Motherhood Won't Come Between My Friends and Me

two women walking in park with strollerPicture yourself at a big holiday bash replete with catered grub, pricey scotch, wine and beer, and all other manner of grown-up party trimmings. Take your pick! But for the most part, you're perfectly content hanging out on a couch, catching up with good, old friends. It's okay, cuz you're not a kid anymore. You know this for a fact, because now, most of your friends HAVE a kid or two -- and, well, a lot of the conversation centers on those kids.

At 31, it's no surprise that I'm finding myself in this exact scenario more and more lately. While I'm not yet a mom (and really do not need to be asked again when I plan to be, thankyouverymuch), roughly half of my friends now are. They're moms expecting #2 with a toddler at home, moms with newborns, or even moms of teens.

So, yes, obviously, they're talking about their kids when we get together. But I'm more than happy to be a part of those conversations!

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Believe it or not, the fact that I'm not a mom yet doesn't mean I'd rather gouge an eye out than hear about the SAHM life. I'm not going to groan when friends begin chirping about how many Elsas were in any given preschool class this Halloween or the pros and cons of co-sleeping. And maybe I don't mind talking Bubble Guppies and play dates, because I hope to be in their shoes one day in the near future.

More from The Stir: Can Moms Be Friends With the Child-Free?

Still, we all tend to want to be involved in conversations we can relate to -- and can contribute to! I can't exactly offer savvy advice about the best baby sling or commiserate over having to pump at work. But contrary to popular belief, not all non-moms would rather pass on hearing about their friends' lives once those lives involve raising little ones.

I resent the idea that motherhood is supposed to drive a wedge between women who do not have kids and those who do.

Maybe a woman who isn't a mom yet can't exactly relate to what her friend is going through with her child. But she can certainly be interested and emotionally invested in her friendship. A decent amount of both of those things can go far in maintaining your bond. Yes, even when one of you spends your days negotiating diaper changes and potty training while the other is handling deadlines and train schedules.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that we can change the subject to other common ground -- marriage, finding time for meditation or working out, saving for a down payment, our husbands' funny eccentricities, etc. I'm happy when asked about what's going on in my life sans kids (for now), too. That's part of the deal, after all.

Over the course of any long-term friendship, lives really change -- especially when kids come into the picture. But those changes don't have to put the kibosh on friendship. I'd argue that it's only when we stop caring about one another's changes that there's bound to be trouble. And think about it -- that's true for any relationship!

I feel lucky to say my dear friends who happen to also be moms care about what's going on with me. Why wouldn't I want to hear what's going on with them? Yes, even if it sometimes has to do with teething, tantrums, and trying to fit in time for a shower! (Though I may need to note how I'm relieved I don't have to worry about that last one yet!)

What is the hardest part for you about maintaining your friendships with non-moms (if you are a mom) or moms (if you're not)? How do you make it work?

 

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