I am lucky to be surrounded with supportive friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way and anyone who wasn’t supportive is no longer in my life.
I have friends with kids and friends without. Many of my lifelong friends have children and I have always been supportive of their choices and celebrated with them. I have lost count of the number of ‘all about my kids’ conversations I have had to sit through over the years and the conversation can be very one sided at times.
I don’t begrudge my friends talking about their kids and I am genuinely interested in knowing what is happening in their life however there is a balance and I don’t need 90% of the conversation to be about your kids. I understand they are a big part of your life but as your friend, I would really love to know what is happening with YOU not just your child.
We are all entitled to live our lives our own way and do what makes us happy. For some that includes kids and others, it does not. Real friends just want you to be happy. But remember, like any other relationship in your life, it takes effort from both sides to keep it alive & healthy.
If you have childfree friends, please have a read and consider what is acceptable and not acceptable in your relationship.
• DO Accept their choice, even if you don’t agree with it.
• DO invite them to child-related events – Give THEM the option and let them choose if they want to attend or not. I have had friends not invite me to christenings or kid’s birthdays because they assumed I wouldn’t want to go.
• DO make time for ‘childfree catch-ups’ – 1 on 1 time is important for any relationship. Friendship is like any other relationship and you need quality time together to grow or maintain it. It takes two!
• DO ask them about their furkids, passion projects, business – whatever the things that are important to them.
• DO make time to call, text or message them. It takes a few minutes to send a simple message, no matter how busy you are.
• DO celebrate their life milestones – they acknowledge and celebrate when your kids are born, birthdays, and major events. Just because they don’t have kids, doesn’t mean their life milestones aren’t important.
• DO remember that they value your friendship and would never intentionally upset you with their actions
• DO accept that the friendship might change once you have children. If it is strong it will evolve not die but remember it will take both of you working on it.
• DO be OK with your childfree friends not being around as much when your baby is born. They are not just giving you space to adjust to your new normal, but they are also adjusting and probably don’t want to be around a screaming child. (can you blame them?)
• DO remember that everyone makes choices as to what they want in life. Your childfree friends chose to not have children for many reasons. Accept these choices and support rather than judge them.
- DON’T assume they hate your kids – just because they don’t want to talk about them constantly or want to attend a lot of kids events, doesn’t mean they hate your kids, they might simply want to limit their time with them.
- DON’T be offended if they don’t want to spend time with your children – I enjoy spending time with friend’s kids but I don’t want to spend every moment with them when we catch up.
- DON’T be offended if they don’t want to hold your baby – I don’t care who you are I am NOT interested in holding your baby. I find it offensive that you assume I want to, especially knowing that I am not a baby person and it makes me very uncomfortable.
- DON’T expect them to change as soon as you have your baby – I have had friends who think I am miraculously going to change my opinion on kids as soon as they pop one out.
- DON’T assume that you are busier than them and that their time is not important just because they spend it in a different way to you. And don’t ever say tell them you “You don’t know what busy is until you have children!”
- DON’T just talk about your kids when you speak to each other.
- DON’T use being busy with kids an excuse for not calling or checking in. We are all busy – just doing different things
- DON’T tell them that their time is less valuable than yours because they spend it in a different way.
- DON’T tell them their life is empty or has less meaning than yours, simply because you have kids.
Remember that people with kids live very different lives to people without them. Childfree men & women chose their lifestyle consciously. There is no reason why you cannot have fabulous friendships just because you made different life choices. After all, our girlfriends keep us sane and help us get through all the good & bad times in life. Rejoice and celebrate each other always!