Motherhood Is NOT an Excuse to Be a Bad Friend


If there is one thing us moms are great at, it’s being able to commiserate with one another. We’ve been through so many of the same things that it’s easy to nod, say “mmhmm,” and give some witty advice…or hand over the bottle of wine, whatever works.

I have a really strong reaction though, every time I see one particular idea floating around online in my social media circles. I’m going to prepare myself with an umbrella, a poncho, or whatever I can grab because I feel like many of you might start throwing your snack or coffee (save the wine!) in my general direction when I tell you what it is…are you ready?

I hate reading about how it’s ok to put friendships on hold because of motherhood.

Like really, really hate it. There was one particular post I saw a while back (and has since started popping up in my news feeds again) with more and more friends sharing. The author claims she sucks at being a friend right now. Welcoming a new baby that is solely dependent on you for survival is not only amazing but exhausting. Multiply that by a hundred if you’re breastfeeding. Boom, you just pushed an RV through a gate made for a Smart Car and all of a sudden you have a 5th appendage. Welcome to motherhood! So feeling like you’re a sucky friend? That part I can support. Learning to balance these things is hard, you guys, and I think most everyone understands that.

The part I can’t get behind? Telling your friends to hold on and wait for you to be their friend again.

I am a mother of two small children under the age of 3. It goes without saying that I understand busy and tired. I most definitely understand what I’m saying might appear to sound like “add one more thing to your list of things-to-do.” But I truly don’t believe this parenting gig gets any easier. Different, yes, but not easier. I asked my husband about this and he agrees that if anything, it’s going to get harder: the juggling of school schedules, activities they may participate in, all on top of work and responsibilities at home. The baby phase is hard and sometimes all-consuming but the school age years will be, too. The teenage years? I don’t even want to think about them. I also refuse to acknowledge that one day I’ll be dropping my babies off at college and driving away without them.

But who’s going to help get me through all those tough years? Besides my hubby and a good Malbec, it’s my friends. I don’t imagine they’ll be there to help though if I don’t stick around and continue to make the effort our friendship deservesIf I ask my friends to hold on now, when is it going to be a ‘good time’ to go back to being a good friend?


Friendship may look a little different now that I’m a mom but I would never want a friend to think they’ve been pushed aside because my life has taken the path of motherhood. Some friendships with other moms have become stronger…after all, it is often easier to connect to someone going through the same struggles. But I embrace my friendships with non-parent friends just as much. Whether parents or not, I work hard to reach out and connect with my friends so that they know they are still important to me. They were my friends before I had kids, so they certainly still are. These relationships outside my family are vital to my feeling whole, sane, and connected.

It’s easy to use kids as an excuse. It’s also easy for non-parent friends to assume you will. Try not to, on both counts. The moment you, as a friend, set the bar as “I have kids, sorry I can’t” many friends will just stop trying. Can you blame them? I can’t. Nobody wants to hear “no” over and over. Non-parent friends: please don’t assume every friend you have with kids is going to ignore you. If you think that’s the case, you’ll probably include them less and less and it’ll seem like they’re too busy for you. Nobody can be there if they weren’t included! As a parent, I want to be included just like I was before. I’m still me, after all.

Texts might take a few extra minutes (maybe hours) to respond to, but they don’t ever get ignored. Happy hour might need more than a 45-minute notice so I can make sure my kids are cared for (and have enough time to wash my hair), but I will absolutely do everything I can to make it. Bar hopping might not work well anymore but I will always invite you over to have some wine, mix up some margs, and chat all night long. Ladies nights are some of my favorites – just give me at least a day or two’s notice so I can plan to make sure my family is set up for success before leaving for the night.

So, in defense of friendships during motherhood: please don’t count me out.

You, my friends, are so important. You’re crucial. Taking the time for myself to cultivate relationships outside my family unit not only fulfills some of my needs but it shows my kids that I’m not just a mommy and a wife, but also someone with an identity outside of that. I have interests and people I enjoy spending my time with, and I learn to balance it. That is what life is all about! It’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, but I am your friend and I will continue to show you that.

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Courtney is a wife to her college sweetheart, momma to a toddler girl and baby boy, and keeper of 2 dogs. She has her Masters degree in Elementary Education but decided once her first child was here that staying home instead of teaching was the best decision for her family. Having moved to southern Arizona from Massachusetts at a young age, she pretty much considers herself an Arizona native and loves getting out, seeing the beautiful desert sights, and being active whenever possible. She and her hubby are Sun Devil fans through and through and have a dream to retire and drive an RV around the country following their football team. When she’s not drinking coffee or taking care of her kiddos, you can find her scrapbooking, working on a DIY craft for the house, or organizing. For more posts by Courtney, head on over to her personal blog Glitter & Goldfish.


  1. Thanks Courtney, honestly I have a friend that is constantly using her kids as an excuseFor everything!I can literally count the last time times I’ve invited her to do anything and it’s always that she has to be there for her son who by the way is 17 years old. Maybe I just don’t want to accept thatThis goes beyondHaving to help her kids butI am now resolved just not asking her anymore.Is there something I could say to her about it?

  2. I so appreciate this post. I’m at the age where a lot of my friends are having kids and it’s incredibly frustrating to see our friendship fall apart as a result. I understand how their life is different now, especially as first time parents, but I’m at the point where I just don’t have the motivation to put in all the effort when they aren’t doing the same. I’m not a confrontational person, so I’ve been “phasing out” those friends who just stopped trying since they became parents.

  3. I really needed to hear this and know that I’m not being inconsiderate. I have a friend that I recently reconnected with and she has a 4 month. I try to get her out to have lunch and do things just so she doesn’t lose sight of who she is and know Im here no matter. Every turn seems like no I wish I could, no he’s this, he’s that. Mind you Ive made so she can bring her child….and no its baby this baby that! I feel like I putting more effort than she is. I even took her dinner for her birthday. She complained that I couldn’t be there until 7 then left early and couldn’t wait til I finished my last wine. Everything she does wrong is, my baby this….so I know now I’m not crazy. Thank You

  4. I know this 2023 but this answer is very relevant to me right now. I have, maybe had now, a friend who used this constantly weeks would go by years even and I was the only one who’d initiate connection on top of that they were busy always busy with kids with the hubby with his family her family not once in all those years did she send a photo or check in just self consumed even when I reached out and try to keep connection, then it was hard for her to even get a coffee. It was wild to me. So I finally let her off the hook, I just let her go and let her off the hook. Because she didn’t reach out. I know she knows how to keep a calendar but I just don’t think it occurred to her my feelings were hurt, I did express my needs for community and friendship and I think she didn’t get it didn’t want or was just so consumed with her own life, it is sad but new friendships will come new life will come new adventure will come.


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