It is rubbish when you lose another friend to the cult of parenthood. The friends you drank too much with, danced too hard with and laughed too loud with are suddenly too busy to spend time with you. Your once-fun friend suddenly only wants to talk breastfeeding, modern cloth nappy brands and teething remedies. It well and truly sucks when you have child free friends.
Parenthood can put friendships under strain. Don’t give up hope, though. Your friends still love you; they’re just a little pre-occupied right now. Becoming a parent is a little bit like slipping into a coma but, be assured that your friend will be back one day soon. They may be more interested in staying in than going out and it may sometimes feel like you’re speaking separate languages. It’s only for a short while (well, like, three years at least!), so hang in there.
Your friendship may have changed, but that doesn’t mean that it is game over. You still mean as much to your friend as ever before. And though they probably haven’t found the time to tell you lately, your friend still loves you. She is probably so busy getting used to becoming a mother and adjusting to the radical changes in her own life and role that she hasn’t been able to see or reach much beyond her own overwhelm.
Here’s some things parents want their child free friends know:
Child Free Friends #1: We Still Love You
Please don’t ever doubt that you are loved. You are just as important to us as you ever were. You remind us of lazy summer afternoons, young rebellion and staying up too late. We love you, and we always will. Even if we can’t seem to find the time to tell you that, please always know it to be true.
Child Free Friends #2: We Don’t Know What You’re Talking About
When you’re talking about the new band you love, if it’s not Elsa from Frozen, then I’m afraid we don’t know what you’re talking about. When you’re raving about the new deli you love, if it doesn’t host a baby group there on a Tuesday morning, then we probably haven’t been. Try to imagine early parenthood a bit like being in either a coma or a cult. We know nothing about the outside world, but are now experts at all things to do with babies. Seriously, if you want to know something about blocked ducts, cradle cap or chicken pox – ask away.
Child Free Friends #3: We Want To Ring You But We Can’t
There is nothing we would love more than an hour long phone call with you. We want to cozy up on the sofa with a cup of tea, and chat to you about everything and anything that’s going on right now. We want to hear all your news, and find out what you’ve been up to. But we can’t. Because as soon as you answer, the baby will start crying and the toddler will throw a huge tantrum. We just can’t carve out enough time to speak to you, because the time doesn’t exist it. We wish it did, because we miss our chats. And we can’t wait to start them up again regularly in, say, five years’ time.
Child Free Friends #4: We’re A Little Bit Jealous Of You
Life with kids is wonderful. It stretches your heart to a size you didn’t know possible, and fills every corner of your existence with love and pride. It is amazing, seriously. But that doesn’t mean we’re not just a little bit jealous of your child-free life. We would love to have impromptu nights out, go to see all the latest theater shows, and head off for a weekend away at a moment’s notice. We love you, but you make us feel just a teensy bit jealous sometimes.
Child Free Friends #5: We Want To Hear About Your Life
The jealousy doesn’t stop us wanting to hear about it all though. Please don’t think that we’re not interested in you anymore just because you don’t have kids. We want to hear all about your travels, parties and dates. We want to know you just as well as we used to, even if we only have a fraction of the time to spend with you these days.
Child Free Friends #6: Our Kids Are Dependent On Us
We know you miss us, we miss you too. But, our kids really need us right now. They can’t feed, dress or bathe themselves without help. It won’t be like this forever, but for now we can’t really just ditch our kids at a moment’s notice. It might drive you insane when we bring our babies along to brunch, but it’s either that or no brunch at the moment. We’re not using the kids as an excuse, or being really overprotective, we’re just doing what ours kids need.
Child Free Friends #7: You Make Us Feel Like ‘Us’ Again
It is so easy to get lost in parenthood. When you spend all of your time focused on the needs of someone else, it can be easy to forget who you are. It’s hard to stay true to yourself when you don’t have the time to invest in the things you love. But whenever we start to feel like that, we know that all we need is a couple of hours with you and we’ll feel like our old selves again. And there is no way we will ever be able to explain just how grateful we are for that.
Child Free Friends #8: We Are Knackered By Bedtime
We know you think we’re not making any effort because we don’t hang out with you after our kids are in bed. But we didn’t get any sleep last night (or for the many nights before that), we’ve been up since 6am and the first moment we had to ourselves today was after bedtime when we sat on the sofa. Trust us when we say we wouldn’t be good company on the average evening. We’re barely human, clinging onto n evening before giving in and eventually falling asleep only to be disturbed by whichever tiny human crawls into our beds first.
Child Free Friends #9: We Want You In Our Kids Lives
You are wonderful, kind and hilarious. All of the reasons we love you as a friend, are exactly the reasons we want you to be a friend to our kids too. We want them to know and love you like we do. So please come to birthday parties, make the effort to talk to our kids, and let them develop a special bond with you, because we know how lucky our kids will be to have you in their lives.
Child Free Friends #10: We’re Sorry We Embarrass You
It’s not easy to admit, but we know we embarrass you on nights out these days. Whereas you remain as cool and collected as ever, we are like rabid children running wild in a sweet shop. Sorry, we don’t get out much these days. It’s not easy (nor cheap) finding a babysitter, let alone summoning the energy to attend a night out. So on the rare occasions we make it, we like to make up for lost time. That’s why we bought all those shots, danced on the stage, and cried when it was time to go home. Sorry, it’s just really nice to be out.
For more information on Empty Nesters, we recommend you review the following:
Empty Nest Syndrome
To find out more child free options, you can read BellyBelly’s article:
Child free night at home