Friends without babies. Parents, you got any of those?
Let me start by saying I do, some of my closest, most valued friends don’t have kids (and several are free and single bad-ass ladies to boot), but some ladies without babies, ones I thought would stand the test of friendship time have fallen by the wayside since little people have arrived and well, it makes me a little bit sad.
I know it’s nothing new, you hear it all the time the parents/non parents friendship divide… I just feel a bit disappointed, that so called ‘sisters’ and I grew apart when my babies came along.
It reminded me of the time I got married and the majority of male friend I had bid me adieu. Nice. Maybe When Harry Met Sally was right after all? Can men and women really just be friends?
Seriously though, I think people believe there’s not much common ground if you’re married/have kids and they aren’t/don’t…
I mean I didn’t have a clue what having sprogs was like before I actually had them. Nobody can right?
I imagined they were cute doll like beings I could dress up and play with and they would sleep all night, fit right into my life and nothing would really change…erm reality check quickly hit on the arrival of my own ‘dolls’, however cute those sailor suit baby grows are, neither like to sleep (oh joy) and life is (joyously) upside down most of the time!
Considering it further, I think the difference between the friends without babies who are around now and those who aren’t, is the former understood (as best they could) and TRULY appreciated that I’d changed A LOT, that I wasn’t available at the drop of a hat any more, I was tonnes more sleep deprived (and it wasn’t like those weekend benders we enjoyed before because you could sleep those off-with motherhood it’s relentless night after night) and that I had more responsibility now.
They got that I’m a little more sensitive, probably not as confident as I once was and that those children I love more than my life, have changed me irrevocably without a doubt, yet oxomorinically not that much at all-not at the very core. I’m still the little Vicki they always knew with big dreams who loves nothing more than surrounding herself with family, friends, fab food and great films.
I was still me when my first baby came along, just me struggling to adapt to the new me, a transitional time, one where I needed my friends more than ever. Some were there with bells on…others didn’t even send a card.
I understand with some friendships envy can rear it’s ugly head, those who want kids and can’t have them or aren’t in a position to, or those who don’t want the new you but the one who danced barefoot at parties in Cannes and stayed out all night in Soho without a care in the world…(and I am still that girl, just not every Saturday)…There are always times in life where we don’t, can’t and won’t have what others have (how sad and crippling that may be) or have to appreciate someone’s changed circumstances… and part of growing up is dealing with that, right?
Not all friendship is unconditional. Oh no. A huge turning point in life like marriage or kids really makes that clear.
…On the flip side, friends with babies have filled a lot of the gaps (along with NEW child-free friends too) and old friends I’ve rediscovered, now with kids themselves, whom are firmly back in my life.
…I mustn’t forget to add the importance of the support and friendship I’ve found on twitter and in the blogging community too, (many of whom I’ve also met in person too) who’ve laughed and cried with me over the years, held me up (sometimes in the middle of the night with a teething baby) and celebrated happy times including the birth of my second son (I wasn’t on twitter when my first was born), anniversaries and even new jobs.
Life does get crazy with children, I have far less time, energy, patience (sad but true) than I once did but let me tell you, since several friends departed, I’ve valued the ones who’ve stuck around, all the more.
I’m strict about making time for my girlfriends be it girly nights out, the odd weekend away (usually in London to see my mates in the Big Smoke) and I make the effort to ring (even if babies are crying in the background), keeping in touch with friends when I can (which usually means making calls power-walking on the treadmill at 9pm-my friend Amancay can testify to this).
I also love that my cherished child-free friends make a real effort with my kids, they remember birthdays, love hanging out with us all as family and genuinely care.
Motherhood has taught me to love unconditionally, to have greater empathy and be more forgiving and it’s made me realise more than ever, that I mess up (sometimes every single day, many times a day) and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself or others…
Truly, I really don’t blame the friends that fled, I just miss them, that’s all.