What It's Really Like Being The Childless Friend

by Allison Arnone
Originally Published: 

There comes a time in every girl’s life when her close friends start to have babies. For me, it began around five years ago…and hasn’t stopped yet. Out of my closest girlfriends, I’d say 90% of them are now mothers. That’s a pretty big number.

If your friendship is close and your bond is strong, things won’t change fundamentally. Your relationship should remain intact and your love for one another won’t waver at all. But please believe me: things WILL change. Your friendship will take on a whole new look, your conversations will be different and in some ways, you’ll begin to feel like two totally different people. Because you are.

Sure, you’ll still do the things you always did: you’ll catch up, you’ll gossip, you’ll discuss TV shows and music, you’ll make plans, and you’ll be there when the other one needs you. And when you do get to see each other — not as often, but it will happen — you’ll have a great time and it will fill that void that only a best friend can fill.

But, the changes. The huge differences in your lives. They’re there. They’re obvious. Not just to you, the child-free (and in my case, also single) person, but to them, too.

What’s it like being the childless friend?

1. You’ll text them something funny, ask a question or even say hello at 10 p.m. (because you’re energetic and awake and this is a normal hour for you to still be doing things) and they won’t answer. Because they’re asleep. But their response will come in, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 6a.m. (because they’re energetic and awake and up with a small child) and it’ll be your turn not to answer. Because YOU’RE asleep. I recently got home on a Saturday night around midnight and had a REALLY funny story to tell my girls, but knew that none of them would be awake to chat with me about my night. Because of this, a lot of my weekend conversations (phone calls, FaceTime, texts) now take place relatively early in the mornings — err, when I finally get up — and throughout the day. But once the clock strikes around 8 p.m.? I know I’ll officially lose contact with my ladies for the day. Holy different schedules, Batman.

2. Speaking of phone conversations, you’ll have them — they’ll just have a new…”soundtrack.” Crying babies, general fussing, demands being made by tiny humans in the background… you’ll hear it all. It’ll take you and your gal pal a much longer time to get through a conversation or a story, and there will be interruptions galore (“Hey, hold on. What? No, you can’t have that now.”) (“Shhhh… sorry Ali, gimme a second; the baby’s screaming”)(“LET ME CALL YOU RIGHT BACK HE JUST SHIT EVERYWHERE”) — but what matters is that you’re still in touch. And both of you need those conversations.

3. You, as a childless person with lots of free time to dick around on the Internet, on social media and in general, know more about things like pop culture, new musicians and young-people-slang-terms and will often have to school your mom-friends on what they are. I laughed out loud when a text from my girlfriend Beth came in once that said, “what is an Iggy Azalea?” and then weeks later she asked, “what does ‘Turn Down for What?’ mean?” I’m happy to be there and explain these things to her, and in turn she teaches me about all the pregnancy and baby-related things that I have zero clue about.

4. The social gatherings of your girlfriends with kids will consist of other children’s birthday parties, get-togethers with other adorable families and wholesome G-rated activities. Yours? Bars. Booze. Loud Music. Crowds. Young People. Late Nights. Debauchery. Littttttttttttle different. And neither of you can imagine trading places with the other right now.

5. You live a more selfish lifestyle: you pamper yourself, you get manicures, you get your hair done, you shop for clothes (for you, of course), and you sleep in on weekends. Them? SelfLESS. They run around like madwomen; sleep-deprived and up to their elbows in spit-up and God knows what else, buying things and providing for their children, being amazing moms and putting their families first. It really puts things in perspective and makes me admire the mothers in my life even more.

So, sure: our lives in some ways are totally different now. Sometimes it’s more evident than others, and on the other hand sometimes we talk or are together and it’s like we’re 18 years old all over again. I may never be in the same boat as my girlfriends to trade war stories about pregnancy and motherhood and dirty diapers, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are bound for life by our friendship and love for one another.

And that will NEVER change.

Related post: To My Friends Who Became Mothers Before Me

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