This topic is one that is fresh on my mind since I recently went from being a kid-less friend to a friend with a kid. As if our lives hadn't drastically changed enough, there is the added challenge of hanging out with friends with our brand new baby.
We have been amazed at how accepting and flexible some of our friends have been with this added change. A lot of our friends have let Liam sleep on their bed (when he couldn't roll over) or in their room while we hang out like normal adults. We've had friends offer to feed him, play with him, hold him, and countless other things to either give us a break or simply because they just wanted to love on our sweet boy. All of these things have meant so much to Will and me and it got me thinking about specific ways we can make families with kiddos feel welcome in our home. Especially since it feels like everyone and their sister is having a baby these days.
This post is probably more geared toward those who don't have kiddos yet but still want to be able to love their friends well who do have kids. Although it is definitely still relevant if you already have kids. This is also centered specifically around loving people in you home although some of these can definitely apply outside the home as well. Being a parent is hard and it really does take a village, so the last thing your friends want is to feel judged or uncomfortable in any way when entering your home with their little crazies.
PUT AWAY BREAKABLES
This isn't to imply that you have friends with kids that love to break your things. This is simply a tip because you have friends with kids. It doesn't matter how well behaved the kiddos are, you don't want to be worrying about anything accidentally breaking - especially things that are important to you. This makes you stressed and unable to relax and just FYI, kids know when you're stressed and it can make them stressed as well. So do everyone a favor and put away those breakables so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy their company.
HAVE A FEW TOYS
This is something that's easier if you already have kids, but even if you don't, this definitely still applies. I'm not saying to go out and buy the latest and greatest toy to have at your house. You can literally just have one drawer or basket that you pull out when kids comes over. It can be bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring books & crayons, puzzles - anything that will keep them occupied so the adults can hang out. Also, this helps if you have certain things you don't want the kids to get into. Instead of saying "stay away from that" you can say "let's play with this instead."
GO WITH THE FLOW
Babies cry, kids get hurt, so many things are unpredictable when a child is involved. Know that and know it's ok. If mom or dad suddenly has to go take care of one of their crying kiddos, no biggie. There is a chance the parent could already be embarrassed about having to leave the conversation, so just be flexible. You need to be supportive, kind and understanding when things go awry (which brings me to the next point).
Mamas be frazzled you guys. I'm a hot mess 99% of the time nowadays, so when I go over to someone's house and they offer to help I want to give them a giant hug. Helping doesn't have to be a huge deal, just offer to help when it's needed. Offer to hold/feed/play with your friend's kiddo. Oftentimes, I'm holding Liam and struggling to get something out of his diaper bag, so a friend will step in to help. Little, tiny things like that mean so much. As I mentioned before, we have also had friends provide a place for Liam to sleep which has been so incredibly helpful as well. Just be there and be willing to lend a hand when you see the need. It takes a village, y'all. No joke.
HAVE SNACKS AVAILABLE
I have talked about having frozen cookie dough in the freezer (like in my preparing for guests post) and it is just as relevant in this post because I dare you to show me a child that doesn't like cookies. But the snack can really be anything. I have a friend who had a bunch of moms and their kiddos over and she baked muffins for us and the kids to have. You can also pick something healthy (which would probably be greatly appreciated among most moms).
Coming from a mom that has recently made the transition from no kid to kid, I know how challenging it can be to maintain friendships. It's definitely a two way street, but hopefully implementing these tips will make the transition easier and more fluid for everyone. More than anything since having a baby, I crave true, real, valuable friendships and it has meant the world to me to have friends that have stepped up and loved use well during the new adventure. My hope is that this is something we will all do better and well!
Also, enjoy these photos of my sweet babe because he's so cute and I just couldn't resist.