Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Keep Non-Parent Friends Post-Parenthood

After you have kids, there seems to be a major shift in thinking in some people.  When all you can think about is the needs of a little human or litter of them, it is hard to remember what it was like before they were there.  I know this from personal experience.  I have tried to imagine what our life would be like with no munchkins constantly demanding things and taking up our time, but I honestly can't.  But just because I can't imagine life without kids, doesn't mean that I can't be friends with people who don't have any children of their own.  I find the proposition of ONLY being friends with other parents to be a bit BORING.  I mean, seriously, who wants to talk about potty training and breast-feeding all day long. I jest of course, but there is some truth in that parents always have the conversational crutch of talking about their kids and/or kid related things.  I don't know about you, but I have a whole list of other things I'm interested in than my kids.  So here is my list of 5 ways to keep your non-parent friends after getting puked on and diaper duty become regular things in your life.

1. Don't have sucky friends.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it really isn't.  The worst part, sometimes you don't know that your friends kinda suck until after you have kids.  Example: We are really great friends with a couple from our non-kid days, and they aren't planning to ever have kids.  We knew this before Annika was born, but we had no idea why.  The reason: She's AFRAID of children.  Seriously!  She came over to visit us when we were visiting Evansville and Annika was about 8 months old.  Annika pulled up on the chair she was sitting in, and the woman actually cowered in the opposite direction.  There is a picture, but I will save her the internet embarrassment.  Being afraid of my children SUCKS.  Don't suck.  I promise my kids are not scary minions...most of the time, and I really want to still be your friend, but asking me to ONLY hang out without my kids is going to seriously limit the amount of time we can be together.  I LOVE this lady and her husband.  I still count them as some of our closest friends, but in this aspect, she sucks.  Sorry if you read this C, but I HATE that you are afraid of my kids.

2. works both ways
This sounds simple, but it can be difficult to keep up with your friends' lives and in contact with them when you are busy chasing around kiddos.  Make an effort to keep your common courtesy when it comes to your friends especially.  Return their calls/emails/texts/tweets/facebook posts.  Comment on their lives too.  Your life and pictures on FB didn't all of the sudden become more important because you have kids.  Just do it.  One small note to friends without kids, parents will probably be a little slower with the contact.  Be understanding and a little more patient with us.  We still love you, we just have tiny humans sucking all the life energy out of us.

3. Have something to talk about other than your kids
Have you ever known someone that bought a boat?  They are soo proud of their purchase.  They want to show you pictures of it.  They offer to take you to see it and out on it whenever you want.  They are over the top enthusiastic about all things boating and can't talk about anything else all day every day.  You humor them for a while, but at some point you want to smack them across the face and say, "get over it already."  New parents can be the same way about their kids.  Your offspring might be the most interesting things in the world to you, but everyone else can only take so much of the blah blah blah kids kids kids.  Have something else to talk about to your friends. Whether that's politics, the news, the latest book you read, or any other acceptable conversation topic in the world other than kids or kid things.

on a very much related note:

4. Stay interested in your friends' lives.
Your children are not the center of everyone's universe.  Ask your friends what is going on in their lives, and be genuinely interested.  Be an active listener and don't forget to look at them.  The parent conversation where your eyes wander away to look for the kids is NOT appropriate with your friends who don't have children.  Make a point to be interested and look the part too.

5. Make time for them
Last but not least, make sure you make special time for your friends without your kids around.  This does the double duty of making your friends feel special and getting you some much needed rejuvenating time away from your kids.  Everyone will feel better, and you might not even be distracted while you converse.  You might even be able to enjoy a meal without having to cut up someone else's meal into tiny bites.  You might not get interrupted a million times and have to ask your friend, "What was I talking about?"  You might even meet them at a place that requires ID to enter!  GASP!

There they are, my 5 easy steps to keeping your childless friends after becoming a parent.
How do you keep your childless friends?  Have you ever had a friend who was actually scared of kids?    

Here we are at our friends' wedding that specifically requested NO KIDS attend.  
We got a babysitter and had a GREAT time!  Our friends who didn't respect the request may have actually gotten a scowl from the bride...the aforementioned C.  


  1. This post is just EXCELLENT!! Your points are so good. You can't just talk about your kids to folks without kids. The boat analogy is perfect.

    I haven't ever had a friend afraid of kid, though! I wish you'd email me the picture!! Just kidding. (not really)--Lisa

    1. I think a pet analogy would also work. Thanks for the props.

  2. Great advice! And a big high five to no. 1! Becoming a parent can show you all kinds of suck-ti-tude you never realized existed before.

    1. I had no idea the levels of suck, but now, now I know.



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