I mean, seriously. I’m not stupid; I know it gets harder to have non-mom friends, especially if you have kids under the tween years. I have two little bodies in my care that come in waaay under that radar. But I still have a handful of pals that aren’t moms. I love them dearly and in a different kind of way. Kind of in a, “I have milk, juice and boogers all over me, and you still call. Or text. Or Facebook. Thank you,” kind of way. I don’t get to see them often and it blows. But I haven’t been cut off and they’ve never made me feel that way.
I’m tired of hearing other moms whine about not having those wild friends that they used to have. Not being able to go out and get crazy. Well honey, unless you’re a Kardashian or whatever, you kind of turned in your party-girl card for a mini-van card upon entry into the pregnancy zone. Welcome. Enjoy your stay. Here’s a burp cloth; you’ll need it.
There’s nothing wrong with going out with your girlfriends — whether they be fellow moms or not. I went out recently with my usual trio and had a blast. We went to Chili’s and hit up a few low-key bars and called it a night. One of the four of us isn’t a mom. We didn’t regale her with spit-up stories (not a ton of them, anyway), and she didn’t try to get us so hammered that we were in need of nanny care. We had a good time just enjoying each other’s company.
Life does change, though. And it has a funny way of doing so. I used to have a phone full of numbers that I could call at any given point and have a buddy for a night out. Wednesday night margaritas? Tuesday night at Finnegan’s? Why the hell not. I lost those friends slowly when I got pregnant with Gabe six years ago. At first I was bummed out. Here I was, 20 and pregnant, with swollen ankles to boot. And there were all my friends, 20 and bombed out of their minds, sans swollen ankles. But it didn’t take me long to get out of that funk. Nine months without a hangover was truly a blessing in disguise — even if it meant having cankles. And, as luck would have it, I was never really alone. Aside from the three jobs I was holding down, which pretty much kept me preoccupied, I still had friends that would take time to come see me. Go have lunch. Bring me sweet baby things. So the absence of former friends, turned acquaintances didn’t really phase me. I learned a pretty valuable lesson then and at a very young age: good friends are friends even when it isn’t convenient. And my pregnant, waddling ass was anything but convenient. As a matter of fact, the three ladies I went to dinner with are some of the very same who helped keep my chin up all those years ago. And they were still around when I went through the same song and dance with Connor.
In short, we’re getting older. Not old, just older. We have responsibilities that must be seen about — nevermind that those responsibilities are under 4’0″ tall. Going out and having a good time doesn’t have to stop just because the majority of our days are spent cleaning up ketchup from the walls and wearing the same shirt with the same strained pea stain for the third day in a row (no judgement if it’s actually a pee stain. we’ve all been there). But part of growing up is being able to separate ourselves from whatever distracts us from moving forward. For example, the hubs and I canceled our cable not too long ago because every five seconds we were changing the channel due to not-so-kid-friendly programming… that, and both the kids figured out how to get the lock off the remote and discovered HBO (stay with me… there’s a point to this). Point is, some people are like HBO; nice to have as an option, but not worth the hassle of changing every other scene. Catching what I’m throwing? Therapy, guys. It’s expensive. And it’s ALWAYS the mother’s fault. And think of it this way: maybe saying goodbye to your HBO friends isn’t such a bad thing when your daughter wants to take pole dancing lessons and your son is giving his best John Travolta from Pulp Fiction impersonation to the preacher.. for the fifth time.
At any rate, whining about not having non-mom friends isn’t productive; it’s counterproductive. Nobody likes a whiner. Maybe it’s not the fact that you have kids that is a deterrent; maybe it’s because you whine about not having friends. That’s pretty annoying. So go find mom friends — believe me, they’re not rare creatures. Find people who understand what it’s like to be thrown up on at midnight without it being alcohol induced. People who have also had to pull Lego’s out of nostrils and ear canals. People who understand what it’s like to hear continuously, “Mo-om! I’m hungry! Sister hit me with a brush! Brother won’t get out of the bathroom! Wipe my butt!”
Or, hell. Reconnect with some of your childless friends. So what if they don’t have kids and you’re walking around with a kid strapped to your ankle? It can be done. I know this because I do it on the semi-regular. Another fun little factoid? The older we get, and the more we have on our plates, whether it be changing diapers or trading stocks on Wall Street, the less time we have for outside friendships. It’s a suck-y fact of life. But it’s a fact of life, nonetheless. Embrace it, though. It means you’re growing up. And although adulting is not always fun, at least we’re not forty and living in our parents’ basement with ten-thirty curfew.
I don’t see my girlfriends as often as I’d like and I hate it. But they understand I have a life outside of girls’ nights and ditto for them. We have each other’s backs and ears when needed — and really, it doesn’t get better than that. I can’t hang like I used to, anyway. So until we all have the luxury of being empty-nesters, take people up on mommy-and-me dates. Have a monthly girls night. Whatever strikes your fancy. Just make sure the only w(h)ine being served pairs well with cheese.
Meanwhile, until you can set up a sitter or wrangle up some of your favorites, watch this movie on your down time. It’s worth the Redbox code, I swear it.