I turned 30 this year and most of my friends are all married and have children. My husband and I were late to the game, spending six years in the throes of infertility before finally giving birth to our daughter several months ago. When we finally did, we found ourselves getting closer with the couples around us who had kids.
And I love my mom friends. They are invaluable to me, not only for baby advice, but for moral support. Only they can understand the sleepless nights, the feelings of inadequacy when I had no idea why my baby was crying, the reason my house is perpetually messy. They are there when I just want someone to keep me company when I am nursing my baby at two am. Let’s face it, mom friends pretty much rock.
So what about my friends who are single or married without children?
Prior to having a baby, I wondered how the relationships with my single friends would change once I gave birth. After all, they can’t quite dole out the same advice as my mom friends. They can’t commiserate with me when I tell them my kid spit up all over me for the third time in as many hours. So what happens? Do you slowly drift apart because they aren’t in the same life-stage as you now?
Here’s the thing: It’s easy to let that happen. But I refuse to let it. Because having single and kid-less friends is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Why?
Because your single friends are there to help you have an identity other than a mom. They help you remember who you still are. The writer. That really good cook. The scrapbooker. The one who loves to shop for purses. It’s so nice leaving the baby home with dad and going out for drinks and appetizers and talking about, well, anything besides the baby.
Leave the kids with Dad and ditch the yoga pants. Appreciate the women in your life who are in a completely different stage than you.
The diaper bag stays behind. I can wear my hair down in the most literal sense because I don’t have to worry about hairs being enthusiastically yanked out. We talk about our families, our relationships, what’s going on in the world. The subject of my baby will come up and I can give her the quick and dirty (probably mostly dirty). Then I will lean into the table and ask her to tell me about her date with that guy she met at the coffee shop.
And when I go back home at the end of the night, and the baby is upset and the house is still messy and I know my husband and I are in for another long night of parenting, it’s somehow easier to handle. My emotional fuel tank has been refilled and instead of wanting to cry when the baby spits up all over me, hey, maybe I’ll laugh with my husband this time. Once the baby is in bed, I will send a text to my single friend, “Thanks for coming out to dinner tonight with me. It was so much appreciated!”
Little does she know how she kept me from crying from exhaustion that night. How she gave me the opportunity to tell her about that time I briefly considered going to school for counseling and how messed up that thing with Dani Mathers is. How she helped me find myself amidst the mom-brain and messy bun.
Maybe you haven’t gotten together with your single friends in awhile. Maybe you are wondering if that friendship is even going to work out. My advice? Go for it. Send a text out (because ain’t nobody got time for calls) and make plans. Leave the kids with Dad and ditch the yoga pants. Appreciate the women in your life who are in a completely different stage than you. They are there to enrich you, to refuel you, and to remind you that you are so much more than “Mom.”