Sex, books, exotic travel and the genius of Parks & Recreation. They sound like the conversation topics from an amazing first date, but in fact they all came up during a recent casual dinner with a visiting friend.
The thing we didn’t dwell on? Kids. She doesn’t have them, doesn’t want them, and quite frankly doesn’t want to hear a ton about mine.
This is why I need her in my life now more than ever.
Remember when you swore you wouldn’t become one of those parents who spent evenings out talking about diaper rash remedies, sleep training, and the pros and cons of various car seats? Well, then you actually had a kid, and all that high-mindedness went straight out the window.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many times when you desperately need to dissect the minutia of child rearing with your mom friends in order to stay sane. But not all the time. And that’s what your non-mom friends are for. They remind you of the you before you had kids, when you could spend an hour debating politics, sharing middle school horror stories, or discussing how Carrie Bradshaw or Monica and Rachel could possibly afford their NYC apartments.
More importantly, your childfree friends help you focus on the highs, lows and in-betweens of your life that aren’t tied to being anyone’s mom. It’s refreshing, even if it takes a bit of behavioral training not to immediately lapse into “kid talk.”
We all know what it feels like to fall into a rut, whether at work, in a relationship or even with our diets (I’m looking at you, kale). For parents, it’s only natural that our kids are going to dominate our thoughts and conversations. It’s up to us to make sure they don’t force out everything else that makes us interesting, well-rounded human beings. After all, most of us lived multiple decades of busy lives before our first child was born, even if sometimes those years of sleeping in on weekends seem like a dream.
My friend’s recent visit was a reset for my brain. Oh right, books that don’t have “What to Expect” in the title! Relationship issues that don’t involve whose turn it is to field the 2 a.m. drink-of-water request! She was interested in hearing about what was going on with me as a person who is a mom but also a lot of other things. And I found myself really listening to her, rather than waiting for her to pause so I could interject, “If you think that’s bad, wait until you hear what MY son did.”
For me, non-mom friends are my secret weapon against becoming totally one-track minded. Bonus points to the college friend who literally ran out of the room when I uttered the word “tearing” in reference to childbirth. Duly noted. New subject.