Adult Friendships Based on Kids

Updated on August 24, 2010
V.M. asks from Conneaut, OH
15 answers

I"m not sure exactly how to ask this, maybe it's more of a wondering vent.
With in the last month i've realized that 5 or 6 relationships that i've had with other parents that began with our kids being in the same preschool, what have you, are pretty much over. These definately weren't people I bared my soul to but we did playdates together and the kids liked each other. Some of these moms I liked and i will miss, others were difficult and i won't miss them but will regret not seeing their kids. We moved to a different area of town, We could still get together but i have the feeling it's time to move on, the kids aren't in school together anymore.
So i guess, i'm just wondering, does this just happen alot, or am i not good at keeping relationships going??? I admit, i can't stand to be on the go all the time and one playdate every two weeks is enough for me, But it also seems like after we moved, i was the one to call alot and set stuff up, and make an effort to keep it going. So when do you know when it's over??
And then I ran into 2 separate people i had drifted away from (friends during the time my kids were infants) with in a week, and it was super akward for me, I know they were just as much responsible for us not keeping in touch but it hurt a little that they didn't seem to care. Can anyone relate? Is it odd ot have lots of weak aquaintance type friendships with other moms?? My kids are early elementary age.

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So What Happened?

It just makes me sad to think this might keep happening everytime, my kids change interests or friends. Maybe i need to look at making friend with people without that connection of our children, but I barely have time to keep the dishes done let alone get a grown up hobby that would bring me incontact wtih other adults.

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answers from Seattle on

One thing WORSE, however (bluebird of happiness time) is when you ARE still friends with the parents, but the kids start hating each other.

Soooooo hard.

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answers from Portland on

THis is normal. We do move on in our relationships. The ones you're talking about were started when your children were together. They're not together now and so for most of them the foundation is gone. You may feel close enough to one or two that you want to keep the relationship going but it will take much more work to do so than when you lived in the neighborhood.

I'm 67 and I can count on one hand the friendships that have lasted over the years and I'm finding that one of those isn't as satisfactory for me as it used to be. We no longer have much in common due to age and illness.

I fondly remember many relationships that dissolved when I moved, when they moved, when I retired, when they married, when I became a mother, when their kids were grown up, when my daughter grew up, etc. And I still grieve the loss of a couple of them. I tried to keep them going but the other person didn't seem interested.

I've also felt hurt for 2-3 years when my phone calls, e-mails, notes weren't answered. I kept asking myself, why don't they want to talk with me? What have I done to make them stay away? I still feel that way sometimes. Mostly, tho, I realize that we have busy lives and sometimes we don't have the time, effort, or similar close feelings that warrant the effort to keep in touch. I think that if I ran into Suzan, who lives several states away, we would take up where we left off but to run into some of the others would probably be awkward as you've described happening for you. With some, we'd be glad to see each other. We would chat for 10-15 minutes to catch up and then move on.

For the most part friendships do die when we make a major change in our lives. And, especially during the child rearing ages, we don't have the time or energy to keep up with them when this happens.

It's not you or anything you have or have not done. It's just the way it is.
You will find new friends in your new neighborhood once school starts and having the kids activities to once more get involved in.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Yes, when kids are in school they make new friends. We have gone through playgroup friends, church friends, pre-school friends, elementary school friends and now another group of friends will be made at a new school. If and when we move there will be another group. I used to keep in touch with everyone and it grew old. So I just make Temp friends and keep the true friends that want to stick around. People get busy and some friends work and it's hard to get together. Life adjusts and the kids are fine. It's all normal in my book. Anxious to hear what others have to say.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Yes, when our daughter left daycare and moved on to kinder in our neighborhood elementary school, it did change our friendships with the daycare parents. Then when our neighbors moved a few miles away, some of us stayed really close to them and others did not.

What I found was that if the parents did things together other than "children involved events" tended to stay friends. If it was really all centered around our kids, then location and access to each other played a major role in how close we remained.

Same from elementary to middles school and then middle school to high schools. We just spend so much time at those school events, that we get close or stay in closer contact. If a family moved or chose to go to a school out of the "hood" it was easy to loose touch with them, because we were going in different directions.

I have really good "mom" friends that I met through our children. Because we went to happy hours, each others homes for events and other grown up things, we are still friends. Many are our daughters former teachers, Principals and school administrators are still some of my very good friends.

. I have a teacher friend that started a "Witches Tea" during the week of Halloween. We have a glass of wine while wearing our witches hats, with lots of giggles and cackling while catching up with each other.

Facebook has also been great to reconnect with some of these moms we have not seen in a long time.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Lubbock on

It's hard when you move. Maintaining the same level of friendship takes alot of work. Especially in this season of young kids. There are three types of friends....reason friends come in to serve a specific need...season friends come in for a period of time....lifetime friends are in and out of your life but when you get together/talk it is like no time has passed.

Those friends you truly enjoyed make a point to invite over for a play date. Mom's night out. Don't beat yourself up, I'm sure someone has felt the same about your moving away. Disappointed, not intentional abdonment.

Hope you find the answer you are looking for.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Yes it happens.
For that reason, I am careful about 'baring my soul' to kid's parents that turned into friends... UNLESS I know the friendship will continue and/or if my kids and their kids.... are going to the same school in grade school etc. and are still friends.

I have bumped into Mom friends that my daughter was friends with their kid... in Preschool. But that was not a long lived friendship... it was based on temporary play-date type friends.
I knew...

I am not awkward... when I bump into them.. nor are they. Its okay... just drifted apart.

Kids themselves... make different friends all the time. Not the same friends. It happens.

I have one good friend, that started off as my daughter being friends with her kid... a boy. So we'd have playdates and we got along too. But, now... or soon... I know that my girl and her son will be getting older and then "play-dates" as in when they were younger... might not have a lot in common... due to their ages and gender. But for now, my girl and her boy are 7.... and they still get along and my girl can play girly stuff or boy stuff. But one day, I don't know, if they would still want to get together.
But me and the Mom are pretty good friends and our kids go to the same school, and my son is friends with her younger boys. So we all still get together. But I am cognizant... of the upcoming differences, my girl and her son will have and how play-dates together might not be "cool" anymore... as they become Tweens, for example.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm still in the preschool playdate stage, but I know this will happen to me too. I been in a set playgroup for 2 years. We all get along well & I thought I made some new friends. However, I realized that these other moms had social activities that did not involve the kids (like bunco night or something similar) & I was not invited. So, awkward as it is, although I'm the only one not included in these extra social activities of this group, I decided to stay in the playgroup for my kids' sake. It hurts & I'm honestly bitter about it, but at the same time try to be strong. I know when the kids are in kindergarten & the playdates are over, I probably won't talk to them much, except random things on FB maybe. I guess some people just click on a personal level & others don't. I guess this is something I may have to go through again as the kids get older.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it will keep happening, but in many ways it's a good thing. really good friends are rare. it's wonderful to have a lot of good folks in your life, but true deep friendships need nurture and tending and that takes time. allow the more superficial relationships to be what they are......nice, fun, convenient, useful, interesting opportunities, but not permanent.
you know how when you're a new mom, you just ADORE spending time with other new moms? everyone tells their birth stories, everyone coos over each other's babies, you all get each other. it's natural, it's important to do, it's support and advice and laughter and bonding.
well, in 15 or 20 years i promise you that you will run screaming hysterically looking for dull spoons to slit your wrists with rather than get stuck with a gaggle of new moms. and those new moms would rather roll in their babies' puke than listen to you and your latest girlfriends compare menopause notes.
it's a natural cycle. it's good. friends will move through your life, most won't stick, but a few will remain on pleasant if distant terms, and one or two gems will be there forever.
i mean, there are only so many hours in a day after all, right?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This always happens. I know when school starts in a couple of weeks I'll see the moms who promised to "keep in touch" this summer and didn't and we'll all act like nothing happened. Once the kids change classes or schools it is really hard to keep the connection. It's the way it goes just make new friend s this year and if you really really like a mom and their kids just try to keep the connection going.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's normal. What you do is you let it go. Most people in our lives are only there for a certain period of time, and that doesn't mean they are not real and valid friendships. It's just the way it works. Move on, and find new friends. You don't need to feel awkward when you run into these people.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Hi, V.

Have you thought about asking them how they feel about this concern you have?
Good luck on your journey in life. D.


answers from Cleveland on

I don't know if it keeps happening. But I have expierenced it.
It sucks when it seems that you are the only one that cares about a friendship. You're the one that ALWAYS calls, always shows up and is always there to help out when you are needed. Only to realize that it isn't the same on the other persons side.
Honestly I don't know if it's just trying to find friends as a parent or just in general. All I know is that any of the "friendships" i've made in the last few years have been like this.

Gets lonely, but then again I'd rather feel lonely than to put my all into a friendship to find out months later that it was pointless to do so.



answers from Las Vegas on

VM, I think you are being too hard on yourself. You can't possibly be responsible for one sided friendships.

I can tell you, my daughter was in home daycare with a great mother of two and there was a couple of other children there and we all got along great. I was the first to leave and everyone else left shortly after. It was an awkward departure because although I liked her, she was having some family issues and I questioned if she was able to care for the kids and handle her other issues. As well, she was leaving and the mom or sister or husband was staying with the kids and it was an unstable situation for me. Anyway, I have seen them all and we have all agreed to get together and it never happens. Our best attempt has been through Facebook. While we are not close any longer, it is nice to see how everyone is doing and the accomplishments of the kids.

The same thing has happened with my sister. She is always sure to meet the parents of my nieces friends and she will hang out with them for a bit and then everyone seems to move on.

I have one friend that I have met through my little one and the two of us have remained friends. We do a lot of outings together and Friday I will have her daughter over while she goes to work and then she will pick them up when she gets off so I can make a late afternoon meeting.

Good friends are always hard to come by.


answers from Milwaukee on

The friends I hang out with the most are not parents, in fact half or less of them are not even married (most have a significant other just not married w/kids yet). It has been easier for me to keep these relationships going because when I talk with them the converstation rarely goes towards kid talk which is nice. I am on a kickball league which is Monday nights from spring to fall and it is a great bond with some of my friends, I see them once a week, hang out a little afterwards for drinks & to chat then go home (feels more like a successful relationship).

It seems hard to keep a relationship, at least for me, with another parent because the schedules are always changing, go to different schools or even are at the same school just in different classes so new friendships form. I have a lot of moms that I see regular during the school year, we talk about playdates but nothing every happens (I e-mail, leave cute little notes with my info because they are always saying we should get together for a playdate but never do anything about it).

Now there are some moms out there that just form that great friendsihp (almost sister/family like bond) with each other and do everything together. That has never really worked for me, I even have friends that I have know since high school with kids (mine is at least 2 years or older then their kids) and we are friends but I rarely see them because our schedules are so different.

Enjoy the time you do have with the parents, maybe look for friends outside of your kids friend's parents (if you do make a great connection awesome!) and hopefully you will not mind the coming and going so much of the friend's parent's friendship.



answers from Harrisburg on

This is very common. People have many kinds of friendships. Some of from work. Just because you enjoy each other at work doesn't mean you'd hang out with them at home. There's friends you get because of your kids, like what you had. There's neighbors that you are friends with but doesn't mean you would be friends with them in other areas of your life. There's email/online friends. There's friends through family. Friendships are there to fullfill the needs you have at that time or in a certain area in your life. Friends come and friends go over time. Don't feel guilty when you lose touch and they no longer fullfill your needs. People drift apart. When you happen to bump into each other just say a big hi, ask how the kids are, tell them how yours are doing and move on. This is part of life, completely. The older you get the more often you will see this happening. It happens to everyone.

We're military and move around a lot so I've seen this so much. Very few stay in contact by email, and that's ok. I fullfilled their needs at that time too so I look at it as a win-win situation.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
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