My Non-Mom Friends who Just Don’t Get it
I love my friends. Sometimes, however, they simply don't get that a one-hour notice to the event of the season is basically an insult. Even if you do have a full-time nanny, a trusty babysitter, or a husband willing to help out, last-second invites, trips away (and anything from the hours of 4-9 at night) aren't a possibility a lot of times.
Being a mother and having friends who aren't can be challenging. Honestly, I get in my feelings sometimes. I feel left out. I feel like my friends aren't sensitive to what I can and cannot make happen. I can't have three cocktails at a lunch date with the girls. Drunk driving and picking kids up from school is umm...well not good. I can't meet you in 30, ever! I cannot drive with you to your boyfriend's house and sit outside for a few hours to see if we can catch him cheating, because... well, I have a bedtime. Where is the empathy, the support, the outreach of understanding? I find myself feeling jealous that ladies without kids can seemingly jump up and go wherever, whenever with nothing to restrain or stop them. Mommy-hood is great, but sometimes it leaves me feeling restricted and most important, LONELY.
Pouting doesn't offer solutions so I had to learn how to navigate being friends with women without kids. I also realized good friends were constantly adapting to me. Don't be afraid to say no. I can't make it. Lay out the reasons why. A good friend will clearly see if you want me to go wherever, (all the excuses for why you can't make it go here XXX) there will be obstacles because of my mom schedule and priorities.
But think about your friends’ needs too. Plan ahead so you have your ducks in a row when it's time to hit the block. Are your friends always coming to your house for wine and gossip? Switch it up. It's great for you to get out of your nest; and thoughtful that your friends can show off their cute pads to you when you come to relax. Don't bring the kids. I know this may sound horrible. This isn't for your friends; this is for you. Hanging with friends is grown up time. When I was a kid, you could get slapped through a wall for even trying to ear hustle a grown person's conversation. Unwind and enjoy. Don't wrestle a baby in your lap while your BFF is trying to go over her wedding colors and in-law drama. It's not fair to either of you.
Communicate with your girlfriends who seem insensitive or clueless to your different needs and how you feel. It's really that simple. I have a ton of girlfriends who have kids and we TOTALLY get each other. One of my best friends hasn't started her family yet and loves being around me and my kids. I have another girlfriend who is a bit of a spinster and never wants kids. I adapt to each one of them accordingly. I also communicate what is on my mind, in the moment, so I am less likely to feel slighted or misunderstood. Part of communicating is listening! Don't forget that part.
In the end, my kids are always first. Yes, I miss out on stuff, but real friends eventually get what it takes to live in my world. I know it's a two-way street and I look for ways I can make it easier to be a great friend even when I have responsibilities non-mommy friends might not understand. Can't go to Cabo for a week? Go for the first two days of the girls’ trip and head home. Can't make it for midnight drunk bowling downtown? Take a nap when the kids are in school, put the kids to bed and attend events while your babies are sleep (dads are great babysitters while kids are sleeping). Sure you might be a bit tired the next day, but making time for you AND making time for your friends is super important.
I love being out with non-mommy friends! No convos about poop, teething, school enrollment, or why Jenny on cheer "has no chill.” Just drinks, great gossip and stories of what it's like out there in the world of "non-parents." There's a balance. It's a lovely dance. So dance with Kimberly from undergrad after three drinks and let your hair down. There will be plenty of dishes you can do later...