If you’ve ever questioned why it’s so important to meet moms, consider your childless friends.
It comes up now and then in blog posts and on Facebook that people without kids feel like they never see their friends with kids, and these folks usually suspect that it’s because the wee ones have taken over their friends’ lives. And then you hear the people with kids saying they never see their unprocreated peeps like they used to, and I suspect that they suspect that their old friends have decided they’re no longer fun.
But I discovered that, in most cases, neither group is right. People don’t change all that much after having kids – yes, they devote a certain amount of attention and emotional energy to their progeny, but for the most part, parents are deep down still giggling at off-color jokes.
So, nope, people with kids and people without kids don’t magically lose the ability to find common ground. It’s just that the people with kids are suddenly saddled with tiny drunken deconstructionists, whose intense curiosity appears to correspond with a raging death wish.
Stick my fingers in a socket? Sure! Climb up onto and then throw myself off the counter? Great idea! Shove a pencil up my nose? Excellent! What happens if I smash this? Or this? Or this? And for goodness sake, what does poison taste like? I need to know!
My theory is that the main reason people with kids and people without kids have trouble keeping in touch is that for a great long while there are all kinds of places that they can’t be together that were once prime hangouts. Bars. Restaurants that don’t start service until 6 p.m. Quiet places. Unchildproofed rooms.
To give a specific example, once upon a time I met up with some old peeps for a barbecue that sadly got rained out about an hour after I arrived. More than one person asked me if I’d be joining everyone else at the event organizer’s place of residence. I had to decline, but not because I’m some old fuddy-duddy who hates fun.
No, I had to decline because at the time I had a 15-month old in tow who would have liked nothing better than to have been invited into a house with delicious and breakable wires, books, games with small pieces, electronics, and so on. Had I gone, I would have spent the entire visit NOT socializing, but rather chasing my daughter from room to room saying “No” over and over again, frustrating us both. Not fun.
Other moms understand this kind of thing. Even moms who are past the childbearing years get that inviting a toddler into their homes means that something might get broken. They know the deal and they either accept it or they put stuff up for the duration of the visit. That’s why you NEED mom friends. Yes, you can still be friends with people without kids – if they’re willing to come to you and stop assuming that your decision to decline yet another party invitation is anything other than you doing the right thing.