In general, I think many people who don’t have kids are a bit lost on how to navigate their friendships when their friends start having kids. I get that life because I lived that life.
Most of my friends had children before me and I was left (what felt like in the dust) trying to figure out how to be a friend to them. I didn’t know how and some of those friendships didn’t make it. And so, my post is inspired by that.
Around 26 years old, I realized that I had two types of friends.
Friends with kids.
And friends without kids.
I had EB at 28 years old. This was decent timing for my life as I thoroughly got to enjoy the majority of my 20’s, start a career and felt like I was “ready”. My core girlfriend group was in place, I had a great new marriage (although a little TOO new but that’s a post for another day) and so I became one of them. A parent. A mother. And that’s when my friendships started changing like crazy.
Here’s the thing…for women like me who NEED friends who are also women, this was incredibly jarring and unexpected. From both sides, you’ve got me…a needy mom who is struggling but still needs her friends and my friends who don’t have children who are trying to figure out how to fit into my baby-obsessed life. What are they supposed to do? I wish I had the forthright to sit down and talk with them about it BEFORE baby came but I was oblivious then. I didn’t know how much our friendships would change.
But now I know and if I can help another mom friend or friend who wants to continue to support her friends who are moms, then it was all worth it.
- Be there. That’s it. Our friendship is going to change. It’s unavoidable but even when I’ve missed your calls, text messages and requests to hang out, can you still be there for me? Please? Some times you may be reaching out more and it may seem that I don’t care. I DO CARE. I care SO much.
- Stop saying, “I’m not a Mom but…” Girl. Stop saying that. My being a Mom doesn’t have anything to do with you not being a Mom. I don’t CARE! I care about you – not your desire on if you want kids or not. That’s not important to me. Please stop bringing it up. It makes things awkward.
- You don’t have to like kids to support me. Some of my friends who don’t have kids feel uncomfortable around children. Or they flat out don’t like them. Fine. That’s your right. Supporting me by asking about my kids is STILL support. No one is asking you to babysit them while I go to Fiji. Relax, girl. There are 100 ways to support me without turning into a kid lover.
- Don’t assume that I don’t need you. I know you’re not a mind reader. I know you may not be able to relate to the life I’m living right now. I don’t always say it but I need you. You matter to me. I’m frazzled and have 19,000 thoughts going on at one minute but don’t ever doubt that you’re needed in my life.
- Don’t think you can’t tell me about how fantastic your life is. I know I’m covered in sleep deprivation, demands and regular craziness. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about the wonderful things that are happening in your world. Don’t hold them back on account of me.
- Get to know my kids. Even if you don’t like kids, if you’re going to be a friend to a friend with kids, you should probably get to know their kids. I promise you…they’ll love you.
- Take the initiative. Yeah, girl. I said it. It’s not fair, I know. At this point in my life (and especially for moms with younger kids, older kids with crazy schedules, special needs kids and single moms) I need you to call me. Check in on me. Make plans for us. Be okay with a chaotic lunch date with my kids. I need you to call me out when I’m not reciprocating but do know that I’m trying.
- Watch the negative crap you say about kids. Parents are sensitive about their kids. Yeah, we can call them irritating little minions but you can’t. I also don’t want to hear your tirade about how the pregnant lady in your office is sick all the time or how annoyinggggg kids are on a plane. Duh. We know that but saying it doesn’t make anyone feel better. Check yourself, dear friend.
- Don’t forget about me. There may be times when we lose touch. Please don’t leave me hanging. I need you. I know I should be valuing you more (and I do, I really do) but please don’t assume that you aren’t needed in my life. You are needed now more than ever.
- Don’t provide unsolicited advice. Parents REALLY hate this. We hate it more when it comes from people who don’t have kids. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, nanny, babysitter or grew up the oldest of 19 kids. Unless we flat out ask, it’s best to zip it – even if you mean well.
I think I covered the basics. What do you think?