Dear Mr. Dad,
Since becoming a father my wife and I haven't been able to spend as much time with our friends as we used to. Some of them seem to understand but others don't. Is there anything we can do to keep our friendships alive?
Considering how small and helpless babies are, it's really amazing that they can have such a powerful impact on the lives of the adults around them. Simply by being born, your baby has already transformed you and your partner from a "couple" into "parents" and your parents and in-laws into, gasp, "grandparents."
Even more amazing is the impact that babies have on the pre-existing relationships between the adults in their lives. Babies can bring a couple together, for example, or they can create a lot of stress (or at least magnify it). They can reunite families and mend old wounds or they can open new ones. They can even change the nature of your friendships. Here are a few ways this might play out:
As your kids get older their impact on your friendships will continue to grow.
Here are some things you can do to smooth out the bumps in your changing friendships:
-- "Mr. Dad"
A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the bestselling author of The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year, Fathering Your Toddler, The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads, and four other books on fatherhood. He has written on parenting, fatherhood, and health for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting," which airs on a dozen stations in the US and worldwide on the American Forces Network. Armin lives with his family in Oakland, California. You may visit his website at mrdad.com to learn more.