7 ways to maintain friendships with child-free friends, according to a therapist

How can we continue to nourish relationships with people who don't relate to the sometimes all-consuming experience of motherhood?

7 ways to maintain friendships with child-free friends, according to a therapist

Motherhood is lonely and seeking connection with those who are going through a similar experience is an antidote. We feel less alone and more supported when we find members of our own mom group.

But what happens to the people who were there for us before baby? What about those friends that knew you long before diapers and breast pumps? How can we continue to nourish relationships with people who don't relate to the sometimes all-consuming experience of motherhood?

But, I feel most connected to my pre-mom self when I'm with my non-mom friends. These friends have seen me at my weirdest and weren't embarrassed to be around me, supported me when I wasn't sure where my life was going, and made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe.

I may have a mom team, but these women are my soul sisters. Sometimes it's work to keep in contact and I never seem them as much as I would like to, but I know every time we get together that I feel truly myself.

Here are some ways to keep your old friendships going after you become a mom:

1. Don't make assumptions

It's easy to go there and think, “They probably think I'm not fun anymore," or, “They probably don't even want to hang with me anymore." This can make you resentful and less likely to make an effort in maintaining the friendship.

In reality, a lot of times friends aren't sure how to act. They may be worried about inviting you places and making you feel disappointed when you can't come or even not wanting to “bother" you since you have a new baby.

Bottom line: Never make assumptions—they can create unnecessary and unfounded tension and distance in your relationships.

2. Be assertive in the face of judgement

If you have a friend who says, “I know you're all baby now," or “I know your hands are full and you're too busy for me now," you can set the record straight in a kind way.

“Yes, a lot has changed, but I'm still your friend," or, “You're right, I'm busier now, but I would still like to make time for us to hang out. Please don't assume that I'm leaving you behind." Putting issues on the table reduces passive aggressive attitudes and opens up the relationship for more honest and deeper communication.

3. Let them know you need them

When your life is consumed by baby and family, it can be easy for friends to start to think you've “moved on" and don't need them. It's an important part of any relationship to feel there is reciprocal desire to keep the relationship going. Let them know you miss them, how much you value your time with them, and the fact that you need their support or whatever else they bring to your relationship.

4. Prioritize them

It can be easy to just want to hang out with other moms because they get it, but remember your other friends and put effort into those relationships. Make a standing monthly or weekly date that takes priority over other comittments. If that's too difficult, make an effort to text or call them once a week to see how they're doing.

5. Be open and honest if things feel different

You can always reach out and say, “Hey, I feel like we've been disconnected lately. I know things have changed a lot. Your friendship is important to me. Can we get together and talk?" Be honest about your expectations from them. Ask them what they need from you to heal any wounds and maintain your connection.

6. Be empathetic to their feelings

Sometimes friends struggle with seeing their friends married and having a child if they want those things, too, but don't have them yet. If you feel this is the case with a friend of yours, you may need to give them some time.

This may be especially true for friends who have struggled with infertility. Time and space can offer the healing they need before they reconnect. When they return to the relationship, try to offer understanding and compassion. You never know what your friends might be going through or how they see your situation. Try to feel them out and be there to listen and support them.

7. They won't get it and that's okay

Did you “get it" before you became a mom? Most likely not. So don't expect them to “get it" now. However, just because they can't necessarily relate doesn't mean they can't or don't support you. Try to find other ways to relate and limit the time you spend talking about your mom stuff. Remember there are things you can talk about outside of motherhood—it's refreshing!

It's important to remember that some friendships just won't make the transition, and that is okay. For example, you may have friends whom you easily partied with before but don't find much in common outside of the bar. It's okay to prioritize the friendships you want to keep that are healthy for yourself and your family.

The friendships that are meant to be will somehow make it through with honesty, time and communication. 💜

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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