My husband and I were some of the earliest of our friend group to have kids. It was funny to see some of our friends realize we were entering that stage of life - now instead of weekend getaways to Vegas, we'd be getting invitations to toddler birthday parties. While my kids are social lubricant and really help me connect with other parents more easily, they can also become a bit of a hurdle to overcome in my other relationships. One friend comes to mind - she loves to travel! I really enjoy seeing her latest adventure via Facebook, but it's been years since I've been able to drop everything and join her. And it will likely be years again before I can even dream of being her plus-one on of these vacations.
I don't mean to complain - that's one of the many sacrifices parents make for their children's well-being. And, for the most part, I find it pretty easy to focus on the blessing and joy of that self-sacrifice. The hardest part is coming to terms that my life is now moving at a much different pace than that of my friends who don't have kids. And while we can find moments of connection, they are few and far between. It's the algebra of adulthood - a family moving at 20 miles per hour is traveling eastbound toward Preschool, while a friend moving at 88 miles per hour is traveling westbound toward Thirsty Thursday; where do the two meet?
Here's the deal: I will always encourage you to keep your long-time friends. What's that phrase? "Make new friends, but keep the old! One is silver, and the other gold!" When my friends text me and call me by my old nickname (my maiden name), I remember the strength and sass I had back when my life was just about finding myself. Maybe things weren't all sunshine and rainbows back then, but I had my framily and they had me - and we saw each other through some rough stuff. Keeping my old friends helps me remember who I am. They are a reminder - I am not just a mom, I am not just a wife, I am not just a sister, daughter, cousin. I am Amanda. And I don't want Amanda to get lost in the shuffle of raising these littles.
My kid-free friends help me keep perspective. Some of them are on the dating scene, some of them are tackling professional goals left and right, others are adding another degree to their resume. We are all moving through the world at our own pace, and staying close reminds us all that this is not some sort of race and there are so many more paths than just one traditional "way" of doing things.
Yes. It's also nice, as the friend with kids, to have many child-free hands to help lighten my load. Sometimes Maddy or Sade or Susu are willing to slow down their pace, meet up with my crazy train, and embrace my wriggling rugrats. They're all Aunts in our family, and my kids will grow up knowing that they are just as safe a space as our family by blood. Way beyond being a blessing to my individual soul, my weary mother's soul - my friends are the most wonderful blessings to my children. Growing up, my parents didn't have a whole lot of close friends. I cannot imagine going through all this stress without my nearest and dearest. Thank God in Heaven, I don't have to.
My dearest friends, this is for you! You have been an anchor for me too many times to count, and I don't want to imagine walking through life without your sweet company. Thank you for being a wonderful friend to me, and for welcoming my kidlets into our framily with such grace. Y'all are the real MVPs.
When was the last time you hung out with your friends who don't have kids? Shoot me a picture of you and your kid-free friends together - @pi3sugarpi3 on Twitter, with #TheseFriendsAreGold!