up the phone to talk to someone after moments have passed and that person knowing you for the real you, the woman behind the mask to the rest of the world and her children, who is scared too, but knows that she has strength behind her in the form of a friend.

A friendship that will cheer when you cheer, who will celebrate your happiness, your children’s milestones and never feel the need to compare, because they love your child like they are their own.

Friendships like these do exist, they take a bit of time to find, I never thought I would find it, it was a lot of boundary setting and a lot of opening up, but when you do these friends, there is no hard, no pressure, just ease and love, and every woman deserves them. 

For more from Laura Mazza, you can find her on Facebook or Instagram

Feature Image: @itslauramazza Instagram. 

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