Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: To Befriend or Not?

06/11/2012 at 07:00 PM ET

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her roles as Serena on Law & Order and Kate on Angel, has been blogging for PEOPLE.com for over a year now.

The actress, 39, currently stars as Taylor on The Client List, while her film Transit is out now, with Officer Down following later this year.

She can be found on Facebook, Google + and @ElisabethRohm.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 4-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — reflects on the changes in her friendships since becoming a mother.

Did you stay close to your pre-children friends? Replace them with news ones? Keep both? Share your experience in the comments.

About to ride a rollercoaster! – Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

Don’t you hate it when you’re flat out wrong about something? I’m not saying I need to be right all the time (although it doesn’t hurt!), but dead wrong? On second thought, being wrong can be very refreshing and an opportunity for change? This is mostly true when it adds an overall improvement to your life, I’d say.

I’m thinking of parenthood as I say this, of course. Yes, parenthood has improved my life in absolutely every way, despite the headaches that arise from time to time from the sound of my own parental voice. Or those rare moments when I would prefer to do nothing and not be at everyone’s beck and call.

Other than that, parenthood has been the best change I’ve experienced … for sure! It’s come with many unexpected twists and turns.

For instance, I remember hanging out with my childless friends when I was pregnant with Easton, saying, “Nothing will ever come between us.” On no! I’d try to convince them that I would not cast them aside for some new friend that I’d meet because of my daughter.

Ron and I swore up and down that we would stick with our current friendships and not be swayed into new ones because of our future daughter’s budding social life. I recall us saying countless times to each other, “Who would base a friendship on their kid’s relationships? That’s cray-cray!” This was of course before Easton had entered the scene and changed the focal point completely in every aspect of our lives — even our relationship, dare I say.

On another note, who would change their lifestyle to accommodate their children’s needs? This is what the single unmarried or newly-married couple thinks. This is what we thought before we had a little one.

I actually distinctly remember thinking that Easton would just have to fit into our world; she’d come out to dinner with us and simply tag along to all of our life events. This was said by someone who now falls asleep at 9:30 p.m. and often doesn’t go out and about anywhere without her kid. When I do go out it’s usually is some new kid-friendly activity that I might not have done before Easton’s arrival.

I’m just saying … things have changed. I was wrong!

When I was pregnant, I swung so far in this direction of not wanting to make baby-related friends all that I avoided the whole mommy-and-me circuit. You know, the diaper changing courses, bottle-feeding tips, support groups, breastfeeding training days, swaddling … you name it. I skipped all those classes and social scenes and stayed within my clan, asking my mom, my aunts and those friends that had gone before.

Of course, the pregnancy thing was very bonding with my friends that had children already. I barely realized that those very friendships had sagged too, somewhere in the middle, due to the pesky children they’d had and my swinging single lifestyle. Now they were breathing with new life. Yet, it truly didn’t dawn on me that if those friendships were getting reinvigorated, then perhaps I might benefit from making new friends that shared the kid component in common.

So it was the same in regards to my friendships with my single set. I was sure that we’d be friends forever, hanging out and talking about their latest guy problem or lasciviousness from the previous night’s activities. What did I need them to know about kids for? That’s not the basis of friendship. Or is it?

As school began for our little one, Ron and I were friendly but we kept a comfortable distance, knowing that we were rich in the friendship department. We were happy to host playdates, but turn a play date into dinner with the other kid’s family? Take a day trip as a group? Share repeated weekend fun just because our kids are buddies? No, not us…

Then it happened — what I had previously been on the receiving end of. Friends tired of my non-child friendly world, things changed and our interests started to turn towards these newer friendships in a natural way, without our planning. We began to find we had much more in common with the people who were parenting our kid’s nearest and dearest. We discovered that our child’s well being, school path, extracurricular activities and school events were better spent as a community.

Not only was it more convenient to share dinner with said parents after a playdate or school function, but we also found we had so much more to talk about since these little ones are the apple of our eye and shall I say it — gasp — the center of our universe … they most certainly are our heart’s center and have become the grounding force in the latest chapter of our lives.

Not to mention that I now totally get why my friends who had kids weren’t hanging out with me all that much when I was one of the childless ones. I mean for goodness sake, we eat dinner at 6 p.m.! Like ships passing in the night.

It’s been a couple of years now and I have made some profound friendships through Easton. Not only through her friends, but just by being a mother. Thanks to Easton, my whole world has grown exponentially. I meet people I never would have because we share children in common.

It’s funny that I laughed at the idea before. Somehow it made me feel like I was being domesticated and losing an edge. But the truth is, I love our family life and the shared bond of raising children is a tremendous connecting point, right ladies? Like this blog for instance — I love sharing motherhood with you all.

Easton has made my world much more exciting, social and productive through all the new friendships she’s brought our way. In the end, I have found that nothing connects you more to others than the commonality of family. I delight in raising our children together, PEOPLE.com readers.

This time I was pleased to be wrong…

At the event – Albert Michael/Startraks

Just a few pics to keep you updated on our lives these days! Easton is growing like a flower! 

Last month, we went to a great celebration and launching of the Havaianas for Baby Buggy collection. It offers matching adult and children’s styles custom-designed by Courteney Cox, Nina Garcia, Rebecca Romijn and Tori Spelling. The collaboration is all for a good cause, as 10 percent of sales will be donated directly to the nonprofit.

It was such fun! Check them out …

Until next time,

— Elisabeth Röhm

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eyeswideshut on

I think our friendships are what effort we put into them.

I am the single, childfree friend. I know when friends have kids they will no doubt be in the child world, espec if it’s their first kid because it’s all new to them, and then as they work out their balance you can catch up more as the kid gets older and they sleep more.

I make an effort to get to know their kids and we do combination of kid friendly catch ups and non-kid friendly catch ups (like nights on the town). They make an effort about my life too.

It’s give and take.

Certainly some friendships will naturally fall of as people start new jobs or move away, change etc.

But others fall off because one party won’t make the effort.

Not judging you, but have YOU made an effort to be in your pre-kids friends’ life? It’s not as if you can’t get a babysitter, ask your partner to do a roster so you both get to have catch ups with your all your pre-kid friends. If you want them to make an effort, you also need to do the same.

There is room for all sorts of friends from different eras of us, there is no reason to drop them just because you have a kid.

SA on

I agree with the first commenter. Friendships are what you make them. I’m not a parent, but I’ve lost many close friends to parenthood. On the other hand, I have good friends who became parents but still made an effort to maintain our friendship, as did I.

To say you can only have certain kind of friends limits yourself as a person, whether you’re saying I can only be friends with other parents or whether you’re saying I can only be friend with people whose politics or religion matches up with mine.

Monica on

I always laugh when I hear people who don’t have kids talk about how they will NOT change their lives when they have kids. Like the baby is going to change his/her style to fit into their lives- not the other way around like truly happens. I just nod my head and tell them that plans are made to be broken- a nice way of thinking but not saying “Ok fool. If you think so!”

I lost some friends a year ago because our lives were so different- I’m a SAHM and they were all career oriented and their dogs were their children. Now they too have kids and I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall to see how their lives have changed and how they are coping with the change.

I have also made some really great friends thru my kids and I wouldn’t change a thing. When you choose to have kids you have to embrace every part of it.

Courtney on

It takes effort to keep up friendships once you have children, whether your friends have children themselves or not. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.

But last week I had lunch with two girlfriends and brunch with another, and it was fabulous – my friends are my friends, regardless of if they have had kids or not. They each bring something different and special to my life.

I get what you are saying – friends with kids do have a lot in common with you if you have kids, too. But I would never limit myself to only having friends with kids! I am a person outside of motherhood, and I enjoy all of my friendships.

I also try not to live my life with so many rules – if you want to have dinner with someone, then ask them to dinner. Why does it matter if they have kids or not?

Eryn on

I’m a SAHM, and it’s great to get out during the week with other mommy-friends, but I still keep the 2 close friends I had from high school, they ones I can pour my heart out to. They are both childless, but we still have things in common. I can listen to them talk about their life, and either envy or think how happy I am where I am now, lol. I love them, but both lifestyles have their positive and negative aspects.

I do love it when I can relate about parenting and marriage with my married friends who have children. It just makes life a bit easier, knowing people are going through similar things, lol, and we can share parenting tips.

Shannon on

If they are real friends they will stick around. If not they will slither away.

Dani on

It’s extremely unhealthy for all parties involved to make your child the focal point of your life and your relationship with your spouse.

tango on

I think its sad Easton is an only child

El on

I’m sure she’s a darling mother, and that they’ve got a healthy family unit. However, I am getting VERY tired of hearing about how motherhood has changed this and that famous person’s relationships and lives.

As a mom of two pre-schoolers, I definitely appreciate my parent friends and my childless friends- in different ways. I also tend to not friend other parents who only seem to be able to talk about their kids. It’s a whole different level of nauseating.

I appreciate good parenting role models in Hollywood. But this ‘blogging constantly about your kids’ stuff is just as obnoxious coming from famous people, as it is coming from the other moms at playgroups.

mimi on

im actually friends with handful of women whose lives didn’t “change” much from their previous lifestle when they had a child. i think they were actually happier with the love and joy their little ones bought into their lives and the contentment of being mothers, but they essentially were able to maintain friendships, fabulous homes, a (gasp!) social life and even work. i think this is attributed to their amazing organisational skills and family/friends support but i admire their ability to do so. i dare say it would not be an easy feat.

of course things “changed”… the good changes that comes with starting a family and accommodating first and foremost to your child. but certainly these women made an effort to maintain their friendships “pre-child” and don’t revolve their ENTIRE existence around their child. my mother was the same, and i’ve grown up watching my aunties keep their “old” friendships but make new ones too.

i can’t imagine losing my best friend because either of us had a baby.

(and off tangent: isn’t 6pm a normal time to eat dinner? im in my twenties and i dont know anyone who would eat dinner after, at latest, 8pm! could be a cultural thing though as im in australia)

Chloe on

I loved this blog. I am in the same boat with 15 month old twins… I am an older mom and have maintained friendships since high school. I still make time for those friends (movies after the kids are asleep, drink out), but I find myself reaching out more to the mom who’s child is friends with mine. Its nice to see that someone else is going thru the same thing…nothing wrong with having many new friends as well as old friends! 🙂 Best of luck Elisabeth, you seem like a wonderful mom!

Kitty on

My best friend and I, who I’ve known since we were 4 yrs old (we’re both now 36), remained close even after she married at 21 and started a family right away. I was childless for 11 of the years since she married and started a family. She is a SAHM who chose marriage and motherhood over college and career. I went away to college and chose career before marriage.

We managed to stay close throughout those 11 years but it was evident that we were running of things to share. Her life did revolve around her children and I had none to talk about. I shared with her my career ups and downs and she was content with that because I gave her a view of another world that she hadn’t experienced. But I wasn’t fulfilled with that friendship as sad as it sounds.

I tried to maintain a close relationship for those 11 years but it was difficult since we had different lifestyles. She didn’t have child care to be able to have a girls night out and if we had a couples dinner date it had to be kid-friendly (pizza joint, etc).

I married at 28 and had my first child at 32 and am currently pregnant with my second. My life has changed since having children but it’s still not like hers. The age gap between my child and her kids is huge so playdates are moot. I am a working mother lucky enough to have a wonderful job/career that gives me supreme flexibility to participate in all my pre-schoolers functions/school parties/etc.

I have made new friends and so has she. We remain in contact but it’s not as frequent as before. She has pursued a college degree and will be entering the workforce in a few years. I will be 44 years old and able to retire from my job in 8 years. I will stay home then just as my friend enters the workforce. So our lives will still be on different paths.

It is easy to say, “friendship is what you make of it”. The truth is that lives do change and friendships evolve. When lifestyles are different and paths have changed it is difficult to keep up and try to hang on to what was there pre-marriage and pre-kids. I still count her as a friend but we are not close anymore.

Nancy on

I’ve never had the approach that one size fits all in friendship, before or after children. I would comment that the friends I thought I made thru my son’s sports participation were the most disappointing. The parent’s level of competition was far and above the kids and if my sons excelled and theirs didn’t, their attitude would go from warm and fuzzy to cold, cold shoulder. I also learned that friends made thru our kid’s friendships, neighbors for instance, ended if our kid’s friendships waned.

Chelsa on

I’m a SAHM, and I didn’t realize the amount of changes that would take place in my entire life let alone the friendship department. I kinda agree with the consensus, friendships are what you make of them.

I was a super achiever in the corporate world pre-kids and naturally my hubby and my friendships/lifestyle followed along that path. That said, my deepest friendships while changing; no more spur of the moment wine nights, grew along with the changes in my life. I believe that’s the beauty of deep friendships, the ones that are really worth the effort grow with you. Those are the friendships that are worth, “planning special lunch dates with”, where my daughter and I take them out to lunch, or planning a night for girl chat and wine.

The best part is that as those friendships begin to take the plunge into marriage and motherhood [I was the first of all my friends to reach these milestones] I got to be the friend who could help navigate them through the sometimes murky and challenging world of chaos that is motherhood.

To make a long winded post short, I don’t believe its about changing friends it’s about finding ways to enrich your friendships allowing them to grow with you, while at the same time, bringing in new friends into the circle as your life becomes more rich. ; )

Amy on

I find it kind of strange that she was so opposed to making friends with other parents in the first place. Why would you be closed off and”keep your distance” like that? There are a few Moms out there who try to act like they’re too cool to hang out with other moms because they had or ahve a career and don’t want to be defined by motherhood-whatever. They are just as judgemental as a stayathome mom who dumps her prechild friends.

I am a Mom who had a big career before kids and now I work at a more flex job. My job was everything to me but that needd to change and now that I have kids I see that there are more important things than clsing the next deal and billing clients etc. There is nothing more important than how my kids will turn out. naturally, I have met new friends thru other Moms-I want people in my life who share that value.

Amy on

Don’t mean to insult her buyt having ONE kid doens’t really make you an authority on parenting-try 3 or 4 and see what happens when you and your spouse are outnumbered-its just “hobby” parenting until then. Now that I have 3 one kid seems like a joke-I could take one anywhere and do almost anything-try corraling 3. And those moms that have 3 plus have my complete admirationa and awe.

flh76 on

Wow, I’m glad to know that I am “hobby parenting” because I have only one child, and I am not planning on having anymore. Also glad to hear that others think that is “sad.”

Women are so darn horrid to each other. We complain about being subjugated by men. In reality, its other women that keep us down. Such a shame.

I understand Elisabeth’s point, although I disagree. My friendships haven’t changed. I understand my friends with kids a LOT more now, and we definitely have grown closer because we have more in common. Some of my husband’s friend’s wives, I hung out with them but really didn’t have anything in common until I had a child too. But my still childless friends? Still close to them too. They keep me sane and help me remember that I was a person with goals and interests of my own, long before I became a mother, and that doesn’t end because I am a mother now. Both kinds of friendships are important.

Jen on

Thank you for this post! As I was reading, I felt as if you were taking words/thoughts right out of my mouth and I really can relate to your experience. It’s just easier to be “friends” with people that have so many common grounds; kids, schools, community etc. Of course you will not forget about your pre-children friends, the relationships are simply different and if you are like me, the second you are with these friends again, it’s as if no time (or children) has past/come into the mix.

This is the first time I read your blog and I am a fan! Please keep blogging!

HC on

Hobby parenting? What a horrid little person someone must be to come up with such a phrase.

I can’t stand how competitive and judgmental some women can be about parenting. It’s ridiculous.

Gisselle on

I loved your Post. I enjoyed it alot. Even though my kids are older than yours (daughter 13 and son 9)i remember feeling alot like you.

Everythnig you wrote is real. Even though you don’t want to stop seeing your single friends, you feel you have a lot in common with the ones that have children. That is normal, and feeling guilty is also normal. When you have kids your life completly changes. You have other interest and everthing revolves around your children 🙂