It’s like some weird phenomenon of nature, but once you become a parent, you tend to gravitate toward other parents.
It’s not that you don’t care about your child-free friends anymore, but there’s a type of solidarity that parents find with one another that’s just … different. It’s probably the fact that some days the most interesting topic of conversation we as parents have in our arsenal is the fact that child number two just went number two on the potty — titillating stuff no doubt.
But, as unglamorous and crazy as parenthood can be sometimes, we still manage to have childless friends who stick around and for that I am incredibly thankful. If you’ve all but abandoned your child-free friends since having kids, I’m here to tell you that you should probably reconsider, because childless friends are kind of awesome.
1. They don’t have to plan around kid schedules
Coordinating play dates or making dinner plans with other parents and their children can sometimes feel near impossible. In between school schedules, swim lessons, art classes, nap times, and bed times it basically takes an act of God to plan something. Friends without kids are awesome, because the only schedule they have to work around is their own, which means you can see each other more often. Win!
2. They come to you
Your friends without kids don’t want your kids messing up their house any more than you do. I mean, who wants a baby puking on their immaculate white couch or falling into their non-kid-proof glass coffee table and getting blood on their new shag rug? Certainly not those childless friends, so they’re usually more than happy to come to you. It saves you the hassle of loading up kids and all their extra food and toys to head out somewhere. Another bonus is that you don’t have to rush home early to put your kids to bed since you’re already home.
3. They can stay out later
Friends with kids are great, but every time you invite them over for dinner it starts at about 5:00 PM and ends by 8:00 PM. Extending the hang out any later will result in meltdowns at which point no one will be having any fun. I love when our childless friends come over because after dinner I can simply put my kids to bed and then we can actually have adult conversation that is uninterrupted by a toddler dumping her dinner on the floor or emergency diaper changes. And they don’t have to rush home to relieve the babysitter … because they don’t have one!
4. Your house doesn’t look like a hurricane rolled through after they leave
I love (LOVE) having our friends with kids over. In fact we host play dates and dinners at our house quite often and I love having a house full of people. The only downside? My house looks like a literal hurricane rolled through by the time everyone leaves. All of us have pretty young kids, so they basically dump out every toy (or non-toy) possible when they’re together. We also end up using tons of dishes and at the end of the night, they usually don’t help pick up much. It’s not that they’re inconsiderate people or anything and they do try to help a little, but they don’t really know where things go (hello 18,000 train tracks and miniature doll figurines!) and they’re too busy kid-wrangling to help with dishes. Besides which my OCD nature usually just forces me to reorganize the toys they put away or the dishes in the dishwasher anyway. We all pretty much have an understanding that whoever hosts just cleans up, which works out, because when we go to their house next my kid will probably make a massive mess too.
All that is to say that my house still looks totally tidy when our child-free friends come over. No one dumps out any toys and they even help with the dishes! The other day when we had some couple friends without kids come over, she did all of our dishes on her own while I nursed my baby and I kind of wanted to hug her. It was seriously better than flowers and chocolate and wine all put together.
5. You have things in common besides kids
Other people with kids are easy to bond with because you instantly have something in common: your kids. But, sometimes after you’ve become friendly with each other you realize that you don’t actually have a whole lot in common aside from the fact that you both happen to have tiny versions of yourselves running around in the world. As such it’s easy to find the conversation revolving around kids all the time, which is fine, but sometimes it’s nice to talk about other things. Your friends without kids are your friends because you had/have other things in common and they remind you of your childless self. Like, remember how you used to take that art class together, or how you used to go surfing on Saturdays? Yeah … those things still exist and sometimes it takes friends without kids to remind you and encourage you to not forget those things.
6. They are more dependable
I’m not saying that my friends with kids aren’t dependable. They totally are for the most part when they can help it, but as a parent things just come up. Maybe we planned a girl’s night out two months ago, but the day before they have a puking kid who caught a stomach bug at preschool. Or on their way out the door for a coffee and park play date their kid had a massive potty disaster all over the car. These things happen — it’s part of life as a parent and none of us hold it against one another. Friends without kids tend to be more dependable though simply because they don’t have other little people to throw wrenches into their plans. It’s kind of great.
So to all of my friends without kids … thank you. Thank you for being that break we need sometimes and for reminding us that as wonderful as it is, there are other parts of life worth enjoying outside of parenting. Sorry if we blow you off sometimes because our kids messed up those plans we made, or if many of our conversations are fragments spoken in between handling toddler drama. It’s just the season we’re in right now and we’ll eventually find our groove (or so I’m told). Thanks for sticking around and listening to us talk about nursing struggles and potty training and picky eaters even though you probably don’t care that much. And please don’t ever feel like we would like you more if you had kids, because even though you would probably be a fantastic parent and we’ll be so happy if/when that day comes, we’re secretly glad you are child-free right now.