Dear child-free friends,
Our lives may be different now. Your priority might be your career, your partner, your desire for travel or caring for your pets. While I may be entrenched in diapers and kindergarten registration, you may be building your dream home or calculating your next job move. Our lives may be different, and they both matter.
I want you to know that even though I try not to talk incessantly about my children, I still appreciate how much interest you show in them. I love how you ask to see pictures and are genuinely enthused with how much they have grown. I apologize if I don’t always give your life’s journey the same attention. I will do better to ask you more questions and listen to your triumphs and struggles.
If we are close, I already know why you don’t have children. If I don’t know your reason, I respect that we are not at the point in our relationship where we can freely discuss these matters. If you desire children, but simply have been unable to have one, I will offer you continued love and support. I will listen to your stories of IVF treatments or adoption hurdles. I will respect you enough to not say things like, “it wasn’t meant to be,” or “maybe you just need to relax.” If you choose not to have kids, I will respect your decision, and listen to your reasons. Although, I personally think both men and women should be careful about saying they never want children, I am sure you have made this choice with careful consideration, and it is not my place to judge or try to sway you otherwise.
I am sure you have seen the countless memes poking fun at non-parents’ lack of understanding of the parental experience. While I do laugh at these, because, sometimes, raising kids, mean you do need a good chuckle, I never want to compare my life to yours. Yes, I am often very exhausted, and have gone many nights on only a few hours sleep. But, I’m sure you have as well. Maybe you were up every hour cleaning up after your sick dog, or maybe you pulled an all-nighter to prepare for an exam. Acknowledging your struggles doesn’t devalue my own experience.
I am sorry for those last-minute cancellations and long overdue phone calls. You are a good friend for understanding how kids can completely upend your social life. I want you to know that even though our get-togethers may be months or years apart, they always remind me of the importance of our friendship. And if I happen to bring a kid with me, thank you for being so cool about having a tot tag along. If I am child-free for the night, thank you for aiding me in having a chance to enjoy being adult once in a while.
Others may think we have so little in common now, so we can’t possibly stay friends. I say, “screw that!” I hope our friendship is important enough to survive the differences in our lives. I know I need to do my part, and I promise, I will do better.
Your Friend (With Kids)
Love this as my very good friend, who was even my maid of honor at my wedding over 10 years ago is still my bestie even after all these years. She isn’t married and doesn’t have kids and we still do our best to remain close. I thank god she understands that my life may be crazy, as hers is even without, but we both make the effort to keep the friendship alive. Thanks for the reminder though that it is indeed possible 😉
Fantastic and inspiring article. I’m currently an analyst in San Francisco and actually believe that the idea of Snapchat came from kissing yourself in the mirror, because if you breathe out your nose and give yourself a light kiss, the condensation resembles a ghost with three dots below it, somewhat like how Snapchat uses the dots for user identification with SnapCodes.
LOTS of cancellations, but honestly they won’t ever get it.
Maybe not. Hopefully they are at least understanding.
True. Hopefully, at least, they are understanding.
I’ve been best friends with my bestie for close to 14 years. I’ve always wanted kids and she hasn’t. She promised me 10 or more years ago that if I couldn’t reproduce she would be my surrogate. Luckily for her I am fertile. She doesn’t like kids much but always comes to their birthday parties, buys them gifts, hugs them if we cross paths in the street. We rarely see each other. She works and studies, I’m a stay at home mum of 2. But it’s good. It just means whenever we do meet up we have plenty to talk about.
She sounds like a great friend. It’s wonderful you have still stayed close.