Once you become a mom, there's no denying that finding all kinds of mom friends is incredibly important for maintaining your sanity. You absolutely need women to commiserate with about the hell that is sleep deprivation or the frustration of trying to get your 4-year-old dressed every morning (seriously, why is it so hard to put on a clean, matching outfit?!). Just yesterday, one of my best friends from college called to ask advice about how to clear a clogged milk duct and, gosh darn it, I knew exactly what to tell her because I had a couple of my own not too long ago. This stuff is vital.
But, while the mama network is invaluable, after spending the last five years entrenched in the pregnancy, baby, toddler, and preschooler world, I'd argue that my friendships with nonparents have been equally important. Sure, they don't know whether your baby's poop is normal and they can't offer a single sleep strategy, but here are the oh-so-crucial services they do provide.
- They're better at making (and sticking to) plans. Moms want to go out for a quick drink, they want to meet for coffee, and they want to go to an elaborate, three-hour dinner, but they're just as likely to bail as they are to show up (blame sick kids, exhaustion, or lack of child care), and that's if you can even find a time that works for you both to plan something. Nonparents, however, are much more in charge of their own schedules, and therefore, when you make dinner plans, you can usually count on them showing up.
- They're tons of fun on a night out. On the off chance that you do get a bunch of moms together for a night out, odds are at least a couple will show up late or leave early, thanks to those pesky kids. Nonparents? They're in it for the long haul, so bring on another round.
- They're eager for a weekend away. I've been trying to plan a weekend away with my best friend for the last three years (I wish I was kidding), but pregnancies, babies, and family commitments are always getting in the way. My kid-less friends, however, are always up for a trip, and since only one of us has to worry about child care, it's much easier to coordinate.
- They don't do baby talk. Nonparent friends will always ask about how your kids are doing, but if you launch into a long explanation of your potty-training struggles or how teething is destroying your life, their eyes will glaze over within seconds. So, say "great" and force yourself to talk about adult things. It's good for you, I promise.
- They keep you up on the latest and greatest. You no longer have time to try all the newest fashion trends, social media outlets (I still don't understand Snapchat), or bars or restaurants, but they're all over it. You can feel cool by association.
- They ask about you, not your kids. Get two moms together, and we can spend hours comparing notes about our little ones. Nonparents are more interested in what's going on in your life, not your kid's, which might just inspire you to think about yourself for a change.
- They remind you of who you were before you were a parent. You've changed a lot since you had your tiny darlings, but that doesn't mean you should completely lose the person you were before the sperm hit the egg. My kid-less friends inspire me to bring back that edgy, sarcastic, up-for-anything person I used to be, and man, does it feel good (sarcasm is totally lost on my 4-year-old daughter, no matter how hard I try). So go ahead: take a trip down memory lane.
- They'll probably need you someday. Now that I'm in my mid-30s, there's definitely a clock ticking on how long my nonparent friends will stay that way. I might be using them for their flexible schedules, carefree attitudes, and knowledge of the current and cool now, but I plan to return the favor and happily shepherd them through the baby zone in the future. But seriously people, let's try to get a couple of trips on the books first.