When I was a growing up, my parents had two child-free friends that I absolutely loved. Jeane was about my mom’s age, loud, funny, and so kind. She always brought me little presents, including a pair of earrings that was a cat in one ear and a fish in the other which I wore obsessively until they were, devastatingly, lost in a move. She loved my brother and me.
Sometimes, after she moved away and got married, she would stay with my family when she came to town to visit. She remained child-free, and was like sunshine in my life. I always knew that she loved me as much as she loved my parents. Jeane didn’t tolerate me because my mom was her close friend; she loved me as my very own person, and she still does. She donates to my kids’ school, sends me encouraging notes, and reminds me that across the years and the miles, she is still in my corner.
Stacey was a lot younger than my parents, single, glamorous, and I thought she was the coolest person I’d ever met.
Her only “child” back then was a fluffy cat named Maymee. (Her baby now is a little white fluffy dog named Z.) Stace worked in the entertainment industry, and she knew literally everyone. Famous people called her cell phone 24/7, and she was constantly putting out fires for them like it was just a normal day. She had the best hair. I was always in awe of the way it bounced and moved without ever falling flat like my fine, thin locks. Stacey took me shopping for cool posters to make my little girl room into a teenage one.
She let me use all her cool makeup and hair stuff. There was something so special about the way she exclaimed, “KATE!” every time she saw me like I was so beautiful to her that she was just shocked to lay eyes on me every single time. Even though she was child-free, she knew how to be there for us when we needed her. She stayed with me and my brother when our grandfather passed away, carting us to school and making sure we had everything we needed while my parents traveled to his funeral. To this day, Stacey is intimidatingly cool, and I love that she’s part of my life.
It’s been a lot of years since my parents’ child-free friends were a big part of my childhood.
I’m the mom now, and my kids are making their own lifelong memories. Lucky for my three children, I have a handful of my own child-free friends. They are AWESOME, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. Here are just a few of the reasons that my friends without kids are the coolest.
Child-free friends help me remember to calm the heck down.
Sometimes, I get myself all worked up about a parenting thing that feels like a BIG GIANT DEAL. I can be in an absolute tailspin, but when I mention it to one of my child-free friends, I’m met with a blank stare or a confused raised eyebrow. It’s not that they don’t understand the problem; it’s just that without the intense emotions of parenting clouding their judgment, they can see my problems for exactly what they are instead of what they feel like to me. The solution seems so blindingly obvious to them that they can’t even see why I’m panicked. I need that dose of reality sometimes to bring me back to earth, and my child-free friends are there to provide it.
My child-free friends give me a break from the constant demands of parenting once in a while.
I am not the kind of person to use my child-free friends as babysitters very often. They’re child-free for a reason, and they deserve to live with the freedom that brings. But my friends without kids LOVE my babies. They aren’t exhausted by parenting their own small humans, so they willingly volunteer to spend a couple hours wrangling them so I can get my hair done or grab dinner with my husband.
Last week, one of my child-free friends happily chased my baby girl around for two hours at my older son’s birthday party so I could do my mom duties for the party guests. I kept asking if I should put her in a high chair to give him a break, but he was adamant that running laps with my toddler was exactly how he wanted to spend the party. Not only did it free me up to do the party stuff, but it also made me feel like my baby was having her own version of a fantastic afternoon—and she slept like a log afterward because she was exhausted! For that reason alone, my friend is a saint.
It’s fun to go out with people who don’t have kids.
My child-free peeps remind me that before I was a mom, I was a human woman. When I spend time with them, the conversation doesn’t revolve around sleep schedules, school drama, Minecraft or whatever other kid-related crap that dominates my thoughts usually. People who don’t have kids don’t necessarily want to talk about mine 24/7 — and that’s exactly what I love about them! They see me as Katie, not as Henry, Walker and Amelia’s mom. My child-free friends want to know about my work. They want to talk about books and TV and workplace drama. They remind me that there is so much life outside of parenting– and that’s so important to me.
My child-free friends aren’t all completely child-free, tbh.
Some of my child-free friends aren’t parents at all, but there’s another kind of “child-free” friend, and that’s the veteran parent. I have a few friends who got a much earlier start than I did, so despite being roughly the same age as I am, they have older teens and young adult kids while I have littles and toddlers. They’re not technically child-free, but there are no little kids in their homes anymore, and my little bitties remind them of years past. They are always there to be my village—and so are their kids. My little guys adore the teens in their lives, and it’s almost like having a younger generation of child-free friends– at least for now.
When you become a parent, it can feel natural to seek out a bunch of other parent friends. That’s a good idea, but don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining your relationships with child-free friends. Their presence in your life—and your kids’ lives!—can make all the difference.