At some point between I have cried after a friend told me she was having a baby. Honestly, I was very very happy for her. I knew she and her husband would make great parents and I knew how much they wanted a baby; but I also knew our friendship would never be the same and the thought of that made me incredibly sad. It's selfish and I accept that but I also think it's a part of human nature to think about ourselves.
I read an excellent article on huffington post today that discussed in a very non snarky way what it is like to be childless. Every childless woman over 25 who hangs around groups of women knows the agony of sitting in a group being ignored and kicked out of the conversation when it turns to kids. Hello!?!? Did becoming a mother make you people lose your manners? It is very rude to talk about things that exclude people in front of them. But I sit, smile and try to contribute just to not feel like a 7th grade outcast, been there done that thank you very much. Oh, and how I will try to steer the conversation to something else, but if there are three or more moms in the room it always goes back to kid talk.
I can't say this enough: I GET how important children are. I GET that they are a big part of a parents life. Sure, there are times when I really want the over shares to stop, I love you ladies but we are NOT close enough for me to know about your kid's ongoing diarrhea issues. But I can be and 95% of the time am very happy for my Mommy friends. Because even though its not a phase of life I am in I know that being a Mommy makes my friends very happy.
What I cannot be happy for however is the self righteous attitude that being a parent somehow makes one a better human with a more meaningful life than the rest of the population. And this is what made me cry, what if this friend, whom I love and love spending time with becomes one of those unbearable "my life has the kind of meaning you can never understand" mombots? It's happened more than once. And really, if someone is ridiculous enough to think because they performed a biological function that half of the world's population is capable of that this suddenly makes them a higher life form than I will be sad over it but they can go away and take their snotty attitude with them. For me I've already dismissed these people but their OMG, look how great I am because I have a kid posts make me angry for how hurtful it can be. It says to people oh, what you do with your life can't possibly be as important as what I do with mine and it is especially cruel to those trying to have kids but can't. Screw those mombots! I don't doubt that people find having kids to be very meaningful, the world wouldn't be full of them if they didn't, but having kids is just one of MANY ways people find meaning in their life. This self righteous behavior also suggests that everyone has to have the same human experience, that they way this person lives their life is the right and just way we all should be living. Nope, don't think so.
My favorite part of the huff post article though was when the author talked about loving her friend's kids but loving her friends more. I'll admit it, when I'm stuck in those awful situations where women won't stop talking about kids or when I have a friend who I don't get to see in real life that only posts about mom stuff I am screaming on the inside WHY DON'T YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST BESIDES YOUR KIDS !?!?!??!? But to say that in a nicer way I'm thinking, where did you go my sweet, wonderful, funny, beautiful friend? Why do you never posts pictures of yourself online anymore - I want to see your smiling face in my newsfeed pretty please. Usually, I can tell after a few months if we're still going to be friends - See, I'm am adult, and I like to be friends with other adults and while an adult may be operating the FB profile or having the conversation if it's all about baby than I don't know the adult that used to be my friend anymore.
I see lots of talk out in the world about losing friendships over momhood, it's just a sad but real part of being an adult woman. I'm super jealous that this doesn't seem as common among the dads. I know that there are lots of moms who feel their childless friends don't understand but the reality is as your friend I don't get mad that you have to cancel our plans because your kid got sick, I understand that plans must be in advance and random 3 hour cocktails on a Tuesday are no more. I don't dispute your changing priorities , I just hope to stay on the list - even if I get pushed down a few rungs.
I like to thing having childless friends has lots of benefits. We can help you with your résumé and interview outfit when you renter the workforce after a 6 year break, we can tell you the must have seasonal purchase when you're saving for private school tuition and have a limited clothing budget. We are in fact available for a last minute glass of wine when you have those got to get out of the house moments (we're also probably available as a last minute babysitter if its something important and there's a bottle of wine reward). We can talk books, movies, TV shows or whatever silly topics you want to talk about. We're a source of adult conversation when you spend your day with a little human who only knows five words and most importantly were someone who can tell you how awesome you are. All you have to do is remind us once in a while that among the diaper changes, baby milestones, preschool waiting lists, and hunt for the hottest toy at Christmas that you're still there and you still want to be our friend.