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Should We Stop Talking About Our Kids?

Photograph by Getty Images

Picture this: I’m meeting three girlfriends for dinner at a trendy restaurant, and I’m excited. Since having a child, my girls’ night out frequency has dipped from a few times a week to once in a blue moon, and I’m eager for some adult female company.

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I’ve squeezed my post-baby body into a cute outfit, applied actual makeup (despite having to “share” brushes with my toddler) and showed up ready for the customary exchange of hyperbolic compliments (“Those shoes are divine!”) and juicy gossip. It’s all fun and games until one friend asks about my daughter. As I launch into the story of her latest crib escape, our other friend barks, “No! We are not talking about our kids tonight. Surely you must have SOMETHING else going on in your life that you can share with us.”

I was stunned. And annoyed. Why should this woman be able to dictate the topic of conversation? Wasn’t it my evening just as much as hers? Of course the bigger problem was that with kid talk off the table, I was tongue-tied. What else was going on my life besides preschool applications and mommy-and-me music class? Um…

I find it hard to exist outside my bubble of motherhood right now.

I stammered for a while, then managed some details about my latest freelance writing job. “See, was that so hard?” chided my friend.

The truth is, yes. I find it hard to exist outside my bubble of motherhood right now. It’s what matters most to me. It’s nearly all I think about. Shouldn’t a friend be able to respect that, and not harsh on me before I’ve even ordered a cocktail? Sheesh.

But a little voice in my head wondered if she was right. Should girls’ night out be a holiday from all things mommy?

After all, this opinionated friend of mine is a stay-at-home mother of not one but three small children. For her, uninterrupted grown-up time is rare, and I was killing it with my baby babble. It was as if she had gone to a tranquil spa to relieve work stress and I’d started yammering on my cell phone about the stock market.

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Plus, when forced to talk about my life outside of motherhood, I was reminded that I do have interests, hobbies and plans that go beyond children’s birthday parties. As a result, our conversations that night were more Sex and The City, less Dora the Explorer, which I’ll admit was an improvement.

When you go out with friends, do you avoid or embrace the kid talk?

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