what to do when everyone around me is either having kids or planning on having kids?
it seems like recently a whole bunch of my friends have either announced their pregnancies, given birth, or been talking about how they can’t wait to get pregnant and give birth. i shouldn’t be surprised, i guess. we’re at “that age” (whatever that means – personally i think we’re all too old, but i digress) and i knew it would be coming at some point in my friendships, but i’ve been in denial, dreading the day that my friends would share their baby news with me, and just wishing it wouldn’t happen. you see, i like my friendships just as they are. i probably wouldn’t have become friends with my friends in the first place if they’d have had kids at the time. i’m a happily child-free individual who has no plans to have any children.
i simply do not care for them.
sadly my friends are clueless when it comes to having children, thinking that nothing will change, that parenthood will be a breeze, that it’s just “living your life with a baby/toddler/kid around”. (wtf, right?). however, pretty darn immediately into this whole having a kid thing, my friends are going to realize that it is no picnic, and our friendship will fall to the bottom of the dirty diaper pail, just like i knew it would. and really, at that point, it’s not like i’m losing much, except for the opportunity to listen to my friends talk endlessly about their kid, and how hard it is, and how tired they are, yet how rewarding it is, and how they never knew what love was before having a kid and before you know it little tayo/cadence/nevaeh/ or whatever other ridiculous name they’ve given it will be up from its nap and i’ll be left sitting alone on their couch beside a pile of 2 week-old laundry thinking, well, yes i’m fine, life is grand, thanks for asking, NOT.
so, i know what you’re going to say, that them’s the breaks, and i should make some friends with like-minded child-free sensibilities. but it’s hard, you know, to make new friends, and it really does seem like everyone i meet is baby-crazy, and it’s such a letdown. believe me, when i meet someone who expresses child-free sentiments, i glom on to them and hope we’re compatible. it just seems like child-free peeps are few and far between. am i missing something?
(losing my friends)
dear losing my friends,
thanks for your letter, and welcome to the The Way It Is. as soon as a baby pops into the picture (even before it’s born) priorities change. and, as you’ve learned, as much as your friends say they want to stay friends, or that the kids won’t change anything, it’s all lies. the road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn’t that what they say? well, i happy to think that the road to broken friendships also is.
i have plenty of friends who, in an attempt to bond with me, agree with my anti-child sentiment, only to dash my hopes of a lifelong friendship by popping one out. how many times have we all heard, ‘oh, but i’ll never be one of those mothers…’
good luck ever having a phone conversation again. hopeful that that could be an alternative option to actually seeing my friends in person, with kids in tow, it’s no good – every call will be interrupted by a baby screaming on the shoulder (directly into the receiver) or else by the mom constantly shouting direction at a kid playing the background. and seeing them in person, well, all eyes and conversation must be directed at their bundle of joy, lest you risk offending the new mother by glossing over the miraculousness of it all.
perhaps you should count yourself lucky that your friends who have kids slip out of the picture when they do. i recently received a party invitation – not an afternoon in the garden kind of party, but an all night, drink til you pass out kind of party; one of the invitees replied asking if they could bring their little one who, apparently has no problem staying up until 2 with everyone else – she actually loves a good party! well that puts a different spin on the night…
no, in many ways i’d rather let the ones with kids go – maybe they’ll come back in 15 years, but by then i plan on having a whole host of new, much radder friends.
so here’s my advice to you. be kind but slowly, and quietly step back. send birthday cards in the mail, and wait for them to phone you. tactfully turn down all invitations to the baby’s birthday parties (trust me on this one. or else be prepared and attend with a large, freshly filled flask). sooner or later, you’ll stop hearing from them. when that happens, count yourself lucky. if they really want to continue a friendship in a few years after things blow over, they will. but in the meantime, find new people who are equally as awesome as your childfree self. go to art film events, attend cooking classes, join a group to make some home brew with. do what you love and, no doubt, you’ll find some new people who also love to do those things.
good luck. and hey – you know i’ll never let you down. childfree for life, yo.
ps i’ve saved the most important advice for last: save your sanity and find an excuse – any excuse at all – to avoid going to any baby shower, no matter how close the friend. throw yourself down the stairs and break your arm if you have to… trust me on this one.