I got married later in life and didn’t give birth to children until two months before turning 35. Therefore, I had a lot of time in life where I was the single gal without kids. Feeling very Bridget Jones at times, I didn’t quite understand my friends who had children. I often felt belittled, unloved, and felt the friendships were neglected. Now I have children, and am coming to a new understanding. I have had a huge “a-ha” about a number of things my friends with kids were doing.
NOW I GET IT!
Here’s what I’ve learned!
- Why don’t you ever answer your phone? I always took offense to this, but now I know why. You don’t answer your phone because you literally can’t talk. You weren’t ignoring me, you were probably doing me a favor. Amidst the little demands and begging for treats, you literally would have sounded close to a person with turrets. We couldn’t have had a conversation, at least a fluid one, even if you had answered. I now realize you would have loved nothing more than an adult conversation, but there was nowhere private to go (not even the bathroom!).
- You’re Ditching Our Plans Again! As a twenty-something, childless lady, I found the frequent cancellations from my mommy friends to be quite annoying. Another realization I’ve come to find out about. Again, the cancellation probably had nothing to do with me. It had more to do with the small window in which everything is going well in your home. Is everyone healthy (the more kids in the family the less likely this is)? Were you able to get enough sleep last night or is some child keeping you awake? Is there a child event that has come up since making the plans? I now realize that all plans are made with the best intentions to fulfill, but motherhood is like the weather in Wisconsin…we can’t predict what’s going to happen from day to day.
- Where are you? This one was a huge pill to swallow. I always pride myself on being on time or early. So I found myself quite annoyed with my mommy friends. Why are you always late? I’m not keeping you waiting!! Again, I learned this one through my own practice. I now realize that children should add a 15 minute window with which to give grace. You can’t rationalize with a little person about not being late. I now realize my friends, where you were… you were begging a child to get on their coat. You were chasing down a toddler and holding them down to get their shoes on. You had everyone strapped in the car and then smelled something…poo. Who did it? I now know exactly where you were… you were sweating you @ss off, trying to meet me.
- Can We Talk about Something Besides your Kids?! You only talked about your kids. Now I realize it was because they literally are your entire life. As a stay-at-home mom, I now find I can add very little to an adult conversation. I’m not reading any books. I’m not traveling the world. I’m not in any extra-curricular activities apart from the swim classes I take for Tyler. From the time my head leaves the pillow, I’m pretty much spending every second with my children. So I get it now. Life revolves around these little buggers, and apart from how I squeezed in a shower, or the events of my morning workout, I have nothing else but my children to talk about. Now I get that ten years ago, most of my friends were probably envious of the travel tales I could tell, or my hobbies, but they didn’t have anything similar to add. I feel the same way when my childless friends talk about a great night out, a new run they are training for, or happening vacation. My end of the conversation is either crickets or …. about my kids.
- You Never Keep in Touch. I found in my motherless 20’s I was always the one following up and keeping the friendships going. I had no idea what my friends with kids were dealing with. Now I get it. There are times I remind myself twice a day to call someone, but it still takes a week to execute. Unless you want to get a call at 5am, I have a hard time these days communicating. Even the best intentions, or making a plan of time to connect, can fall through at any given moment. And reaching out while the children are awake? Well see #1. I realize now that parents have a harder time keeping up with relationships outside the home. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a reality. I feel much better now that I realize it wasn’t me, and my friends of my 20’s weren’t out rocking better plans… they were at home trying to keep their households in line.
Having my own kids has truly been an enlightening experience! To my old friends, I’m sorry I doubted our friendships and my worth to you. I now realize the impact kids have on your life, including friendships!