My best friend and I live polar opposite lifestyles. I’m a married, suburban mom in a mid-sized town. She’s a single woman with no kids in a big city. I always bring her up when someone (usually a parent) claims that, once you settle down and start breeding, you inevitably drift away from your single, childless friends. Really?
I treasure my closest mom friends, the ones I can call when I’m about to break down out of frustration or bursting with motherly pride and/or amusement. They understand my life in a way that few others can. But I’m no less grateful for my friends without kids – the ones who remind me of life’s many child-free pleasures. Things like an uninterrupted conversation (with wine!) in a restaurant that doesn’t have chicken tenders on the menu. Or a home where no one takes every single one of your CDs out of their cases, just for kicks.
It’s not that my non-parent friends aren’t interested in my children. But they create a special, if tiny, place in my life where I don’t have to discuss sleep schedules, playdates, reward charts and summer enrichment camps. Instead, we spend most of our time together discussing books, music, travel, sex, relationships – anything but children, including mine. They validate the parts of me that, frankly, have nothing to do with being a mother. In turn, I think they appreciate that having kids has not turned me into the type of person who sees a life without progeny as aberrant or “without purpose.” I have met these people, and they are to be avoided at all costs.
Without question, my kids are a huge part of my life. But thank God for that small, tidy corner where the adult discussion flows uninterrupted and the CDs stay put.