You can talk about how you are exhausted, grossed out by baby fecal matter, pissed that you have epic stretch marks, and annoyed that you have no time to get your hair cut anymore. Your childfree friend may not get it—but they won’t judge either.
Before we get into this, let me clarify “childfree.” Childfree in this context shall be defined here as a person who does not have children, or actively chooses not to have children.
(Since there are varying definitions for childfree, I just wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page before I continue).
Us parents, we tend to get stuck in relationship ruts. We go to Mommy and Me classes with our babies and toddlers, attend school events and chauffeur our kids to five-fucking million extracurricular activities. And just as humans do—we start to talk to, bond with, and form friendships with these other parents. It’s natural, because everyone in these settings has a commonality: KIDS. And most conversations revolve around children, parenthood, and family life.
Sometimes, I find it interesting or enjoyable to swap kid stories with other parents. But there are other times when I feel drained. Like, I can’t hear another birth story. Or breastfeeding experience. Or a teacher conflict. Or a chat about family balance. I just can’t.
The best part about having friends that are parents is that they understand the parent life. The chaotic, busy, draining, self-sacrificing, scheduled, sleep-deprived, parenthood life. But parenthood is just one piece of the whole person. It doesn’t define them. Inside the mommy or daddy you’re also the former college keg stander, the Mary J smoker, the avid runner, traveler, the gardener, the baseball card collector, the comic-nerd, the human rights activist, the fashionista, the book reader…the colorful past and present that make you, YOU. Minus the mommy or daddy designation.
Childfree friends make you feel like a shred of your old self again. Gurl, you’ll never feel completely like your old self again. Motherhood totally transforms you. FOREVER. The only way you’ll feel like your old self is with a dose of LSD. But, there are shreds of your old self still there. There are pieces of your present self—that aren’t labeled MOM or DAD. Your childfree friend will find them and nurture them.
Here are 10 reasons why parents need a childfree friend:
1. You can talk about EVERYTHING OTHER THAN CHILDREN. Career dreams (even the really crazy ones—like how you want to be in a movie one day with George Clooney or land on the moon), college sexcapades, how you wanna fuck the shit out of Lenny Kravitz, crazy mother-in-laws, drunken nights, your dickhead neighbor, your toe fungus, your smelly dog, your heavy period, your ménage à trois fantasy, People magazine, the paintings you saw at a local art museum, that new house music, that old ’90s Beastie Boys jam, your new vibrator….whatever floats your fucked up boat. As long as it doesn’t involve stories of snot-nosed, needy human beings.
2. They have old CDs. Yes, I said fucking CDs. They’re not completely obsolete.(And now you know how old I am). Childfree friends have stacks of them. (Your old CD collection, however, was sold off in the last garage sale to make more space for baby gear). You can jam out to old CDs in your childfree friend’s living room—drunk as a skunk. Salt-N-Peppa ‘Shoop’ or ‘Whatta Man’ anyone?
3. They travel. And they’ll encourage you to do the same. Without kids. It’s hard to get away from your kids, to arrange childcare, to afford an adult vacation on top of the obligatory family vacay every year. Parents are ffuuuuullll of excuses. But, someone, has to snap you out of your excuses. A small vacay with childfree friends can do wonders.
4. They know the newest, hottest restaurants and bars. And they’ll ask you to join them. You’ll learn the latest culinary crazes and the trendiest cocktails straight from a bonafide, professional mixologist.
5. They know the latest fashion trends and can get you caught up on the latest clothes, nail polish, and hair styles.
6. They know celebrity gossip. And for some guilty-pleasure reason, you will gobble it all up. Even if you have no idea who they are talking about.
7. They go to sporting events and concerts—other than Yo Gabba Gabba or Disney on Ice. If you can swing a sitter, your childfree friend will always snag you a ticket. And last minute.
8. Their impending visit to your house will force you to clean your fucking mess of a house. For whatever reason, parents think that childfree people live in clean, tidy houses. Parents erroneously believe because childfree people have no children, that they are incapable of being slobs. After all, they have more time to clean, right? Wrong. Everyone has 24 hours in a day, we all just use it differently. Childfree people are busy too. Their lives are messy. Their homes get messy. But, for whatever mind-fucked reason, I feel this need to present myself and my home in an extremely clean condition around my childfree friends. After all, how could they understand the mess that is my house? With piled-high dishes, kiddie clutter, and spilled milk spots? It’s like I’m screaming (while I hastily Swiffer my floor): I CAN BE A PUT TOGETHER PERSON TOO, I SWEAR!!!!
9. You can talk about how horrifying motherhood is—with no judgment. Most mothers (and media portrays this) are romantically in love with their children. Admitting anything other than ga-ga love for your children is like some awful sin that is shunned by most parents. You can talk about how you are exhausted, grossed out by baby fecal matter, pissed that you have epic stretch marks, and fucking annoyed that you have no time to get your hair cut anymore. Your childfree friend may not get it—but they won’t judge either. WARNING: Having these honest convos with your childfree friend might motivate them to get on birth control ASAP.
10. They provide excellent writing material. And advice. OK, some of their advice might not seem realistic because after all, they haven’t had to raise a human being. But, that doesn’t mean their perspectives on parenting should be completely null and void. Think about all those parents who give you unsolicited, horrible advice on the regular? You should only breastfeed your kid or they’ll end up sick, you should only feed your kids organic foods, you shouldn’t let your baby cry it out, bla bla, fucking bla. Childfree friends have a completely different (and refreshing) perspective. And it’s great to have that different outlook on life—especially when you’re in the throes of toddler or teenage tunnel vision. It might not be parent-centric advice—but childfree advice shouldn’t be discounted. It should be pondered for what it is.
Sarah is an introverted urbanite hiding out in the suburbs, wondering where is everybody? But, secretly hoping no one comes out of their house to talk to her. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and many more. She lives in Atlanta-ish with her kids and husband. Sarah blogs regularly on her site at MissguidedMama.com. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
This originally appeared on MissGuided Mama. Republished here with permission.