Do you find that everyone around you is having children? Everyone, that is, apart from you? And not only this, but you have no intention of having children in the near future, or at all if you can help it. It seems that as soon as we meet someone, the question inevitably arises, “when will we hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet?” But though we may do our best to avoid answering it, while our friends around us are having kids, even if we’re allergic to them, we’ve got to embody some sense of decorum. So, here’s a little cheat sheet, how should you behave around your fellow parent friends? And specifically, what about those that have just started on their parenthood journey?

Never Say “I’m Tired”

If you complain that you only had 7 hours sleep when you’re used to having 8 or 9, that grinding sound you hear is probably your friend stifling their anger towards you. They would dream of having 7 hours uninterrupted sleep. In fact, 6 a.m. is a lie-in for them! And if you decide to utter those two words, especially during a yawn, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Don’t Tell Them Where You Went Last Night

For any new parent or those that have been in the game for a long time, they don’t know what 10 o’clock at night looks like anymore! Quite possibly, they’ve managed to stay up until 9 p.m., but this is a very rare occasion. It’s more likely that they are tucked up in bed as soon as their child goes to sleep, which is either very early, or very, very late. If you tell them that you went out galavanting, sipping cocktails until 2 in the morning, don’t expect your friend to show any enthusiasm. In fact, they probably won’t care, and their idea of a big night out includes a beverage (just one), some chocolates, and the latest true crime documentary on Netflix!

Give Them A Lot Of Emotional Support

While you may be having the time of your life or you’re going through yet another emotional crisis, you’ve got to be there for your friend. They may not have slept properly for months or years, and everything they know about their former life has disappeared. And they could feel out of the loop, or it’s got to the point where everything is getting on top of them. Perhaps you should show a little bit more empathy, but also be there for them when they need it. Just because you don’t have a child and they do, this doesn’t mean that you have to lead separate lives. If you text them at 2 in the morning, it’s very likely they will reply! And at those points in the middle of the night, feeding a baby, or doing their utmost to get the child to sleep, a text message from you could be that little thing to bring them out of a very low mood.

You’d Better Remember The Kid’s Birthday!

It might be the epitome of hell, going to a child’s birthday party, and enduring all of those screaming kids, and quite possibly emerging with numerous child-caused bruises, but if you forget their birthday you’d spend to make amends for it! Their child is the most important thing in their lives, and if you forget their birthday, or you make some excuse to say that you can’t turn up to the party, it had better be a good one. And besides, don’t leave the mother out. You can order some flowers online for her, and show them that you’re thinking of them. From the perspective of any parent, the child takes priority, but usually, this means that the parent gets sidelined.

Offer To Babysit!

This might be your worst nightmare, but if your friend is feeling particularly frazzled, or they need some time off, offering to babysit is the very least you can do. It’s very likely they will decline, but instead, perhaps you can just go over there for the afternoon, and spend some quality time with the child so their mother can have a quick nap. This is very important during the early days, and we all know how important sleep is to us. That one time you didn’t get a good night’s sleep, imagine having that every day for weeks or months! By offering to babysit, even if they politely refuse due to your lack of skill, the fact that you’re willing to make the sacrifice speaks volumes about your friendship.]

Take Food!

And specifically, coffee! Whether a new parent or not, supplies are always handy. Just because the child is now a toddler age doesn’t mean that they automatically sleep through the night. In fact, they may have less sleep due to developmental leaps, and now they’re becoming more mobile, this could mean a very physically and mentally exhausted mother. Even after they’ve got a routine sorted, your friend may struggle to make some food for them. Take supplies, and they will be eternally grateful. It’s an easy thing for you to go pick up a few items, but it’s one of the most difficult things in the world for them, especially if they’ve got a child that won’t let them go to the toilet by themselves!

It’s something that we take for granted, that freedom, but we can see how much stress and strain it is to have a child close up when it happens to one of our best friends. Everything becomes an operation, an arduous task, and while we hear the plight of new parents up and down the land, we never really appreciate it until it happens to us. So maybe now is the time to realise how difficult it can be. Sleepless nights are very common, but we’ve got to think about everything else that comes with being a new parent. And if we have a carefree existence, we’d better appreciate it more! It won’t be like this forever for your friend, but their life will have certainly changed.