When you become a mom it seems that everyone is telling you to find your "mommy tribe." And I agree that it's important. When my son was born I didn't really have any mom friends living in the same city as me. I felt alone, like there was no one to commiserate with. This mommy gig was tough and no one understood what I was going through.
We ended up moving back home where many of my friends and both my sisters were in the thick of it with me. It was so nice to get together for play dates and not feel guilty about leaving parties early for bedtime. I had found my mommy tribe, and it was great.
But I soon realized that having only mommy friends is not the way to go. Think about it. You're all always tired. You always have kids in the mix. You are all sharing the same struggles. In this case, my childless friends have been invaluable to me.
I love hanging out with my friends who don't have kids for so many reasons. They view my kids with fresh eyes. They're not worn out from caring for their own children. They see any time they spend with my kids as fun. They laugh and play and entertain their endless questions. It warms my heart to see them interacting with my kids. And I like to think that I'm preparing them for parenthood in a small way. They get a glimpse at family life and see that they don't have to fear it. Or they get a glimpse and think, "yeah, this isn't for me, but I don't mind playing with them for a little while." When my childless friends offer to babysit I want to hug them and then run away quickly to enjoy some kid-free time. It's great.
Sometimes I just don't want to talk about sleep schedules and ear infections and milestones. I'm over it! I want to talk about other things, non-kid things.
My friends who don't have kids also remind me of who I was before I had kids. The mom role takes over most of my life—even my work revolves around my kids—so I sometimes forget that I used to have a life before I became a mom. I used to be carefree and laugh at inappropriate jokes and listen to music not sung by colorful cartoon characters. It's nice to have some time to remember my old self and embrace her. I can hang out with my friends and just forget about the mom side of me for a little while.
I can even live vicariously through them. I have one friend who gets together with me to let me know all the latest gossip. I love hearing about dating drama and late night shenanigans. My world is so far removed from the craziness of single life. My husband and I simply don't get the opportunity to go out late at night and keep up with who everyone is dating and flirting with it. To be honest, we don't even have the energy for it anymore. But it's nice to be kept in the loop and get drawn into it every once in a while. Sometimes I just don't want to talk about sleep schedules and ear infections and milestones. I'm over it! I want to talk about other things, non-kid things. It's a nice distraction.
So if there's anything I can tell new moms, it's this: Don't forget about your friends who don't have kids. You may feel like you are worlds apart, but that's okay. Remember why you are friends with this person and keep that relationship alive. You will see that they really are valuable to your life.