Remember those days when you were “child free” and life was just, different (carefree some might say)?! I can distinctly recall the day when the first couple in my and my husband’s circle of friends announced they were expecting baby number one — it was a defining moment in our adult lives as we succumbed to the realization that our gang of four under-30, fun loving, drop-everything-and-grab-a-cocktail couples was about to become three. And, while it was a natural and welcome milestone in our evolution into adulthood, their announcement made me realize that, when we embrace parenthood, relationships WILL change.
When those friends became new parents I made an effort to keep in touch with my girlfriend, why wouldn’t I? Just because I didn’t have my own offspring didn’t eliminate the fact that we were still women who could discuss shoes, shopping and spa days, right? (Okay, I may have been a little naive at the time!)
Then, one day during lunch, as I cooed over her sweet little bundle of joy, I was taken aback when she thanked me for continuing our friendship. The majority of her kid free friends (KFFs) had lost her number she said. Was it the fear that pregnancy was contagious or simply their perceived inability to speak “parent” that drove these KFFs into silence? At that moment, I vowed to never become that kind of “friend” and today, as a new parent, I see so much more clearly the value of my own kid free friends.
You see, while it is terribly important to develop your mom tribe as you transition into parenthood (exhibit A: Orlando Moms Blog), it is also imperative that you maintain your relationships with your KFFs. I’ll speak for myself here, but there have been more than a few times over the past 18 months when the hormone-induced pregnant lady/new mom “identity crisis” has attacked my psyche, and, if not for my kid-free friends, I would have most certainly lost my mind.
It was my KFFs who freed me of the stress of coordinating, financing and executing my 100+ person baby shower; loaned me their pool for a baby-free swim; insisted I leave the house (the state even) for a night out on the town; and listened to my spit up, poop and baby food laden stories during miles of baby-weight-reducing walks. These are the same ladies who have kept me in tune with the rest of the world and connected with my always-evolving career life. They’re also the ones who allow me to check out of babyville from time to time, because they generally don’t speak the language of the babe and, to me, that’s their greatest asset.
When you become pregnant, people like to give you a lot of advice (often unsolicited) about finding the elusive “balance” that will provide you “peace” and “happiness” in the mommy-hood. In my brief experience with motherhood, kid free friends have been essential to achieving that balance.
So, I implore you MOMS, please don’t alienate your KFFs, embrace them (they love to babysit and cherish rare moments with cute kids because they know they get to give the child back!) and, kid free friends, please don’t lose this mom’s number!