I am all about the C-word – CHOICE! All women should do what is right for them and their life. This is why I understand that having friends with kids can be like a subtle dance at times. Many of my long term friends have children and I will admit that over the years this has had its challenges. I have lost count of the number of conversations that have been one-sided and all about their kids, or group lunches have been dominated by little Jimmy’s feeding habits or school issues… we all get it but there need to be balance gals.
So if you have childfree friends or friends with kids, here are some tips from me, based on my everyday life that might make it a bit easier for both sides.
For the mums
You have made a choice to have kids which is perfectly fine with me however if you want your childfree friends to visit you and want to remain your friend, you need to also be respectful of them and their choice.
Here are my tips for you:
- Don’t let your kids jump all over your childfree friends – just because you love your child and want to cuddle it, doesn’t mean your friends do. Be respectful of them and their space
- Don’t just talk about your kids every time we speak (doesn’t matter what age they are) – your friends want to hear about YOU and although we are happy to hear about your kids we aren’t interested in the ins and outs of every damn detail
- Ask them about their life – their business, their passions, their dogs, partner, whatever is important to them. This is sadly one that is not high on the list of conversation and because my work is such a big part of what I do, it upsets me when my friends aren’t interested in that part of my life.
- Make an effort to call them occasionally – we know you are busy but hey, so are we!! Don’t leave it to your childfree friends to call you all the time!
- Do some childfree activities together – go out for lunch, have a couple of drinks together, do a fun class …. Anything to spend quality time together. Your childfree misses you (even though they understand you have different priorities)
If you want mothers to respect your choice to be childfree then you need to also respect there’s. I hate the term ‘breeders’. It reeks of disrespect and it certainly paints all parents in a negative way. You might not want kids, but mutual respect is such an important part of the change we need in society.
Some tips for you:
- Be patient – when your friend becomes a mum their life is turned upside down. You know how hard it is (which is why we choose to be childfree) so give them time to adjust
- Don’t be offended – following up from the above point, don’t be offended if they don’t return your call for weeks. It is not personal – they are just adjusting to their new normal which means you need to adjust to your new normal as well
- Be prepared that your friendship will change – it is only natural that your friendship will change, particularly in the first few years about little Jimmy’s birth. But if you keep in regular contact the friendship will evolve in a new way
- Don’t call them names – there is no need for names like breeders to exist. Remember your friend has made a choice that is right for their life so respect that. You don’t like it when you are called names so c’mon be fair!
- Expect change – your friendship will change when kids enter the equation, but that doesn’t mean it has to be negative. Like anything in life (not just kids) change can push us out of our comfort zone and will evolve your friendship. I have enjoyed the way some of my friendships have evolved and my adopted nieces and nephews seek me out for advice and guidance (that only an Aunty can provide).
Friendship is a two-way street. I have lost contact with some friends who expected me to change my opinion just because they had a child. It doesn’t work like that!
I will not change my opinions just because a friend has a baby.
I have lost contact with others that expected me to do all the work and chase them up. I have stayed in contact with the friends who valued my friendship and didn’t replace me in their life.
Friends are important to everyone. But mutual respect is such an important part of this conversation.