3 Ways to Keep Your Childless Friends Close

Recently, I got to thinking about how hard it is to maintain friendships with girlfriends who don't have kids. I'm in the process of planning an upcoming brunch in the city with my son and my newly engaged girlfriend, Nicole. We were BFFs when I lived in NYC many moons ago. She was my partner in crime and we made anything fun: clubbing, brunching, or watching E! while eating animal crackers. We were both young and carefree — and I just got chills thinking about us running in SoHo in heels drinking martinis at this fab place called Pravda downtown. It was the life I had before I became a mom… and now there's the life after. It's just a fact. My life is not the same.  

I have a new crop of friends in my residential area. We all have kids and spend weekends BBQing, drinking a beer or two, cheering our kids on at soccer or baseball — then calling it a night pretty early and crashing in our beds, because we are exhausted from taking care of our kids all day long, LONG. 

But I really started to miss my friends, mainly from NYC, and I'm trying to be much more proactive about seeing them and maintaining our friendships. Even though I can't enjoy a 9 p.m. sushi dinner with them in the city, I know there are tons of other things we can do to stay connected. When I was a little girl Girls Scouts taught me: Make New Friends. Keep The Old. One Is Silver. And The Other Is Gold. Follow my tips to keep your friendships ripe — they work for me! 

1. Plan ahead. No one expects a mom to drop everything and hit up a happy hour at last minute's notice. So, if you know the girls at the office go to happy hour twice a month, aim to stop by at one for an hour. You don't need to drink or eat a lot. Have a cocktail watered down with soda water and order a yummy app. Go home feeling refreshed to tackle homework and bedtime. 

2. No sitter? No problem. Ask your friend if you can do lunch instead of dinner and pick a diner. Why a diner? They notoriously serve booze and have everything on the menu, including chicken fingers, crayons, and coloring sheets for your kid. It's a win-win! 

3. Text! Did something just remind you of your friend and you got that warm, fuzzy pang of nostalgia in your gut? Don't feel sad or bad or let the moment pass — share the feeling. As your kid plays on the jungle gym, send a quick text to your girlfriend: "Just ate gelato with little Jack and it reminded me of the time we ate Ciao Bella every night the summer of 2005." It's a nice way to feel connected!

Do you have any tips on keeping your friends close? Please share!