If there is anything in the world that can change the hierarchy of friendships in a person's life, it's having children.
Especially when you are a struggling 20-something, who is the only one in your tight knit circle of friends who wears the title of "parent."
Being a 20-something is hard enough when you're just trying to take care of yourself; add another life of two in the mix and you'll find yourself working hard just to keep your head above water.
The same goes with maintaining friendships when you have children. No matter how much you want things to stay the same, they just can't.
No matter how much you try, things will always be different between your friends and yourself when you have kids and they don't.
When you have children, you are forced to weed out bad friends. You'll notice it subtly.
They will stop calling slowly once they realize you can't party anymore, that you can't hang out at the drop of a hat or that you just simply have nothing more in common.
This allows you to love and appreciate the real friends in your life — the ones who will attend doctors appointments, baby showers and will come by and babysit your kids so you can take your first show in days.
These are the ones who help you embrace your new title as the "friend with kids." They not only want you to own it, but also to rock that sh*t.
But, even as much as you love those friends, your friendships with them still change. Not necessarily in bad ways, things will just be different.
You won't immediately notice how much things will change, but the more time wears on, the clearer it will be.
Here are some ways things change when you're the friend with kids:
You realize that you aren’t like your friends anymore.
Nothing in the world drives this fact home more convincingly than when you're home nursing your baby and your friends drunk dial you at 2 am in the middle of a raging party.
You'll feel a twinge of jealousy about how carefree their lives seems, but then you look at your baby and think, nah, I'm good.
Hanging out now requires a lot of planning.
Gone are the days of impromptu road trips, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parties and just picking up and hanging out whenever you want.
At first, your friends will have a difficult time understanding why "you can't just get a sitter and come with us." They'll eventually get it, though. It's actually just really hard to leave your kids.
If you're like me, when you go out, you need an itinerary of all the things you will be doing, places you'll be going and exact times — down to the second — you will be back.
It's annoying, and sometimes I feel sorry for my friends for even asking me to join. But, the good ones understand it — and thank God for them.
Your friends will get tired of stories about your kids.
For some reason, becoming a parent really swells the brain, and literally the only thing you want to talk about is how amazing your children are.
Your friends will get tired of the millions of times you tell that story about how adorable your son or daughter is pooping the tub with the hilarious grunt face. Yeah, they get it, you have a cute kid.
The beautiful thing is though, no matter how tired your friends are of those stories, they share that happiness and those proud moments with you because true friends love every single part of you, including your children, along with all those embarrassing poop and vomit stories.
Chances are, they'll retell them to their other friends and coworkers and are just as annoying as you are while doing it.
There will be a lot of promised plans that will fall through.
You will have things that come up that will — as much as you hate to do so — force you to cancel plans with your friends. When your child has a school play, gets sick or when the sitter cancels last minute, those are things that are just inevitable.
Your friends will get it. They will understand, forgive you and be patient with you. They also will have times when they will have to cancel.
You also have a duty to remember that just because you have kids and time is precious, they can't drop everything in their lives when you have made plans and things come up; it's a two-way street.
You will have to explain new terminology.
When your other friends are childless, they have no clue what a Bumbo, Enfamil, Boppy or Mamaroo is.
They do not care about sensory activities or quiet time. They have no clue how many times to feed a newborn daily or how to change a diaper.
They have no clue that you've been up the last six out of eight hours. You will have to explain these things to them and help them to understand your new life.
How could they know any of these things when they do not have children?
Giving them a glimpse into how you live life, now, will help them to understand the changes you've undergone, and maybe make them a little more empathetic toward the situation.
If not, it at least provides an excuse as to why you constantly look like deep fried sh*t.
You will miss them, a lot.
There will be a lot of keeping up via social media. You will see pictures of them at a club or going to ballgames; you'll miss them and feel sad for the times you had.
You'll wish you could see them more. But no matter the time or distance, the next time you see them will be like nothing ever changed.
You'll smile as they pick up your kids and act as surrogate aunts or uncles, and you'll find yourself being really grateful for them.
Another thing that is important to remember is that just because you have kids, you don't have a constant excuse to blow off your friends.
You still have an obligation to make the effort to hang out, call and make some sort of contact.
It's easy to get so wrapped up in your children, but what does that say about you if your friends put in all the effort, and just because you have children, you drop them like hot potatoes?
Not a good look. Having children can cause strain, but as long as both sides give and take a little, things can change in positive ways.
Cherish those friends who have stayed true to you. Especially the ones who have stayed true while you've turned into the "FWK."
Nothing can shine light on how glorious those friends are like having children.
Thank them, take time out for them and above all, make the effort for them because they obviously have for you.
Especially if you find them on Saturday night, (when they could literally be anywhere else on earth) playing with your dirty toddler, rolling in a sandbox or covered in play lipstick.
Those are the times when being the "FWK" is the only thing you want to be.