When I became a mom in 2009, I read a lot of articles about
how to make mom friends. At the time, it seemed a given that I would meet other
moms at all of the places moms hang out with kids. But I didn't read very much
about making friends—or maintaining friendships—with child-free women. At 42,
most of my friends were either child-free or had kids who were practically
grown, and I was shocked that my new mom status cost me a few of those
Friends who didn't like kids or didn't have the patience to
accommodate my new schedule and exhausted life faded away into the
sunset. But I continue to treasure the child-free friends who have stayed in my life and enjoy making new friends, whether
they're parents or not.
We all need at least one person who keeps us sane in a world of chicken nuggets and "Sesame Street," right? Here are some great reasons to have child-free friends:
On days when I feel like I don't even resemble the woman I used to be, I schedule a lunch date with a child-free friend and feel refreshed.
I'll always be a mom, but I won't
always have kids underfoot or something sticky on my jeans (unless I put it
there myself). My friends who don't have kids are a touchstone to those
seemingly long ago days when I got more sleep and had more time. On days when I
feel like I don't even resemble the woman I used to be, I schedule a lunch date
with a child-free friend and feel refreshed.
2. You don't have to talk about your children if you don't
Yes, when I first had my oldest
son I was completely immersed in all things motherhood. (Who am I kidding, I
pretty much still am—it's part of the job.) But you know what? There's more to
me than this mom gig and sometimes it's nice to talk about something other than
my kids. That's hard to do with a mom friend—one or both of us will inevitably
bring up our kids. So my child-free friends give me the freedom to have a
child-free conversation, if I want it.
3. They'll keep you updated on what's
going on in the world.
I admit it: I'm not
as up-to-date on current events as I used to be. It's hard when I rarely have time to
read the news and can't turn on the TV until after 8 p.m. I count on my
child-free friends to catch me up on the recent election, tell me what hot new
cable series I should watch and give me the run down on the new Italian
restaurant down the street. In a kid-centered life, it's nice to know what's
going on outside my door.
4. Sometimes you need a boost from a child-free friend.
I love my mom friends and I rely on their wisdom
and support, but sometimes I just want to vent to someone who isn't going to
say, "Me, too!" My child-free friends are great about making me feel good about
my often chaotic life. On a day when it feels like I'm juggling a dozen balls
and dropping half of them, it's wonderful to have a someone hand me a
glass of wine and say, "I don't know how you do it."
I have a couple of amazing
child-free friends who remember my kids' birthdays, buy them gifts for no
reason, offer to babysit and have time for my boys that my mom friends just
don't have because they have kids of their own. I remember those days of being
the child-free friend and happily nurturing other people's children because I
had the time (and money) to do so. My child-free friends not only enrich my
life, but they are there for my children, too. And that makes them even better than
friends—it makes them family.